The following article was originally published in Serbo-Croatian by the online platform, Bilten. Its English version is published here with the site’s kind permission. Around mid-December 2016 a news piece announced that a monument to the Cyrillic alphabet is to be erected in Antarctica. It is a joint Bulgarian-Mongolian project. The news about the monument raised some eyebrows as to the practicality of having a monument to the alphabet in a place with hardly anyone around to appreciate it. I will leave the issue of the “metaphysical” monuments and structures devoid of any function beyond a pure self-refer ..
Notes from the LeftEast editors: this article is published in cooperation with Bilten.Org where it appeared in Serbo-Croatian on the 12/16/2016. Note from the author on the English language publication: In this article I focus on the latest chapter of the ongoing ‘memory wars’ in Bulgarian public and political life. I tease out the demophobic implications of the latest amendment in the 2000 Law that declares Communism a criminal regime. Anti-communism was the staple food of the 1990s democratic opposition: “democracy” was conceived as anti-communist by definition. The more time passes, however, t ..
This article is published in collaboration with the regional portal Bilten. We are habituated to think that polluting things such as garbage normally fall on minorities to deal with in order to keep them as far from us as possible. Thus, conveniently the most “polluting” social classes are tasked with the organization of garbage. For example, in Bulgaria it is the urban Roma work who predominantly for the garbage collection companies. Their symbolic position in social space (as the lowliest and most marginal “caste”) is completed by their inhabiting the physically most marginal spaces in the city and havi ..
This article was published in co-operation with the regional portal Bilten. July will go down as one of the most tumultuous months of 2016 in Europe. The rapid series of terrorist attacks across Germany and France had barely allowed us a modicum of time to digest them, when the failed July 15th coup attempt in Turkey sent shock waves throughout the world. One of these waves splashed across the breakwaters of its northern neighbor and triggered a curious political controversy domestically. In what follows I recount how the tragedy of a single asylum applicant became the vehicle through which liberal media and acti ..
translated by Peter Bankov The town of Bobov dol sports some of the largest coal mining facilities in Bulgaria. The mining industry there has a hundred-year history but it really took off during socialism when the biggest investment and modernization of the mines occurred. Since 2006 the mines have been operating under a regime of government concession which effectively means privatization without transfer of ownership. The first concession of Bobov dol mines was given to “Pirin Oranovo EOOD” for the shocking sum of 1 BGN (This kind of gift-privatization was common in the 1990s when the state gifted state ent ..
Nearly everywhere the operations of Uber have generated controversy. For example, Uber sparked mass protests of taxi drivers in France demanding that the service be discontinued. In contrast, when the Bulgarian Commission for the protection of competition (CPC) fined, and ordered Uber to stop operations in the country, citizens protests erupted in defense of the service. More than 20,000 signatures were collected on Uber’s official web petition in three days. Angry facebook posts abounded. So did articles denouncing the shrinking of the “right to choose”. Meanwhile, the ban on Uber has generated discontent ..
The following is the last of three articles by Jana Tsoneva and Stanimir Panayotov on the Bulgarian state’s increasingly harsh rhetoric and policy proposals vis-a-vis the country’s Roma minority. Part I showed that while the discourse is focused on the Roma, the measures proposed will cut social provisions for all poor Bulgarians. Part II‘s main argument is that while Roma have long been the main target of Bulgaria’s nationalists, a narrow liberal conception of humanity may ultimately prove a more powerful force for their dehumanization. While locating this new racial regime in the pecul ..
The following is the first of three articles by Jana Tsoneva and Stanimir Panayotov on the Bulgarian state’s increasingly harsh rhetoric and policy proposals vis-a-vis the country’s Roma minority. Part I shows that while the discourse is focused on the Roma, the measures proposed will cut social provisions for all poor Bulgarians. Part II‘s main argument is that while Roma have long been the main target of Bulgaria’s nationalists, a narrow liberal conception of humanity may ultimately prove a more powerful force for their dehumanization. While locating this new racial regime in the peculia ..
Economic turbulence is an especially fruitful ground for racist sentiments; the rapid growth and electoral success of far-right parties and movements across Europe since 2008 testifies to this. With this article I want to address the problem from the perspective of the situation in a peripheral EU member: the island state of Malta. Its small geographic size should not blind us to the enormity of the issue of racism there which is all the more interesting in that the local politics still obeys the old two-party model and is spared the shockwaves of new xenophobic players that jolt the world of traditional party po ..