The week so far: Former Chief Procurator is accused on TV of ordering the successful murders of a judge and prominent lawyer (Procurator angrily denies this from his son’s home in Switzerland); A National Security Boss is nabbed with wads of banknotes (these are bribes paid by international fraudsters in return for inside information, keeping them ahead of police investigation); residents in the ancient city of Nessebur defy police and bulldozers to stop the demolition of their unsightly illegal commercial premises; they collect signatures for the withdrawal of their walled and churched city from the UNESCO list of outstanding historical sites so they will no longer have to suffer irksome restrictions; a group of them even burnt tires scorching the ancient town walls.
It seems an ideal week for some Bulgarian commentators to dust off all the stereotype adjectives, similes and metaphors of self loathing and revisit the “execrable tribe” version of their peoples’ history.
Always to be relied upon, Martin Karbovski, that doyen of overheated moral outrage, responded to the Nessebur events by declaring the Bulgarian nation to be unique in its moral turpitude. He imagines future archaeologists digging through piles of rotting chipboard to find the skeleton of a granny with one arm round a broken toilet bowl clutching the Euros extracted from former tourists in need of a pee.
Karbovski seems to nurture a particular hatred of Grannies. Perhaps in his childhood, he was clawed, spanked and robbed by avaricious old ladies in sinister black robes. Perhaps he was enraged by TV clips of these wizened capitalists weeping over the prospect of losing their livelihoods. And for anyone except Karbovski they do deserve some sympathy. They are hardly big time gangsters. They haven’t polluted the Black Sea coast with hotels resembling railway stations or Disney castles. A chaotic state has allowed them to build tatty stalls and jerry built extensions onto historic houses to attract the tourists that turn Nessebur streets into a heaving logjam each summer. Yes of course these Grannies are after a quick buck and as they collect signatures against UNESCO’s perceived unwarranted interference, they and their grandchildren show scant respect for one of Bulgaria’s few remaining sites of outstanding beauty and historical significance. But ultimately it is the chaotic state that has allowed this situation to develop.
Negative news seem to pose fewer problems for the extreme nationalist/patriotic press. Desant and SKAT journalists need to reassure their readership that Bulgaria is still a magical country inhabited by a heroic people. So loathing is directed at groups of people that threaten this vision. Western commentators – including the American Ambassador are easily dismissed. They should be too busy killing their children, killing their parents, indulging in homosexual orgies, digging up their dead. How dare the representatives of such decadent cultures dare to offer advice to Bulgaria.
Politicians, Criminals, Gypsies and Turks are easily identified as enemies of pure Bulgarians. Bai Stoyo has spotted an international multi-cultural conspiracy to “gypsify” the glorious heritage of Ivan Rilski with a flood of chalga.
What about journalists like Karbovski? Well Desant has splashed a grotesque picture of Martin’s bespectacled face addressing the torso and tits of some headless naked cutie. Readers are told Martin’s friends are homosexuals and take drugs. He rubs shoulders with “gangster” politicians. The fact that these politicians are trying to put gangsters behind bars – albeit ineffectively – is conveniently ignored. Martin Karbovski’s strictures on the actions of Bulgarians are dismissed as the pornographic rantings of a Bulgarophobe. Patriotic journalist feel no need to offer solutions. They have to live with their readership in a country which they scarcely understand.
So that’s all right then!