February 15 - 28, 2001


It is a cold February night in Sofia. Snow is falling in big wet flakes. Strange as it may seem  for winter time, but flashes of lightning are seen and thunders heard.
The Slavi show is on bTV. Slavi is jesting with Prime Minister Ivan Kostov...

More than one third of the Bulgarian population have fallen out of the market. These are stupefied with poverty and lack of money. Those who have emigrated for economic reasons account for one third of the active population. One fifth of the Bulgarian citizens who have chosen to remain home are jobless, according to the official statistics.

The Balkan Airlines, a company that has been a symbol of Bulgaria's progress following World War II, has gone bankrupt. Every large firm, without exception, faces a problematic future...

It is of no importance whether an Italiannational works at Fiat. He knows that Fiat is part of Italy's image.

It is of no importance whether a Frenchman is related with Air France. He is convinced that its planes are part of France's world presence.
It is beyond question that the Bosch trade mark is among the symbols of German organization, purposefulness and diligence...
Each nation has its own achievements that build up its self-esteem. These achievements are the result of its  people's work, talent, and privation. No matter whether it is a small or a large nation. It is made up of PEOPLE. It is made up of PERSONS.
An American is a citizen of the greatest nation in history, but as a person, as an individual he/she is equal to the members of any other nation. We, humans, are very different from one another, but before God, no matter by what name he is called, we are equal...

The Bulgarian people experience today a deliberate destruction, by home and foreign agents, of the Bulgarian: Fiat, Mercedes, Philips, Ford, IBM, General Motors, Sony, Mitsubishi, Renault, Peugeot, Panasonic, Omega...
Bulgarian Hollywood does not make films.
Bulgarian agriculture is paralyzed.
The factories in the Bulgarian Manchester have been closed.
All of it in only a few years.

We would have said this was a consequence of the difficult transition to a market oriented economy, if there was a market in Bulgaria.
We would have justified it with the influx of new technologies, if there was elementary concern on the part of the state for these technologies, for the young people's education and for keeping home some of the nation's top specialists.
Persons of complex dependences are ruling in Bulgaria. People's disgust with politics and politicians is universal... 
A sociologist, who has systematically been conducting surveys on civic consciousness and the standard of living, says: some hundred well-organized men and women are capable of working miracles in the upcoming elections.
I believe this to be true, but in what direction would the miracles work. The further disintegration is a threat not only to Bulgaria, but also to the region as a whole. 

This is the reason why I mentioned the Slavi show. From its smart signals we conclude that the people's will for progress is still living. We may only hope that tomorrow we will have the Slavi science; the Slavi factory; the Slavi hospital... May it be so.


Along with this, however, we witness the tragicomedy evolving at the National Radio, where top-level Bulgarian journalists work, some of them persons of highest moral and intellectual class. NSRT /National Council for Radio and Television/, the instrument of power, has appointed director of the radio a person they would not accept. He is an inadequate appointee unknownto the public. 
He is probably a nice person, because, as a result of too much emotional experience, he had a heart attack and was hospitalized in the intensive care ward of the Pirogov clinic.

The protesting journalists were categorical in their declaration they were not concerned with politics and parties, but rather with their professional demands. They said they wanted to defend the freedom of speech. However, freedom of speech is not a product of administrative decisions. It comes by political will. Bearers of this will in a democratic society are the political parties.

Over the past ten years, as everywhere else in the democratic world,  elections in Bulgaria were won and lost in advance by the mass media.
The radio journalists were among those who elected the government now in power. They were also those who chose the previous one. They are to elect the next one too.
If they were semi-illiterate people, their mistakes would have been comprehensible. But can we excuse people who saw clearly that the Kostov UDF carried no other message but 'who is not jumping is Red'. Why did they not take care of their free speech already at the time when they were enthusiastically united in their Free Speech association? What is their choice now?
As this choice would be the choice of voters to whom the radio is an Authority.
Why were they silent during the term of the previous director, Velev? Indeed, the radio was (to be sure, freer than the television) part of the manipulation of the last years.
The Balkan Airlines did not collapse the other day.
The Balkan fell in consequence of things suppressed, things unmentioned... In the good instances, the radio was part of the unceasing intergenerational clash. It was on the side of the young, but the variety and polyphony of life were lost.

Freedom is free of age, qualification, nationality or religious faith... Without freedom, the Bulgarian: Fiat, Mercedes Philips, Ford, IBM, General Motors, Sony, Mitsubishi, Renault, Peugeot, Panasonic, Omega...make no sense.
- of speech (along with the radio, dominant are the truths of the WAZ newspapers); 
- of association (the new bill on political parties encroaches on it, complaisantly assisted by journalists, among others); 
- of elections (those in power are again assisted by journalists);
- of economic initiative (It is incredibly deformed by the powers exercised by different state structures. Why then are the radio people silent on the fact that the point at issue is not their newly assigned director, selected by an ambiguous procedure, but also the Sound Archives, which some people want to swallow, the way they gulped everything around, that it is a matter of ads time, frequencies... A matter of money.)...

Today those in power keep all liberties in Bulgaria under pressure...
Freedom, Sancho...

Petko Simeonov

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