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« Tante Ger en de "Solidaire Oude Knarren" (SOK) van straks | Main | Parents in the XXI century (EN) »

My Bulgaria (EN)

Little Bulgaria is so easily dismissed by its neighbours and by the European Union, who reluctantly admitted the country some five years ago.
Oh yes: corruption and maffia are present in 21st century Bulgaria. But is that the SOUL of the Bulgarian people?
No: the soul of Bulgaria as I have learnt to understand it, is the Renaissance of its language, its art and its economy at the end of the nineteenth century. Against the Osmanic oppression, with help of the army of the Russian Czar and under severe scrutiny of the European great powers of the moment. Austrians, English, Germans and French.
Like everywhere in the Balkans, borders are vague and undefined. Many bulgar-speaking people lived and live in northern Greece, Macedonia, Western Turkey, southern Romania and Serbia. Territory, language, nation - they do not coincide.
And on top of that: the interests of the great powers do not follow national ambitions or logics.
First of all. Everybody, except the Russians themselves, wants to block the Russians from having an open exit to the Mediterranian. A russophile Bulgaria is to be kept as far as possible from the Aegean Sea. Turks, Romanians, Serbs and Greeks enjoy temporary or systematical support from world powers, while Bulgarians are missing all too often the right alliance.
But the Bulgarian awakening has been strong enough, to forge a nation, an economy and arts. The image above shows one of those founding fathers of the Bulgarian nation: Petr Beron. At first sight, not an easy-going lad.
Those freemasons were at the roots of an efficient school system, developed an agro-industrial economy and fought each other relentlessly.
Somehow, in the first third of the twentieth century, the country got so well launched, that it did not suffer from the world crisis. The "Bulgarian Miracle" was born.
After 50 years of Soviet-style government, twenty years have not been sufficient for a new leap forward. After a massive emigration to the West, an empty countryside exists alongside ailing cities plus the Sofia megacity.
Nevertheless, many advantages are waiting to be exploited. Agriculture, commercial crossroads, a rich historical heritage and summer plus winter tourism, agro-industry: you name it.
The European Union should more actively help developing those advantages. That is the best way to help eliminate robber capitalism and crime. Policing is OK, but not enough.
So far about my visitors view on a remarkable corner of this unifying Europe...

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