My friend Todor Grozdev, the journalist who interviewed Brian and Stormy and me for a September 11 article in the Pazardjik newspaper Zname (page 56 in A Breeze in Bulgaria) wrote this editorial about the demonstrations in Bulgaria. These demonstrations are in the news now, and have been for some time, and they are not going away. The people are peaceful and they will not be denied. Todor’s article tells a lot about the strength and good nature of the Bulgarian people, as well as their quiet, patient fortitude. These are the attributes which we so admired and I tried to capture in the book.
I translated his article for you but even with the help of Google Translate, don’t hold me to an exact standard. His thoughts, though, are so insightful I am happy and privileged to share them. He writes:
We have a middle class that has a much more powerful weapon than the middle finger — namely, a sense of direction. Smiling and holding hands, not with curses and clenched fists. A plus, not a minus. Gently encouraging growth in the current political model. Economists in the world called the fragile middle class here “camping capitalism” like the cot-stand [think of a little lemonade-stand but without the house behind, just camping out with a cot to sleep], offering small items for sale, street goods. In our country one can count not only merchants and intelligent people who are on the street, smiling, and they show that they still are not helplessly depending on corporate oligarchy. Camping is a mobile work, but we have done it for 24 years. Being nomadic is in our blood. Now, however, we find we missed the right direction. Previously, these cot-stand children had the idle dream that one day they will breathe in a more beautiful Bulgaria. Now we march with them. And politicians and puppeteers above them that depend on connections and influence for power should know we are not mere temporary tent dwellers that will scatter any time you raise the hammer.
It is not true that the Bulgarian people are less alert than other people, just a little more patient. Leuben Karavelov once wrote “From the mouth of Mr. Slavejkov, six million Bulgarians speak” but let’s not forget that these 6 million won freedom without waiting for her on a platter. I’m a historian and I know that other people suffer from the prejudices that were “a nation of traitors” and “insufficiently vigilant.”
We are not down, but just our middle fingers are longer than usual. But with an advance guard forward, and with the right sense of direction … It’s a big plus.
When I think of “Bulgaria Stories” these are the things I treasure about the people I met there. Thank you, Todor, for affirming the unique national sense of humor, sense of justice and freedom, and will to prevail.