Bulgaria's Blond Angel - Vindication for Roma, Shame for Media
"Look how we live in total misery. Years ago a man was murdered in our neighborhood and nobody paid attention, while now there are crowds of concerned people here because of one girl."
The man speaking is a neighbor of the 35-year-old Roma woman, who proved to be the mother of Maria, the mysterious blond angel found in Greece.
He speaks to scores of reporters from across the world who descended on the area. Only to prove that fighting stereotypes regarding the Roma community is a big challenge not only for Bulgaria.
What foreign journalists obviously got right is that the messages Roma people and their plight send are short routes to readers' hearts - easy-to-digest, melodramatic and endlessly repetitive.
Still, it stinks of primitive populism when the foreign press is eager to trace every step of a blond girl with blue eyes, apparently because at first sight she appears to be coming from other, more civilized, parts of Europe.
Foreign TV crews or stringers in Bulgaria usually pick exotic for the Western audience topics, such as Roma weddings and dancing bears.
I fully understand this, but this time their excessive interest left a bad taste in my mouth.