Can Bulgaria Govt Sort Out the Roma Problem?

Letters to the Editor | April 13, 2011, Wednesday // 11:44| Views: | Comments: 55
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When Boyko Borisov uttered the following words last week, in support of the Roma community in Bulgaria, they must have listened in disbelief ... "The Roma must break the vicious cycle of having someone else helping them and must exert their efforts". The personal example is really important. The problem is that no one has ever tried to integrate or control the Roma, like they have with their own citizens, just ignored them and now wonder why they are out of control and don't comply with any laws or respect the country they live in. Society is applying medieval conditions on these people and that's an indictment against all Europeans.

If you speak to a Bulgarian (even a professional person) about the Roma problem, their whole attitude changes and they become aggressive and so racist it's astonishing. They can't even utter the words " Roma" but use the derogative term Gypsies. When you ask why do they hate these people who are Bulgarian citizens, they say that they are - dirty, they don't work, live in houses not fit for animals, have lots of children, have no respect for the law, rob everyone, are parasites and suck the life blood out of Bulgaria. If you inquire whether they recognize the Roma as fellow human beings, they repeat their xenophobic prejudice. I do believe that if you told some Bulgarians that a new law had now been passed to exterminate the Roma, they would be very satisfied!

The parasites and leeches are their own people, Bulgarians who have robbed and stole the food out of their mouths, through organized crime and every other way they can. But for some reason these people are idolized and fill all the pages of the tabloids with their opulent life style, made on the backs of their fellow Bulgarians. The Bulgarians are not alone in their hatred of the Roma; all the Eastern European countries that they live in are the same, maybe because they all share similar circumstances in their past.

What has caused this outburst of hatred from the Bulgarians? This is a nation of people who are not know for revolutionary or radical thinking in their history, but prefer the apathetic route and approach to most things in life. Living under a totalitarian regime polarizes opinion and discussion and maybe the seeds of hate were sown then. I know that black people also get abuse in Sofia and are called "monkeys"

Here is an extract from the last letter of Vasil Levski to " his people" before he was hung-:  He hated any form of prejudice or corruption.

For those who incite hatred among people living in our dear Fatherland, either ethnic or religious grounds, to kill while in between, they can accumulate wealth, the punishment is death, death and death again. For those who promise a lot, just to select them to rule over you, and then reneging on his words by saying that times were tough and they see you do not presuppose that such a situation, the punishment is confiscation of property and exile outside our homeland. For those under the veil of patriotism, building laws, but they do not respect them or use them to their advantage, the penalty is death, death and death again.

The EU also has a big responsibility for the Roma problem and are only now under pressure from some other EU countries (where they have moved to recently), to do something about them. The Jewish people will tell you that they are the most persecuted people on this planet, but that's not true as the Roma have been pushed around everywhere and still are not accepted in any of the countries where they are living.

During the Second World War nobody can be sure how many Roma did the Nazis murder, but it may have run into millions (the statisticians weren't so interested in their casualties). They are the forgotten Holocaust victims that history ignored and were never given the sympathy they deserved for their suffering, only racial abuse and hatred. Most people forget that Roma have traditions and a culture like other groups of ethnic peoples.

The time has now come for all governments to use their resources, to gradually bring the Roma into society and not treat them like outcasts in this twenty first century. Other countries have integrated large numbers of people from all over the world, who are now contributing to their society.

Maybe there is a little hope in the short term for the Bulgarian Roma; with the elections on the horizon when their status seems to get a lot bigger and they become very popular with the politicians!!

Keith Gregory

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» To the forumComments (55)
#55
hercules - 2 Dec 2011 // 17:54:51

Bulgaria Needs Full-Scale Approach for Integrating Roma - Minister


“Bulgaria needs to establish a full-scale approach for the integration of its Roma minority, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has stated.”

“It is crucial for Bulgaria to make good use of EU programs for Roma integration, Tsvetanov pointed out during a debate dedicated to the role of local authorities in the country's national Roma integration strategy.”

"We need a full-scale approach for integrating the Roma. Unfortunately, we have lacked the vision to do that," the Interior Minister admitted, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.”

“Tsvetanov, who is the chairman of Bulgaria's National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Demographic Issues within the Council of Ministers, pointed out that the integration of Roma is a key topic on EU's agenda that needs to be tackled with concrete policies”.


This statement is amazing coming from the man that has done nothing to integrate the Roma into Bulgarian society.

A question Tsvetanov (and no amnesia this time), where is all the money that the EU has given you at the MOI, just for the purpose of integrating the Roma?

#54
hercules - 15 Oct 2011 // 11:41:29

Mihail,

Subservience is the word I would associate with Bulgaria and certainly not tolerance and this is how they have conformed and survived to the changes in their history… Reading some of your historian’s accounts of the Bulgarians under the “ Ottoman yolk”, it was not so bad and conformity way the name of the game.

Of course you didn’t enslave anyone, as you were the enslaved for nearly six centuries so that’s a ridicules thing to say.

"Anti-Semitism, racial hatred towards Muslims and the Roma are all things that the West has “ brain-washed your country with?" … Firstly, there’s no hatred towards the Jews in Bulgaria and it was only the Nazis that were against them. The detestation for the Muslims and the Turks is all based on your past with the Ottomans. With the Roma the Ottomans did enslave them and treat them as a lower class like the rest of the world and its also true under the Communists they were maybe the best treated. What happened after 1989 you must say why they have become this class of people that the Bulgarians now hate so much?

With regards to us “ Westerners” now all going home and leaving Bulgaria to its own devices, so you can wallow in self-pity and blame all your problems on someone.. First, hand back the money that some of your fellow upright citizens have stolen from the EU, along with all the grants for building your new infrastructure etc.

Ankle is correct you are supercilious and blame everyone else for everything that’s gone wrong in Bulgaria… get real !

#53
ankle - 14 Oct 2011 // 13:01:33

It’s everyone’s fault of course and not the Bulgarian’s for the countries present state. Also, you are from my own knowledge here typical of a few people that say lots and do nothing.

It’s your sort that’s letting down your country and no one else… As the Americans say, put up or shut up !

#52
Mihail - 13 Oct 2011 // 22:47:16

"You said previously that your fellow Bulgarians resisted the Germans requests to send the Jews to the “gas chambers”?"

I'm getting kind of tired of your lack of logical follow-through, please try to think through what I've tried to say before you post.
I did say that and I stand by it. My other point was that it was foreign ideologies that inspired OUR LEADERS to send Jews to gas chambers. And if you will think a bit you will see that these are not contradictory statements.
On the contrary, it shows that foreign intervention and your so called "helping us solve our problems", has historically done great harm to people in Bulgaria.

"Hundreds of years of tolerance in your countries heritage, is that how you describe living first with the Ottomans and then the Fascists followed by the Communists?"

Bulgarian accounts of history, and our literature has shown me that we were an extremely tolerant society and lived together with different religions and cultures for a very long time, and this is still the case.
Indeed, even under the ottoman empire there was little conflict with regular turkish people. You can see this in the literature. And with all the books I've read I've never seen one mention of gypsies or any negative racial comments. And I have never seen mention of religious intolerance.
We don't have the same history of oppressing and enslaving people, I think that's where your problem is. Our people NEVER had problems with our Jewish or Muslim or Roma population before western racialist theories and antisemitism was spread to our country.
These are new phenomena that we have the "western intellectuals" and crusaders to thank for, their racial and class theories have undermined our society, that is the reason we went through fascism and communism, our politicians were willing to sell off our people and abuse these ideas from the west. And by the way, communists were never intolerant, just totalitarian, they implemented the same idea of forced integration that many like "Sofia Notes" advocates, and that is partly why we have a problem today.
The communist also caused religious problems because of that fake movie they put out about forced conversions. Many people don't realize that those people converted to Islam voluntarily for many different reasons.

It's time for you to go home and let's hope we can get rid of your corrupting influence and go back to traditional values centered around the community and the familly.
Calling me ridiculous is very ignorant, you just don't want to admit you never thought of these things.

#51
ankle - 13 Oct 2011 // 10:38:48

!ankle would have said the same about the Germans that convinced our leaders to massacre Jews in WW2. Once again we the people of Bulgaria need to stop these foreigners and their corrupt ideologies before they collapse our country and destroy our heritage of tolerance that we developed for hundreds of years.
They don't realize that they are part of the problem because they will never be on the receiving end of the problem.”

Mihail,

You said previously that your fellow Bulgarians resisted the Germans requests to send the Jews to the “gas chambers”?

I must say that you do have a distorted and hysterical way of making analogises when it comes to Bulgaria and some of your statements are bordering on the ridiculous.

Hundreds of years of tolerance in your countries heritage, is that how you describe living first with the Ottomans and then the Fascists followed by the Communists?

I would say acquiescence!

#50
Mihail - 13 Oct 2011 // 01:39:18

viking correctly pointed out:

"ankle,
You said
"It looks like more foreigners poking their noses into Bulgaria’s affairs and trying to help them….. Shame on them !"
I am sure you would have made the same comment about the Russians in 1877."

ankle would have said the same about the Germans that convinced our leaders to massacre Jews in WW2. Once again we the people of Bulgaria need to stop these foreigners and their corrupt ideologies before they collapse our country and destroy our heritage of tolerance that we developed for hundreds of years.
They don't realize that they are part of the problem because they will never be on the receiving end of the problem.

#49
ankle - 9 Oct 2011 // 13:52:43

“My thought on the Roma issue is "If you treat a person like an dog for years, why be surprised if he bites you?"

viking,

Exactly, and perfectly sums up the present situation with the Roma in Bulgaria.

#48
viking - 9 Oct 2011 // 12:57:31

Ankle,

We have the term "Tongue-in-cheek" and I think that is what I am suffering from.
I should have read further down the thread to find all of your comments and would have seen the irony.

The only Roma I have ever dealt with have been honest and hard working. The last Roma I met watches an empty house (for a friend) in a very small village and that is to keep the "honest" Bulgarians from taking everything!

My thought on the Roma issue is "If you treat a person like an dog for years, why be surprised if he bites you?"

#47
ankle - 9 Oct 2011 // 09:47:42

“viking,
I was being incongruous and it was directed to Mihail and not you.

Incongruous -: a joke that was with polite conversation”

Related Words
inconsistent incongruity amusing anomalous bizarre cento
contradiction dada grotesque hebephrenia heterogeneous humor

#46
viking - 9 Oct 2011 // 04:18:19

Ankle,
You were the one who brought up the foreigners poking into BG affairs in
this thread. Just look down, follow your thoughts and comments and then try to make some sense of what you are talking about.
Maybe you have had just one or two drinks too much?

#45
ankle - 8 Oct 2011 // 19:24:47

“I am sure the Turkish backed mayors in BG cities did not want these foreign devils "poking their nose" in Bulgaria's affairs.”

”Bulgarians will have to listen to all comments and advice, just like I do when it comes to Europeans telling Americans how wrong we are about everything we do as people and/or as a country.”

Viking, have you been drinking? What has all this to do with the Roma situation?

If you want to discuss about your country America, come onto this article and I will oblige.

Was 9/11 the Catalyst for America's Decline or Was It Inevitable?

#44
viking - 8 Oct 2011 // 16:37:55

ankle,

Didn't the Russians "poke their noses into Bulgaria’s affairs"?

"Shame on them"

I am sure the Turkish backed mayors in BG cities did not want these foreign devils "poking their nose" in Bulgaria's affairs.

Bulgarians will have to listen to all comments and advice, just like I do when it comes to Europeans telling Americans how wrong we are about everything we do as people and/or as a country.

#43
ankle - 8 Oct 2011 // 15:35:17

“ankle,

You said
"It looks like more foreigners poking their noses into Bulgaria’s affairs and trying to help them….. Shame on them !"

I am sure you would have made the same comment about the Russians in 1877”

viking,
I was being incongruous and it was directed to Mihail and not you.

The Russians were liberating the Bulgarians in 1877, what’s it got to do with the EU and the Roma issue?

#42
viking - 8 Oct 2011 // 15:02:59

ankle,

You said
"It looks like more foreigners poking their noses into Bulgaria’s affairs and trying to help them….. Shame on them !"

I am sure you would have made the same comment about the Russians in 1877.

#41
ankle - 8 Oct 2011 // 12:31:32

Council of Europe: Some Bulgarians Tend to Demonize Roma


"A single criminal case is distorted into a large interethnic question, turning an isolated crime into a pretext for the branding of an entire minority community, in this particular case the Roma," said the Council of Europe representative.
"This shows that there is a lot of hidden and simmering anti-Roma and racist attitudes in Bulgarian society," added Schokkenbroek.
He clarified that the lasting problems with Roma integration in Bulgaria are only made worse by those tensions, and suggested that continuing efforts for inclusion should also involve educational programs among the ethnic Bulgarian population to dispel anti-Roma phobia.


Mihail,

It looks like more foreigners poking their noses into Bulgaria’s affairs and trying to help them…..

Shame on them !

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