Bulgaria's 'Pale Rider' or How to Kill Political Stardom
Volen Siderov, Bulgaria's nationalist chief, staged his latest dog and pony show on the day the nation reveres one of its most beloved sons.
While thousands climbed on foot the rough terrain to the Okolchitsa peak where poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev was killed by the Ottoman army fighting for his homeland's independence, the shameless self-promoter appeared on horse, surrounded by bodyguards, demonstrating his removal from the very ideal he purports to own - "pure and sacred republic."
Screeching hatred on city squares and in the Parliament, intimidating and attacking common citizens over a fender-bender, framing and blackmailing close associates, barging on a Lufthansa flight crew, inciting violent clashes with praying Muslims, desecrating history-revering ceremonies, repeatedly insulting foreign diplomats, and political brokering with proclaimed archenemies became Siderov's trademarks.
They propelled him to kingmaking, but as any dangerous clowning game can backfire, they could easily lead to his demise.
Patriots don't embarrass their homeland; work for its stability, including ethnic peace, and bow to men and women larger than them. True politicians don't betray their voters even after successfully marginalizing them.
An old proverb teaches that "it is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall."
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