Dispatch from the Balkans | [print_link]
The reintroduction of a brand of unfettered capitalism has savaged the economies of the former Soviet sphere of influence, from Russia itself, to the Balkans, reducing the standard of living to pitiful lows. A yearning for the “good old days” of Bolshevism is manifested in many of these protests.
Editor’s Note: Our friend, William Blum,* shared this recent e-mail with us. Since it appears that citizens of the U.S. and the West (and much of the rest of the world) are about to experience the kinds of wrenching changes that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union some twenty years ago, and since our age of post-Cold War triumphalism is rapidly coming to a close, let’s take a walk down memory lane and get another view of what was lost under Socialism, and what dubious gains have been made under predatory, finance Capitalism. —Gary Corseri, Associate Editor.
Bill Blum writes: A woman in Bulgaria I’ve been corresponding with for 10 years, Blagovesta, mentioned in an email how she can no longer afford to buy foods she likes, even cheese, so I offered to send her some money for that purpose. This was her reply:
Note to Bill Blum from Blagovesta Doncheva
I have been amazed at your suggestion to correct my diet – excuse me, but it sounds strange to me.
Think: suppose I accept your offer, and you send money that will correct my diet – for how many months? One? Two? Three? And then – what? If I don’t die after 3 months, I will slide back to my diet of today and I will return into the enormous army of the chronically hungry.
That is NOT a solution.
The solution is to kill capitalism and return our life before the damned 1989.
I want that healthy ACCESSIBLE food I had under the so-called Gulags of Communism – that beloved child of the CIA and Mossad think-tanks based on the lies of mainly two despicable persons like Khruschev and that idiot Solzhenitsin (and the hordes of their GREEDY followers the main bulk of which were active Zionists!)
None of you Westerners have written yet (at least I have not come across such passages) about the DIRECT connection between the MURDER OF the Soviet Union and the HORRIBLE wars of FASCIST Israel and USA in the last 20 years! When are you all going to acknowledge that the West has destroyed a REAL QUALITY LIFE both in the Soviet Union and in the Countries of Eastern Europe?
Bulgaria is riddled with institutionalized corruption and crime. Says the New York Times: “By almost any measure, Bulgaria is the most corrupt country in the 27-member European Union. Since it joined last year, it has emerged as a cautionary tale for Western nations confronting the stark reality and heavy costs of drawing fragile post-Communist nations into their orbit, away from Russia’s influence.” What the Times so coyly refuses to acknowledge is the unbreakable link between capitalism and gangsterism, which thrives in a social environment where a thinly veiled law of the jungle is the chief determinant for human interactions. [Image: Young thugs congregate at a Sofia nightclub. Nicknamed “thick necks”, they are the muscle for the new mob permeating all aspects of Bulgarian life.]
You want to feed me? Aren’t you going to also provide for me that FREE OF CHARGE QUALITY HEALTH CARE we enjoyed here before the West had destroyed our HIGH QUALITY LIFE – in comparison to our miserable lives today? In Socialism we had here YOUTH ACCELERATION. Now we have OLD AGE ACCELERATION – and that is an official statement. AGING is accelerated by 10 (TEN!) years! It means that physically, physiologically, etc. I am not 66 now but 76! I am an ailing 76-year-old woman now with lots of health problems who needs regular medical checks and quality health care. I haven’t any. And it is not only a question of money. Through the years I have gathered lots of information and in some cases watched first hand how the capitalist so-called “health care” works.
Some weeks ago a friend (64) died. She was a Capitalist system lover and likes everything it offered – including, of course, its “health care”. So two years (!) on a run she tried to get a diagnosis – she received it at last in the death certificate. The murderers in white sensed she had money so they kept kicking her from this to that medical institution without saying to her anything definite and then threw her out when they had exhausted all her money reserves. Three days after she left the capitalist so-called “hospital,” she died.
I have gathered also many examples proving that the elderly patients are getting DELIBERATELY KILLED in the capitalist “hospitals”. I can quote a list of names of people I have personally known – now dead.
And I have promised to myself that I’ll do my best not to cross the threshold of a capitalist “consulting room” or any other “medical institution.”
I have come to the conclusion we have been kicked centuries back in relation to health care. I have accepted that I now live in a system like that of the primitive people who lived in caves and died when they fell ill. I have prepared myself psychologically for the same fate. I definitely am not going to let them kill me in their sham, so-called “medical” institutions and “consulting rooms”.
Bill, I cannot accept your offer – IT SOLVES NOTHING.
Western charity is a BIG GREAT NOTHING! It solves NOTHING! It helps NOBODY! HOW I HATE IT!
Let’s get f.e. notorious Christmas charities – do those damned idiots who collect and distribute them really think that the poor need food and clothes only 1 … 2 …or 5 days per year?!? What about the mass of the poor in the world who do not even receive those two or five days damned charities?
The only way out is to KILL CAPITALISM, to let us restore our lives before 1989, and organize the same life for the people in your countries!
Blagovesta Doncheva is a Bulgarian activist who opposes US meddling in the Balkans and Washington’s attempt to turn these nations into neocapitalist client states. She is a frequent contributor to the Emperor’s Clothes website.
* Bill Blum is Cyrano’s Journal’s Special Editor for US Foreign Policy. Associate Editor Gary Corseri helms Cyrano’s Showcase.
To put Blagovesta’s opinions in a clearer perspective, we offer below her analysis of the background to US/NATO interventions in the Balkans under the Clinton Administration.
“Slavery is Freedom”- a second letter to the Serbian ‘democratic’ opposition
by Blagovesta Doncheva, (posted 11-17-99)[ Note from www.globalresistance.com –
Blagovesta Doncheva explained in her first letter, posted on Emperors-clothes on 9/4, that she was an activist in the Union of Democratic Forces before it came to power in Bulgaria. (To read Blagovesta’s first letter, see Note # 2 at the end.) It is her assessment that the UDF is the twin of the “democratic” Serbian opposition. In writing about the situation in Bulgaria it is therefore her aim to show supporters of that opposition what their new society would actually look like, what it means for daily life. In her first letter Blagovesta argued that there has been a tremendous deterioration in people’s economic and social life following the “Americanization” of Bulgaria. ]
I feel I owe you all an explanation of why I keep writing about Bulgarian “democracy.”
It is because I and many others here fear for Serbia.
The Bulgarian National TV and other mainstream media keep broadcasting pictures and reports of “great demonstrations” in Belgrade suggesting that all Serbia is against the present government.
I am not a Milosevic fan. But if that government goes down now, the US will take things over, just as they did in Bulgaria. As you may know, I helped bring about this change (for the worse). I now wish with all my heart I hadn’t. Any kind of resistance against the US government and it’s truly poisonous aspirations for the world means HOPE.
That is what the present Yugoslav government has been doing for months on a run. They don’t do it well enough? Then fight for them to do it better. They need support from inside and out. It is the US government which plots to get Serbs to fight each other under the guise of “democratic” opposition and external interference.
I wish I could go to Serbia and talk with people involved with the so-called opposition, which is in the pay (tens of millions already paid out, $100,000,000 more promised!) from the US. [See note # 1 at the end]. I would invite them; I would say, “Come to Bulgaria to see our pitiable plight for yourselves. You, the Belgrade students, come to Sofia and talk with your colleagues from the Institute for Dramatic Art, or the Musical Academy or the other Institutes here. Learn about true misery.”
But I cannot invite them. So I write.
Here is a how the new US-coached Bulgarian Democracy operates at election time. Every word is true.
October Municipal Elections: A Tragic Farce
by Blagovesta Doncheva (posted 11-17-99)
The Bulgarian Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) that is now in power, mirror image of the Serbian Alliance for Change, provided remarkable entertainment in the pre-election period.
ACT I- Historical alterations
The Government Show was opened in August: a building in the center of Sofia, which had been in the past the mausoleum for Georgi Dimitrov, was demolished.
To understand the significance of demolishing this building, you must know something about Dimitrov. He is a well known historical figure.
In 1933, the German Nazi’s burned down the Reichstag (Parliament) building in Berlin. They arrested and tried Georgi Dimitrov for the crime, aiming to use his communist affiliation to justify a reign of terror in Germany. Dimitrov defended himself; the prosecutor was Hermann Goering, who employed anti-Slav racism, mocking Dimitrov as a lowly Bulgarian. Goering was loud but stupid; Dimitrov was charismatic and brilliant, tormenting this fool until he screamed at Dimitrov: “I didn’t come here to be accused by you.” The effect of the trial was electric: here was a man who stood up to the Nazi thugs right in their own court. This galvanized anti-fascists, including non-communists, around the world.
After the trial, Dimitrov was brought to the Soviet Union by Stalin. When he returned to Bulgaria in 1944, in my opinion, he was a changed man. He became head of the communist party and the government. Many people think he was killed by Stalin in 1949 because he had wanted to unite Bulgaria with Yugoslavia, an idea which Stalin opposed.
As you can see, Dimitrov is part of the German history. Indeed, at the time, there was a saying among Germans: “There is only one man in Germany and he is a Bulgarian.” He is a part of French history because the French staged a parallel trial to protest Nazi gangsterism. He is part of Bulgarian history because before 1933 he was a major trade union leader and member of Parliament and later he was part of the tragedy of Bulgarian socialism. He is obviously someone who cannot simply be forgotten or blown away without blowing away European history.
The UDF’s first idea was to blow up the Mausoleum.
It refused to get blown. The blowers were in a terrible hurry and therefore sloppy; they failed to examine the building plan. The building was constructed to resist bombardment.
The first explosion caused it simply to jump in the air; it settled down, undamaged. This infuriated the Destroyers, but instead of studying the plans, they tried again. Wasn’t it Einstein who said “Stupidity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result?” (One might also apply this remark to those in other countries who EMULATE the Great Example of Bulgaria!) The second bombing left the building tilted but standing. Did they now check the plans? No, they tried a third time. Still, no result.
It turned out that that to blow up the building they would have needed to use enough dynamite to destroy nearby buildings, including the Central Bank and the National Art Gallery.
So they demolished the building mechanically.
It was a ten days show. In the square near the mausoleum , UDF supporters swore and spat at anyone who tried to argue against this crazy waste of money and history; the media divided for and against.
During the demolition madness, a certain Vice Premier achieved several new nicknames. His original nickname was Gencho the Roller because he is rather large and uses all power to clear differing viewpoints from his path.
Now, as the main organizer of this Magnificent Demolition, even setting up a special bank account for contributions, and finally using the Army corps of Engineers to finish the job, he earned new names:
- Gencho the Bulldozer;
- Gencho the Trotyl [a kind of explosive]
- And, for the grand efficiency of the job, Gencho the Skillful
Bulgarians are inventive.
People speculate that he spent about $400000 for this act of destruction.
Instead of building a student hostel – or block of flats for young families- or a house for the homeless elderly…
Instead of providing warm food for an orphanage – for the pupils – for the elderly people from the streets – instead of reducing the student taxes – they are above 400 leva per semester for some Universities and more than 800 leva for the National Academy for Theatrical and Film Actors, the Academies of Music and Artists. ($1 = 1,8795, Nov. 12, 99). (By the way, on October 7 they told the students there was no money and so their tax will not be reduced.) Instead of doing any of these things, they leveled Bulgarian history
Why did they did attack that ‘dangerous’ building? During the bombing of Yugoslavia, many Bulgarians got together, notwithstanding political differences, to oppose NATO. I think the idea was to destroy this new feeling of national agreement by getting people polarized over Dimitrov. The UDF needs a people separated, not united.
Why? Quite simply: they have nothing to offer besides hatred.
After the Great Heroic Deed was accomplished they looked around and were still not satisfied. You see, there was not enough hatred.
So they moved on to:
ACT II: A mass pissing
Crews worked all night and cleared the debris. If one got too close, however, one risked police attack. Why the police presence? Because of the columns. The Infamous Building had had attractive columns. The Mayor of Sofia (UDF member) made a particular point of stating publicly that these had been demolished. This was because they had not. Witnesses, at least one of whom was arrested and held by the police for taking pictures, saw them taken away intact. People speculate that they will be installed in the modest summer “cottages” which have been erected in nearby mountains for the new Democrats. A palace can never have too many decorations…
Then the UDF organized a beer fest just on that place and installed urinals but they were sloppy so the urinals didn’t work properly – so urine flowed freely on the square just in front of the National Art Gallery. The pictures in the newspapers were truly charming. Western Democracy has come to Sofia.
Then they decided that the public was sufficiently heated-up so on to: –
ACT III – Elections, dignified and free.
All important Government people – the Premier, Vice-Premiers, Ministers, Vice Ministers – rushed about the country, personally enlightening the electorate and explaining, in a friendly manner, which candidates they were to vote for.
Gencho (the Bulldozer), the Vice Premier who brought rivers to central Sofia, led the pack and gave us the Lomgate scandal.
This occurred in the Danube River town of Lom where he made a passionate speech to a campaign rally urging people to “Beat and Buy.”
Here is an excerpt from the Lomgate speech. I must explain that this gentleman leaves out words. So in translating we have done likewise. However, for your ease, I have inserted the missing language in brackets.
…”In Lom and the whole area [ in which most people have voted socialist in the past] elections are won with Beating. It is useless to try with good [ that is to try to convince people in this area in a civilized way] There are Red here, [supporters of the Socialist Party] who should be beaten, and there are others who could be Bought….We are the Good, the others are the Bad – and [need] beating. The elections must be won with all allowed and not-allowed means. We kick out the Red, the rubbish that is now. Down with BSP [Bulgarian Socialist Party[; these are the bad ones. If you want Good things for Lom, the Mayor must be a friend with the Premier and the Vice-Premier [that is, the Trotyl]. Then when he comes to me, I say: “Good”. But when other comes, I say: “Sorry, am busy with UDF Mayors.”
Can you see from this speech why this gentleman prefers force to discussion?
It is not for nothing that this Vice Premier is called Gencho the Roller. In the following weeks the following democratic events occurred:
- – A candidate-mayor for a Central Bulgarian village from the Bad Ones was killed – shot in his own bed in the heart; he had been very popular and would have been elected.
- – A candidate-mayor from the Agricultural Party (in the town of Lovech) was badly beaten and withdrew from the political fight. Officially he said he had fallen on the pavement. When a journalist dared to question the possibility of a pavement making a man’s entire body black and blue and providing him with a black eye in the bargain, he replaced “pavement” with “stairs”. So they not only beat this poor man, they humiliated him.
- Some candidate-mayors from the Bad Ones – or simply not “our (UDF) guys” – got fired from their respective work places.
- The present Mayor of the town of Rouse (Danube port) was offered a deal by the Minister of Finance himself. If he dropped his re-election campaign, his family business would thrive; if he refused, the Minister would set the Public Prosecutor on him and in addition his family business would go bankrupt. He continued his political fight, told the story publicly, and won he election.
Then Mrs. Mihailova, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a good Friend of Albright, Solana, etc., moved up and wrenched the banner of scandal from his honor, Gencho the Trotyl.
When German Chancellor Kohl was asked what he thought of Mrs. Mihailova, he answered: “She’s very beautiful.” In other words, not wishing to talk about her brains, he stuck to her strong point…
After a poorly attended pre-election meeting in Lovech, in North-Central Bulgaria, Mihailova scolded the local UDF activists, unaware that a live mike was recording her from overhead. Thus her words were immortalized.
She advised her followers to make the local state firm directors force their workers and specialists to vote for the UDF candidate;
– to compromise the UDF local opponent, the former mayor, by “turning him over to the Prosecutor” for something (for instance questionable aspects of some local privatization deals);
– to make fun of the Agricultural Party candidate;
– to make use of the manager of the local football team;
– and above all: To Feed the journalists!
And so on. Other pearls included her comment that the Spanish Ambassador was in her pocket. Not only beautiful, but quite a talker.
Somebody left the recording on a local journalists’ desk and the contents were publicized nation-wide. In response, journalists who dared to air Mihailova ‘s “private” remarks were arrested for “giving away information acquired by means of special intelligence.”
All the UDF leaders as well as the mainstream mass media denounced the Microphone Infringement. Going with the times, this Mike was accused of violating the Foreign Minister’s Human Rights. However, NATO did not make any missile attacks.
You might be interested to know about the election result.
People have chosen to stay at home. Their refusal to vote is a commentary on the Bulgarian government’s economic and foreign policies, especially its slavish support for the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
It also reflects a deep depression and lack of hope among the people. They do not think that present political parties are willing or able to change the situation for the better. And they are disgusted at the corruption on top. And shocked by the aggressive pre-election campaign of their present rulers.
The party in power, the pro US, pro EU, pro NATO Union of “Democratic” Forces, lost about 1 200 000 votes in comparison with Parliamentary Elections in 1997.
The Socialist Party, the (inaccurately) self-proclaimed “opposition” lost about 100 000 votes in comparison with municipal elections in 1995 and Parliamentary ones in 1997.
Votes were spread among many small parties.
I personally have not voted since 1992. Before every election we, the group around our independent monthly newspaper “Zov” [Appeal], go in the streets and put up fliers urging people to boycott.
We feel that the Bulgarian Mafia has devoured the whole political scene since the so called “changes” in 1989. All the present political parties are subordinated to it in some way or too insignificant to be a real danger. All institutions are infiltrated by this Mob.
We look at the Union of “Democratic” Forces as being the right hand of the Mafia, while the Bulgarian Socialist Party is its left. In that way the Mob is always in power – it does not matter which party wins the Mafia elections in a Mafia country!
Therefore boycotting elections is the only way to resist at this stage.
I hope some of you who read this have connections with the people inside Yugoslavia, and can forward or retell these gruesome stories about the situation in Bulgaria.
The same sort of thing has happened in Poland. There is no true information about Poland here. There is no true information about Yugoslavia. Just like in the past. What then has been then all that struggle and suffering for during those long ten years? We have not achieved anything – only LOTS OF GOOD THINGS HAVE BEEN TAKEN AWAY!
I will end it with a title from the periodical “SEGA”, Oct. 9-10, p. 12:
- “If everything was a market, people would not look after children, but only cattle.” (From an Interview with Koljo Georgiev, the Bulgarian poet.)
Bulgaria, the Balkans
PS. I remember a conversation with friends of mine concerning George Orwell’s book, “1984”. We used to imagine that he had in mind the Communist system. Now we agree unanimously that Orwell must have seen the future to a time when Globalization and the New World Order had been imposed on the entire world.
We know now that the Communist system is as an innocent child compared to what Globalization and the New World Order will do to the WORLD if those behind are not stopped!
Note # 1 – Blagovesta refers to tens of $millions already given to so-called “democratic” opposition figures in Yugoslavia and $100 million more promised. This is literally true. The US Senate voted to use the $100 million to encourage Serbian opposition to unite, overthrow the Yugoslav government and install a US-controlled regime. This is not hyperbole. To read the transcript of the July 29th Senate hearings where the past and future $millions and the campaign to use the opposition to destablize Serbia are discussed in remarkable detail, click on The Horse’s Mouth or go to http://www.globalresistance.com/analysis/hearin.htm
The New World Order has no shame: the most extreme outside interference (not to mention bombing!) is described as “helping democratic forces.” Just as Orwell said: Slavery is Freedom.
Note # 2 – To read Blagovesta’s first letter to the Serbian opposition and the version subsequently printed as an op-ed page article by the NY Timesplease click on A Tale of Two Articles or go to http://www.globalresistance.com/articles/doncheva/donch3.htm