I desperately wanted to write about art, even though I know nothing of it, only not to think or write about politics. Yet, it turns out that not thinking or writing about politics is quasy impossible for me. Probably because the countries of both my parents – Bulgaria and Iraqi – are and have always been problematic places.
But while the world ever so often looks towards Iraq, it nearly never looks towards Bulgaria. The tiny winy little country in the corner of the continent. Probably because a) the heavy shadow of the USSR – I keep calling Russia USSR so that it is clear that even though the crocodile* has changed its skin, it is still the same ancient monstrous entity that lives in the Kremlin. And we rarely tend to look at what hides in the shadows b) far too many international actors have interest to do their dirty business in Bulgaria’s shadows and keep the place out of sight out of mind.
Hence, I feel the need to draw some attention to two killings that took place in Bulgaria in the last two years. I wouldn’t have bothered to even think of the messy situation in Bulgaria if it weren’t for the two human beings brutally killed in a European country.
The first killed was journalist Victoria Marinova, 6 October 2018. She was killed because in her show Detector she gave platform to investigative journalists Dimitar Stoyanov and Attila Biro, to talk about their investigation of alleged fraud with EU funds linked to big businessmen and politicians**. Approximately two hours after Victoria’s killing the authorities came with the version that she was merely the misfortunate victim of a random rape. Bulgarian authorities then, just like the Iranian authorities earlier this year, didn’t need any time to investigate before coming with an official version. This is how you recognise authoritarian regimes – when they don’t need to investigate before coming with a version. After the killing, nobody, apart from their online editions, gave platform to the two investigative journalists mentioned above.
This same year, 2018 was the year of Bulgaria’s presidency of the EU – when cash of tens of millions of euros was discovered in SHOE BOXES – I repeat in shoe boxes - in hotel Marinela, the hotel in which the EU delegates intensively visiting Sofia at the time were staying. And in another hotel in Plovdiv. Plovdiv the town that became European Capital of Culture in 2019. Here is the place to say that Plovdiv, or Philipopolis in ancient times, the town erected by the father of Alexander the Great, did 100% deserve to be European Capital of Culture – yet, without thick palm-buttering, else to speak bribe, the EU officials wouldn’t let it happen.
If killing a journalist doesn’t send a signal to the world, because the authorities mask it as a random rape incident; it still sends a very clear message to the journalist in Bulgaria and Romania (Biro was Romanian journalist). So nobody cares or dares to investigate EU corruption no more. Or, as I suspect, the change of hands of massive amounts of USSR money – this is a purely personal theory.
Why do I exhume the dear memory of Victoria? Because something rather similar just happened in Bulgaria. When somebody who wouldn’t attract international attention or advocacy is killed so that the remaining representatives of the group are controlled through fear.
Last week, only few weeks before the annual Lukovmarsh***, which takes place in February, Emil Krumov was killed in the premises of SANS (Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security). But because Emil Krumov was a right winger, and as you could guess no one, literally no institution in the world would care what has happened to a far-right-er in Bulgaria, Bulgarian SANS didn’t bother whatsoever to disguise the murder.
If it wasn’t a question of human sacrifice, I would have laughed at the top of my voice writing the tones of nonsense that the Bulgarian authorities came with for cover; stating things like :
1. He shot himself with a pen (a mechanism of the type of the “Bulgarian umbrella”, I imagine. A tiny devise with super shooting powers) in the head.
2. Emil was carrying a gun, with erased serial number.
As soon as those official statements appeared, Facebook got full of mocking comments and questions of the type of: If he was having a gun, why did he shoot himself with a pen? or How did Emil enter the premises of SANS armed with a gun when there are metal detectors at the entry? When the questions appeared under posts, see below, on Facebook, next thing we know – hop SANS comes with knew statements, genre:
3. Emil has shot himself at the entry of SANS just before the metal detectors.
The message here is clear: We are killing nationalists and none will say nay. So don’t go marching. We don’t have the legal grounds to ban your march, but there is nothing to stop us killing you.
Now, let it be clear: I am a hippy. I wish I was a teenager splitting my time between California and London in the 60s and early 70s – Jefferson Airplane and psychedelics, Rolling Stones and Jimmy Hendrix and all that; in Paris in the 80s etc. Right winger I am not. Nationalist – me split between at least four nations that I partially adhere to - I am not. I am a global localist. That’s who I am. But people, rightist or other killed without justice, mercilessly, while being called for interview (nobody knows what interview) within an EU country – I am not accepting.
Having edited on LAAF Боян Расате/Boyan Rassate’s Facebook post I will get even more criticism than before – I know it. Let alone that Боян/Boyan thanked me publicly already – I can hear the screaming voices of many of my friends and people known and unknown – I will endure them.
It reminds me of an even older situation from the end of the ‘90s, when I wrote an open letter to Bulgarian Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other institutions and the media – pleading for the preservation of Radio Bulgaria in Arabic, and the importance there of; and my embarassment, later on, when only the communist newspapers “Дума” and “Пари” published it… but this, as they say, is another story…
And yes, I know that everybody wants to know about Rouja Ignatova – because she has stolen tones of money from around the globe, and nobody cares for yet another killed Bulgarian; be it journalist, be it nationalist; be it a woman or a man; be it Vici or Emo.
But to be honest I don’t even have a theory about Rouja and her whereabouts. I guess tones of money can do this too - make invisible.
...and not having a theory is something very rare for me hmmm hmmm, I might even start thinking about her now.
. *No animal deserves to be associated with this living mummy.
*** Last year I incidentally fell upon this Lukovmarsh, the march of Bulgaria’s far right movements when coming back from a mountain hiking; reported on it on LAAF, after which was accused of being “strangely impartial” – as if whenever one reports on a far right marches one has to be either lying, which was Reuters strategy; or aggressively condemnating. It seems that impartiality, like simply witnessing and describing what one eyes saw and what one ears heard was no good at all in the case of reporting on nationalistic movements.