This is my modest attempt at translating this fascinating article that has been going around the Bulgarian online community. It is not only a response to the recent protests against a new law allowing clearing of forests for commercial purposes. It is a call for our generation – “The Children of the Transition” – to wake up and take a position of responsibility in the Bulgarian society which it deserves.
I can think of 1000 ways this article is relevant to the Middle East, but I will name just one: even if the generation of the Arab Spring fails to fulfill all its dreams of freedom and justice, in time, a new generation will come to correct the mistakes of its parents and to rekindle the revolutionary spirit. Al-Sawra Mostamerra!
The original website of the article is unknown but Bulgarian newspaper “Dnevnik” reposted it here: http://www.dnevnik.bg/analizi/2012/06/18/1848514_dobro_utro_nie_sme_decata_na_prehoda/
A generation woke up unhappy, ready for civil life. In the past few days it has been screaming at the top of its lungs which are burning with painful freedom.
We are discontent because we are sleep-deprived. No, you can’t medicate us with unreal Turkish soap operas. It’s inconvenient but we don’t think through television. The internet offers us much more relevant content on demand; we have thousands of reporters who are constantly reporting from hot spots. Your desire to meet and “find a solution” with “our organizers” is laughable.
Your worst nightmare has come true – the beast of the majority can self-organize spontaneously, spectacularly, effectively, instantaneously, leaving no time for a reaction.
You’ve made a mistake laying your hand on the forest.
The connection of the Bulgarian people with the forest and the mountains is close and magical. The forest and the mountains were always our last abode of freedom. Our villages, valleys and rivers were conquered, but never the forest. What do you expect from the beast of the majority when it is cornered? The instinct for self-preservation kicked in and drew us to the square. And this time, it’s serious.
You tired to lie to us and divide amongst yourselves our forests, but we are not going to let you. We bit into the carcass of the status quo and took out chunk of lies. We are starting to like it and growing hungry for more. We are turning into an intelligent beast.
Today we are going to save our forests from Tseko Minev. But people like Tseko Minev, Dancho Lazarov, Chorbadji Nencho,* etc have blocked off normalcy. We don’t want to swap one elite for the other. It’s not important who is ruling; it’s important what the rules of the game are. We are happy and energetic taking big breaths of air. We have no experience of rebellion, but our DNA comes from revolutionary ancestors. We live in interesting times: today it’s not a battle in the forest for who is to rule the square; today it’s the battle on the square for who is to rule the forest. Today we prevented them from conquering the forest. We came together united and prevent yet another handout of privileges. Tomorrow we will stop another. The protest is based on principles: we are protesting against lies.
We are refusing to believe in the Bogeyman – some impalpable evil, a pagan creature, which stole normal life and it’s hiding it away. We refuse to believe in Santa Clause, badass politicians, and other heroes who will deliver us from our misfortune. No way, this is not the least believable.
The battle is different and we are ready for it.
It’s not a battle against specific people because they are of secondary importance. The battle is against the system which produces people like Tseko Minev. It is supported by two pillars – privileges and monopolies. We are against the oligarchic elite being outside the law and monopolizing all sectors of the economy, politics and public life. We are in the streets because of the lack of transparency in taking decisions and distributing benefits behind the scenes, on the table, at sunset, at a club. We are against restrictions on free access to opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Privileges and monopolies are fighting against transparency and competition, against openness and persistent intolerance for breaching the rules, which we have all agreed to abide by. These are rules which are supposed to benefit as many people as possible and not a pack of oligarchs at the expense of the majority. And competition, competition, competition! It’s not true that the transition has ended. At the other end, there was supposed to be prosperity and rule of law. Instead we were given a miserable reality deformed by monopoly and privileges. The fight has not yet begun.
Now it’s more complicated. It’s not easy to recognize the enemy. Our parents were lied to by a bunch of self-proclaimed magicmen with good acting skills. The fight is for changing the rules.
But we are new players. Pragmatic…
adaptive, persevering, intelligent. We survived and now it’s our time. We are working and we are not waiting for handouts. We are energetic, informed, freedom-loving. We grew up in time of unrest without role models, for good or for bad. We lived almost abandoned. You didn’t teach us how to use computers, but now we are some of the best at it. You didn’t teach us how to be good citizens in an open society, but don’t you doubt us – we will excel at that, too.
We are the children of the transition. We are children who will adopt their parents and teach them. We are already here, growing up and coming back. We have prepared. We are lawyers – we know our rights when you arrest us. We are economists – we know that poverty is caused by the distortion of market competition by monopolies and cartels. We know how to redistribute resources equally, how to grow them and improve our organization.
We have solidarity. We know that progress comes only when there is competition in which only the best win and in which there is a protective net to help up those of us who trip and fall. We are responsible, we won’t leave them behind. We know technology well: we use platforms for exchange of information, news, expertise, experience in volume and speed, which I don’t think you can manage to fully comprehend. We are programmers: we will create new platforms and spaces for organization against your monopolies and privileges.
We are also entrepreneurial: we see what and where people need things and we are ready to deliver them; we are also creating new needs. We are creative: we had to be. We are speaking foreign languages and sharing experiences with friends from other countries. We are sportsmen: we are ready to compete and we are convinced that the best have to win in an honest and open competition. We are traveling: we are actively communicating, adopting best practices and taking them home. They often won’t let us apply them, but this will change. We are cameramen and directors: we are cataloguing your mess. We are 200-something drum players. We are your future doctors. We are dancers: we do the dance of protest.
…historians, painters, scientists, philosophers, arrested, advertisers, mathematicians; we were born by the mountain. People.
We are the grandchildren of Shtastliveca**. We are pure and our connection with nature is important. We are protesting because we know what needs to change and how. We are together, we are electrified by emotion, intoxicated by victory and we are sexy. Now we have one more reason to wake up in the morning and to smile.
* A literary character, a stereotype for the old greedy anti-revolutionary merchant class of 19th century Bulgaria.
** The penname of Bulgarian writer Aleko Konstantinov (literally translates to “the lucky man”).