Open letter from the civic initiative “Stop Neo-Nazism in Bulgaria” to: NGOs, politicians, EPs, EMPs international and national governmental institutions, CSOs, media and active citizens
The civic initiative “Stop Neo-Nazism in Bulgaria” calls on citizens, politicians, NGOs, institutions and the media to take a firm stand on the multiplying cases of neo-Nazism, xenophobia and racism from far-right outfits in Bulgaria.
What is the issue?
Just for the last two weeks we witness several striking neo-Nazi actions. As we have already mentioned, on 06.06.2010 a group of neo-Nazis attacked with metal bars, knuckles and knives four youngsters in tram N20 on their way to a peaceful protest. In few days time, just meters away from the Presidency in Sofia downtown, about 20 racists attacked with bats citizens of Roma descend, coming back home after a live concert. Another scandalous case in point is a video clip that leaked in the Internet. There one can clearly see how a member of the municipality council, together with the ex-deputy mayor of Stara Zagora, celebrates the birthday of Adolf Hitler on April 20th. The sequences reveal how they slice the swastika-adorned cake, with the portrait of Hitler hinged behind them. One of them, Tihomir Tomov, before about two years was once again the object of media attention because on the occasion of celebrating the Day of the Army – May 6th, he showed up with a swastika badge. (http://www.bnews.bg/article-
Who we are?
These developments prompted us – rightists, leftists, human rights defenders, intellectuals, ecologists, bloggers or simply citizens, to gather around a joint platform (http://stopnazi-bg.blogspot.
What is our position?
In order to express these visions of ours, we organised a press-conference on 13.06.2010. We invited university professors, bloggers, human rights defenders, as well as victims of neo-Nazi pogroms – left activists, eco activists, anarchists, LGBT activists and refugees.
All of the press-conference’s participants condemned the resort to violence and the equalisation of victims and violators and declared themselves in favour of democratic debate denouncing the justifications of the violators by way of referring to political ideologies. At the very conference participants with both left and right persuasions took part, and they jointly declared themselves against neo-Nazi. Prof. Iskra Baeva, a university professor at the Faculty of History in Sofia University, said that the attempt to equalise victims and violators is scandalous. She noted that: “[t]here must be political differences, but there is a proper time and space for them. What we observe now is xenophobia and violence, inspired by the society and not any less by the media”. Prof. Petya Kabaktchieva, a teacher at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sofia University, warned that the transformation of Bulgarian national identity in ethnocentric, and not a civic one, represents a great danger. She also said that one is something much more than one’s blood and biology, since the human being is a spiritual being that stands for values - something which the neo-Nazi fail to understand. Understanding this fact is crucial for building a civilised civic society. Svetla Entcheva, blogger and human rights activist, expressed her worries about the tolerance for and the tolerating of neo-Nazi violence. According to Alexander Nikolov (member of the students movement “Call for education”) the illiteracy is the premise for the emergence of neo-Nazi groups with terrorist activities.
The press-conference was joined by Dzhaved Nouri, a sufferer of neo-Nazi violence, who is a refugee from Afghanistan, attacked five times from neo-Nazi mobs in the course of eight years spent in Bulgaria. He stated that he declares himself against terrorist organisations such as Hamas and paralleled the fascists in Bulgaria with these very same organisations that the whole world struggles with. According to the chairman of Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, Krassimir Kanev, Bulgarian legislation is not effective to racist-motivated crimes and that various international organisations insist for its change. According to the father of one of the victims from 06.06, the justification of neo-Nazi violence by way of referring to political ideologies is demagogy. The representatives of Federation of Anarchists in Bulgaria stated that if the state is incapable of preventing neo-Nazi violence, this, in their words, means that state institutions are directly responsible for what is going on. Representatives of the movement “23rd of September”, members of which are some of those most hurt in the neo-Nazi pogroms, also were present. They emphasised that the newest attack is simply the last one in a series of attacks against them. They declared themselves against violence and called the state to have its obligations performed and prevent neo-Nazi violence.
What you can do?
We are writing to you with the request to take a firm stand on the multiplying cases of xenophobic, racist and homophobic incursions and manifestations from far-right outfits. We call the authorities to take all necessary measures for the punishment and prevention of neo-Nazi pogroms. We call the media and the whole society to recognise and name adequately these acts so that they be timely prevented. We address all organisations defending human rights, national and international governmental and non-governmental institutions, politicians and interested citizens with the request to:
state their position concerning the recent developments and to begin the much necessary work for the tackling with this social issue;
call upon the responsible institutions to begin enacting, preventing and punishing the acts of racist, xenophobic, homophobic motivated violence.
raise the question of the accelerating neo-Nazism in Bulgaria in front of national and international institutions.
inquire whether neo-Nazi groups have protection from the authorities and if not, why the government is incapable of taking the necessary measures and put a stop to the expansion of the anti-democratic and movements in question.