Tag Archives: Bulgaria

Visiting a painter’s studio

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit the painter Dmitrie Peicev (Димитър Пейчев) in his studio in Chisinau. Peicev was born 1943 in Burgugi, a Bulgarian village in the Budzhak region, the part of Bessarabia that belongs now to Ukraine (Odesa oblast). He received his artistic education in Chisinau and Moscow. The influence of the French impressionists, Courbet and of his teacher (and father-in-law) Mihai Grecu is visible in many of his paintings, although Peicev has his own distinctive style.

Peicev is also a poet. He has published three collections of poetry in his native language in Bulgaria. A fourth collection is in preparation. Many of his poems circle around childhood memories from his beloved Budzhak.

It was supposed to be a friendly, short visit; but we ended up (supported by some Moldovan wine) to discuss for about six hours a big variety of topics from the world of art, poetry, and life in general. For me it was particularly interesting to learn about the life of the Bulgarian minority in the region and their history and culture. And of course it was an opportunity to see quite a number of his artworks, mainly from recent years; portraits, landscapes, still lives.

Although the artist, a very humble person, who didn’t say anything bad about anyone during our meeting, has done a lot of efforts to keep his Bulgarian identity and to keep the Bulgarian community in the region together, I had the feeling that his experiences in Bulgaria were a bit mixed (to say it friendly). While he has some close friends in Bulgaria and spoke very fondly of his visits there, he is not very well known in Bulgaria, and a big exhibition tour years ago ended in a disaster for the artist: most of his 80 paintings exhibited there were stolen, and his experiences with Bulgarian art galleries (and the customs) were not of the kind that make him very eager to exhibit again in Bulgaria. Still, I hope that one day we will see a big exhibition of his artworks in Bulgaria.

The friendly artist suggested to paint my portrait; although vanity is usually not one of my sins, I am considering it…

I truly enjoyed to meet such an interesting person! My special thanks goes to my friend Kate Baklitskaya, who not only introduced me to the artist, but who was also brave enough to listen for the biggest part of the visit to our conversation in Bulgarian.

Some works of Dmitrie Peicev:

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© Dmitrie Peicev and National Museum of Art Moldova, Chisinau, 2010-2017

Един ден…

Един ден ще гласувам за “DADA, България”…

 

Disclaimer: This is not a political statement.

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-7. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Georgi Markov – a footnote on a recent edition

I am reading right now (in Bulgarian) a three-volume edition of the essays of the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, who is for me one of the most remarkable Eastern European intellectuals of the time between the end of WWII and the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Unfortunately he is in the West mainly known for the fact that he was assassinated in a rather bizarre way by a hit-man in the service of the Bulgarian State Security, and not for his work and the brilliant analysis of the Bulgarian and other regimes in Eastern Europe.

The edition contains many essays that are – according to the information in the books – published here for the first time in print, and it is remarkable how fresh and highly relevant these essays that are at least four decades old, are today. A fact that says also something very unpleasant about the situation in Bulgaria – still very much run by the networks of people with links to the former Bulgarian State Security and their underlings – and most other Eastern European countries.

The publisher, who brought recently among others also Varlam Shalamov, Yevgenia Ginzburg, and works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn to the Bulgarian readers, has to be praised for this deed.

However, I have also to mention that the footnotes are to me very annoying. While some of them are ridiculously inadequate – is it really necessary to try to explain in two lines who Thomas Mann or Pablo Picasso were, and does the fact that the publisher added these footnotes mean that this edition is intended for an audience that is missing even an elementary Bildung? -, others are inaccurate, and even manipulative.

One example: Pablo Neruda is described in a footnote as an author that was “occupied by communist ideas”, which is clearly a strong understatement; he was in reality a Stalinist hardliner and active GPU/NKWD agent with blood on his hands; he played a big role in the Trotsky assassination, and allegedly some others, and he personally took care of deleting non-Stalinist leftists from the list of people that would be granted a place on a rescue ship and visa to Chile, people desperately trying to leave unoccupied France in 1940; Neruda knew perfectly well that his selection (I am almost tempted to write Selektion here) was in fact a death sentence for almost all of them, executed either by the Nazis, or by the assassination squads of Stalin (Victor Serge has written in detail about such murderous “intellectuals” as Neruda). The footnote about Neruda is in this context extremely misleading.

Another example is Günter Grass, who according to the footnote was a “far-left” writer. For those who don’t know it, Grass was a life-long supporter of the German Social Democrats, even when he left the party for few years out of disappointment; he wrote speeches for his close friend, Chancellor Willy Brandt, one of the most fervent German anti-Communists, and he was himself a lifelong anti-Communist. The German Social Democrats, and also Grass himself, were never “far-left”, and the footnote is either reflecting a completely uninformed editor, or is – what I don’t hope, but cannot completely dismiss as a possibility – intentionally manipulative, “far-left” being in Bulgaria a common epithet for a Communist sympathiser.

On the other hand, it is mentioned that Salvador Dali left Spain after the Civil War, but “refrained from political activities”; those who don’t know who Dali really was, might get the impression that he was an active anti-fascist who left the country to avoid persecution – while the truth is exactly the opposite: he showed a servile attitude towards the dictator Franco and open sympathies for fascism, and he had even the bad taste to (figuratively speaking) spit on the grave of his former best friend Garcia Lorca, who was murdered by Dali’s new friends. There was a reason why Max Ernst crossed the street when he got sight of Dali during his emigration, and it was not only for artistic reasons that he didn’t want to face his shameless plagiarist!

Unfortunately, all intellectuals with sympathies for the (democratic) left seem to be described in a way similar to Grass, while in cases of intellectuals or artists with fascist sympathies a sudden amnesia seems to have taken hold of the editors. 

But not only when it comes to Western artists and intellectuals, this edition goes astray; almost all Bulgarian authors – most of them household names for the readers of this edition; even the famous Blaga Dimitrova has her two-line resume – have a footnote; only Lyubomir Levchev, a key figure of Bulgarian literary life in the time of Communism is not worthy(?) of a footnote. This gifted poet, a close friend of Markov while the later dissident was still living in Bulgaria, who made a career as an orthodox Communist literary functionary, played for example a very active role in the persecution and partly expulsion of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria in the 1980’s (euphemistically called “Revival process” by the Communists), a role in which he seems to take pride until today.

I doubt very much that the missing footnote for Lyubomir Levchev was an editorial oversight (I have privately my suspicion for which reason the footnote is missing), and this missing footnote, together with the other inadequate, wrong, and manipulative footnotes decrease my pleasure in this otherwise great and valuable edition very much. I hope that this edition will see many reprints, and that many especially young Bulgarians will read it – but with more appropriate and correct footnotes!

Георги Марков: До моя съвременник; Ненаписаната българска харта; Ходенето на българина по мъките (3 volumes), Communitas Foundation, Sofia 2015-2016

My remarks are mainly based on the first of the three volumes, which I have finished so far.

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News from Retardistan (9)

The Bulgarian Ministry of Culture in Sofia hosts an exhibition room that is very suitable for art exhibitions, and indeed it could be a good, central place to showcase artworks by various contemporary artists.

I remember that the last time I paid a visit to the premises, there was an exhibition with works of Vezhdi Razhidov, a sculptor and painter of modest talent. What annoyed me was not that such a – in my opinion – unremarkable artist was given exhibition space in the Ministry of Culture, but the fact that this artist is – the Bulgarian Minister of Culture himself. He uses this space obviously to promote himself and thus trying to increase the market value of his artworks by exhibiting in the Ministry that he seems to consider as his quasi-private property. That a Minister is using government resources or even premises of the government to promote his own business activities would cause a major scandal, and even investigations by the relevant authorities about misuse of taxpayers’ money in probably any other country; there can be no doubt that such a Minister could not remain in office after such a blatant show of disrespect of elementary rules of political integrity and misuse of governmental resources for private profit-oriented purposes. But there was no major protest, no investigation, no replacement of the Minister.

Some time later, the big opening exhibition of the expensively renovated former Museum of Foreign Art (now part of the National Gallery) took place. As I wrote in my blog post about this exhibition, there were quite a lot of major complaints to make about this exhibition. One of them was related to the fact, that the only living artist representing the period after 1989 in this exhibition was (with two of his works), the Minister of Culture, Mr. Vezhdi Razhidov. Again, the host used his governmental position to promote his artwork, in order to increase his market value. Again, there was no major protest, no investigation, no replacement of the Minister. 

One of these days, I have been again accidentally passing by the Ministry of Culture. And what do I see? The windows of the exhibition room are decorated right now with three big posters that advertise three art exhibitions of works of Minister Razhidov. Again, the host used his governmental position to promote his artwork, in order to increase his market value. Again, there was no major protest, no investigation, no replacement of the Minister. 

I guess these small but symptomatic observations give you an idea regarding the state of cultural policy in Bulgaria.

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

News from Retardistan (8)

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That’s the credo of the overwhelming part of the Bulgarian anti-Communists – or possibly the part that makes the most noise. They seem to repeat this sentence to themselves like a mantra again and again.

You are a racist, an anti-Semite, a xenophobe, a revisionist, a fascist, a Nazi, a paid mouthpiece of a media tycoon, a scumbag that sends people with other opinions, or that oppose your lies and propaganda, death threats (either personally or via some of your more “robust” friends, who will let your enemy know that they will shoot him in the neck, or alternatively “break every single bone of his body”) – all is forgiven and forgotten as long as you are a good anti-Communist that condones the murder of a Russian diplomat and who is waiting rather hopefully for the assassination of the Russian Ambassador in Bulgaria, in order to organize a big feast and celebrate the future killer with poems. Dozens of “likes” in social media for your gleeful murder apology will be the consequence in Bulgaria, whereas in pluralistic and more democratic countries with a functioning law enforcement the penal code and the application of its instruments would be the result of such an outburst of depravity.

As long as the democratic anti-Communists don’t draw a clear line between themselves and SA-type “intellectuals” of the extremist right that would gladly practice any kind of violence against their enemies, if they just wouldn’t be such pathetic and impotent cowards, as long as the democratic right doesn’t draw this line, there will be no hope for the development of a democratic and pluralistic society in Bulgaria, and the never-ending story of “transition” and execution of the power by mafia groups will go on and on…

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News from Retardistan (7)

Колко хора в България знаят толкова повече като федералната полиция в Германия за престъплението в Берлин! И колко много шум и отвратителни коментари, когато спазването на жертвите ще изисква да се мълчи само за един миг, а не да се разпространява все повече и повече пропаганда на омраза …

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The Bulgarians

A scarecrow in the village of Zimzelen in the Rhodopes; a man reading a newspaper in front of some park benches in Ruse; an ultra-nationalist rally in Sofia; a Roma girl dancing with closed eyes in the village of Kovachevitsa; men playing chess in the park in front of Naroden Theater in Sofia; a man in a rakija distillery in a village near Karnobat; two elderly Pomak women in traditional dresses with a snow-covered peak of the Rhodopes in the background; a border fence at the Bulgarian-Turkish border near the village of Beleozen; a girl behind the bar of a self-service pub in the village of Chervenka; a beggar and his dog on Vitosha Street in Sofia; men in a village mosque; two old men in Sozopol at the Black Sea; an abandoned school in a village in the Strandzha mountains; the Jewish cemetery in Karnobat –

these are just some of the subjects of the photos in Anthony Georgieff’s new book The Bulgarians, recently published in a high-quality bi-lingual edition. 

In the instructive foreword Georgi Lozanov points out the similarities of Georgieff’s anthropological photographic project with Robert Frank’s classical book The Americans. The Bulgarians shows a big variety of “average” individuals from different background, religion, ethnicity, age, gender, profession, social status, from urban areas as well as from remote villages, accompanied by photos that show human traces, graffiti, dilapidating buildings, or monuments of different eras, decaying or still fully revered. The element of the extraordinary moment, or of celebrity is carefully avoided in most cases (and when not, it is not with the aim to show celebrity, as is the case with the shot of a TV screen that shows the present Prime Minister, a photo that is reflecting the way most Bulgarians perceive politics). This, together with the careful composition of the work, make this – predominantly black and white – photo book a highly interesting statement regarding the identity of Bulgarians in the early 21st century.

While the parallels with Frank’s book are obvious, Lozanov points out also the differences which are particularly stunning when one compares photos of retired Americans with those of their Bulgarian peers:

“The former dress up in brightly coloured clothes, when their time for ‘well-deserved retirement’ comes, hang cameras around their necks, and start travelling the world. The latter (i,e. the retired Bulgarians – T.H.) put on dark clothes and headscarves, and sit on benches in front of their houses waiting for the world to pass them by. In The Bulgarians you will see Bulgarian grannies being passed by by the world.”

Not surprisingly, smiles are rare on the pages of The Bulgarians, but not completely missing. Georgieff has a sharp, but sympathetic eye – and for most people in Bulgaria, there is little reason to smile.

Two family photos from the private archive of the author open and end the photo sequence in the book. While the first one depicts a funeral in the family, approximately 90 years ago, the second one shows the author as an optimistic looking child. The comment the child wrote on the back of the photo made me smile, but you have to read it yourself…

Renowned journalist, photographer, and author Anthony Georgieff, the man behind Vagabond, the highly recommended English-language journal that publishes among other interesting articles about Bulgaria in every edition a story or an excerpt of a longer work by a contemporary Bulgarian author, has done an excellent job and this “anthropological roadtrip” will enrich everyone with a serious interest in Bulgaria and its people. It is also a photography book that may well be considered a classic in the years to come.

Georgieff told me after the book presentation I attended two days ago in Sofia that he is planning also a work related to Communist Bulgaria in the near future. I can say that I am looking forward to this work with great curiosity.

Anthony Georgieff: The Bulgarians. Preface by Georgi Lozanov, Vagabond Media, Sofia 2016

Some photos from the book you can find here.

The same publisher has produced some other equally interesting books that document  Bulgaria’s cultural, historical, religious and ethnic diversity in English and Bulgarian, and that are illustrated with excellent photos as well. More information on these books you can find here.

#BulgarianLitMonth2016

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“Victory Day” in Bulgaria

I was always wondering, why many Bulgarians celebrate Victory Day as if this victory was their own country’s achievement and usually without reflecting that Bulgaria was anything but a victor of WWII.

The country was a close ally of Nazi Germany for most of the war. The capital Sofia and many people in it became victims of the air raids by the Western allies. Then the country was invaded by the Soviets who established a Stalinist puppet regime that was for 45 years one of the worst and most suffocating in Eastern Europe.

“Victory Day” – really…?

I think history is a bit more complicated and ambiguous than that.

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Bulgarian Literature Month 2016 – a few suggestions (2)

In my latest blog post, I gave an overview regarding some of the translated Bulgarian authors and their works. If you want to have a bit more background information about contemporary authors from Bulgaria, I would recommend you to have a look at the website Contemporary Bulgarian Writers.

The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation is since years successfully supporting particularly the translation and publication of books by contemporary Bulgarian authors, and the website is also a result of their work. Apart from short authors’ bios, there are plenty of translation samples that will for sure be a useful starting point not only for publishers, but also for readers. The English-language Bulgarian journal Vagabond (a well-written and edited periodical for anyone with an interest in Bulgaria) publishes in every new edition a story or a chapter of a novel by a contemporary Bulgarian author. So there are now quite a lot of accessible media that can tease the curiosity of readers for Bulgarian literature.

Although the main focus of this first Bulgarian Literature Month 2016 is on the works of contemporary Bulgarian language authors, I want to be not too strict. Also non-fiction works by Bulgarian authors can be included. The same goes for works by Bulgarian-born authors that write in another language than Bulgarian. I am even open for reviews of books (fiction or non-fiction) by foreign language authors that are related to Bulgaria.

Here are a few recommendations for all above mentioned categories:

Bulgarian-born authors that write in other languages:

The only Bulgarian-born author that was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature was Elias Canetti. Canetti’s only link with Bulgaria is his birth in Ruse and the first years of his early childhood he spent there, and which had nevertheless a strong lifelong impact on him. More on his childhood in the first volume of his brilliant autobiography:

The Tongue Set Free (Granta Books 2011)

Some time ago, I reviewed the debut of Miroslav Penkov, his story collection East of the West, enthusiastically. The English-language author Penkov has now published his first novel, again focused on Bulgaria and similarly enticing:

Stork Mountain (Farrar, Straus , and Giroux 2016)

Kapka Kassabova, another English-language author with Bulgarian roots, left the country of her birth in 1991. Many years later, she came back for a longer visit and her impressions there brought back a lot of mostly not very pleasant memories. A somewhat controversial book, not liked by everyone in Bulgaria, but definitely an interesting read about the difficult process of transition which is still going on 25 years after the fall of communism:

Street Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria (Skyhorse Publishing 2009)

One of the most prolific contemporary German-language authors is Ilija Trojanow (sometimes transcribed as Iliya Troyanov in English). Of his so far translated works I recommend particularly the following books:

Along the Ganges (Haus Publishing 2005)
Mumbai to Mecca (Haus Publishing 2007)
The Collector of Worlds (Haus Publishing 2008)
The Lamentations of Zeno (Verso 2016)

Together with the photographer Christian Muhrbeck, Trojanow published an impressive book with photos from Bulgaria:

Wo Orpheus begraben liegt (Carl Hanser 2013) – this book, as all other works of Trojanow related to Bulgaria, are still not translated in English

Unfortunately Dimitre Dinev’s books, written in German, are so far also not translated in English. His touching and brilliantly written novel about two families is one of my favourite books:

Engelszungen (“Angel’s Tongues”) (Deuticke 2003)

Several other Bulgarian-born authors write also in German. I can recommend (this so far untranslated book) particularly:

Rumjana Zacharieva: Transitvisum fürs Leben (Horlemann 2012)

Bulgaria is also a topic in the work of a few fictional works by authors that have no connection by birth with this country:

Many of Eric Ambler’s books have a story that is located in some frequently not precisely named Balkan country. The following two books of this fantastic author have a Bulgarian setting (the first one partly, the second one is clearly based on the show trial in Bulgaria in the aftermath of the Communist takeover):

The Mask of Dimitrios (in the United States published as A Coffin for Dimitrios) (various editions)
Judgment on Deltchev (Vintage 2002)

Another author who is using the twilight of the Balkans as a setting for his spy novels is Alan Furst. Bulgaria features for example in the following book:

Night Soldiers (Random House 2002)

Two remarkable novels by younger international authors who spent a longer time in Bulgaria and who received excellent reviews (especially the second one, which was published recently has caused really raving write-ups in all major literary journals and even the mainstream media):

Rana Dasgupta: Solo (Marriner Books 2012)
Garth Greenwell: What Belongs to You (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2016)

Julian Barnes visited Bulgaria after the transition and witnessed the trial of Todor Zhivkov. His novel based on this experience is worth reading:

The Porcupine (Vintage 2009)

Two historical novels by men who lived or live in Bulgaria. I haven’t read them yet, but the synopsis sounds interesting in both cases:

Christopher Buxton: Far from the Danube (Kronos 2006)
Ellis Shuman: Valley of the Thracians (Create Space 2013)

A few more books by German authors that have a Bulgarian setting and that I enjoyed (with the exception of Apostoloff, but maybe you think otherwise). Only the book by Lewitscharoff is translated so far.

Michael Buselmeier: Hundezeiten (Wunderhorn 1999)
Nicki Pawlow: Der bulgarische Arzt (Langen-Müller 2014)
Roumen M. Evert: Die Immigrantin (Dittrich 2009)
Uwe Kolbe: Thrakische Spiele (Nymphenburger 2005)
Sibylle Lewitscharoff: Apostoloff (Suhrkamp 2010)

Angelika Schrobsdorff (also known as an actress and wife of Claude Lanzmann) came 1938 to Bulgaria as a Jewish child from Germany and stayed there until 1947. Several of her works are based on her experience in Bulgaria or on her attempts to re-connect with friends and relatives at a later stage:

Die Reise nach Sofia (dtv 1983, introduction by Simone de Beauvoir)
Grandhotel Bulgaria (dtv 1997)

And finally some non-fiction recommendations:

The Bulgarian journalist and author Georgi Markov was one of the most prominent dissidents and victim of a so-called “umbrella murder”. The following book is the result of years of investigation and gives an extremely interesting insight into the real power central of communist Bulgaria, the State Security:

Hristo Hristov: Kill the Wanderer (Gutenberg 2013)

Works of Georgi Markov is available in a three-volume edition in German:

Das Portrait meines Doppelgängers (Wieser 2010)
Die Frauen von Warschau (Wieser 2010)
Reportagen aus der Ferne (Wieser 2014)

In the context of the attempts of certain right-wing circles in Bulgaria to whitewash the fascist regime of Boris III from its share of responsibility in the holocaust, it is particularly useful to read the following book by Tzvetan Todorov, who is together with Julia Kristeva one of the most prominent French intellectuals of Bulgarian origin:

The Fragility of Goodness (Princeton University Press 2003)

Another very heated discussion about a particular period of Bulgarian history  was the so-called Batak controversy a few years ago. Whereas in most other countries a conference about certain aspects of 19th century history would go unnoticed outside a small circle, it resulted in this case in big and very unpleasant smear campaign with involvement of Bulgarian politicians and almost all major media in the country who, either without knowing the publication or in full disregard of the content, organized a real witch hunt against a few scholars that had in the end to cancel the conference because they had to fear for their lives. The re-evaluation of certain historical myths that were in the past used to incite ethnic or religious hatred targeted at certain groups of Bulgarian citizens is still a difficult issue. A book that is documenting the Batak controversy and the historical facts behind it is available in a Bulgarian/German edition:

Martina Baleva, Ulf Brunnbauer (Hgg.): Batak kato mjasto na pametta / Batak als bulgarischer Erinnerungsort (Iztok-Zapad 2007)

A book on the history of Bulgaria may be useful for all those who dive into Bulgarian literature. Bulgarians love their history and love to discuss it with foreigners; or more precisely: the version of history they were taught in school…

R.J. Crampton: A Concise History of Bulgaria (Cambridge University Press 2006)

A fascinating book on how tobacco, its cultivation and production, shaped Bulgaria – until today, when there is still a political party that at least on the the surface mainly represents the interest of the – predominantly ethnic Turkish – tobacco farmers:

Mary C. Neuburger: Balkan Smoke (Cornell University Press 2012)

A German in Bulgaria is the subtitle of the following book, and of course I read the very interesting, insightful and sometimes funny work by Thomas Frahm (not translated in English, but at least in Bulgarian) with great interest and pleasure. Frahm is also one of the few excellent translators of Bulgarian literature (Lea Cohen, Vladimir Zarev):

Die beiden Hälften der Walnuss (Chira 2015)

And if you are planning a walk through the Balkans or a boat trip on the Danube, the following classical works should not be missing in your luggage:

Claudio Magris: Danube (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 2008)

Patrick Leigh Fermor: A Time of Gifts/Between the Woods and the Water/The Broken Road (NYRB)

In my next blog post I will give more information on how to participate in Bulgarian Literature Month 2016. And yes, there will be also a few giveaways! 

PS: The information in the two blog posts is of course not complete, and can never be. Still, I think I should include the following as well (which I have simply forgotten):

John Updike: The Bulgarian Poetess – one of Updike’s best stories, available in several of his short story collections, for example in The Early Stories, 1953-1975 (Random House 2004)

Will Buckingham: The Descent of the Lyre (Roman Books 2013) – a beautiful novel that catches the magical atmosphere of the Rhodopi mountains, the region of Orpheus, written by an author who knows Bulgaria, its history and culture very well.

Dumitru Tsepeneag: The Bulgarian Truck – a brilliant postmodernist novel by an author from neighbouring Romania (Dalkey Archive Press 2016)

The online journal Drunken Boat recently published an issue devoted to Bulgarian literature and art. A good selection and the perfect starting point for the Bulgarian Literature Month.

© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-6. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 


News from Retardistan (6): “Citizen Arrest”

My opinion on the so-called “citizen arrest” of refugees/migrants by self-proclaimed vigilante groups in Bulgaria (which consist mainly of criminal thugs with a long track record of delinquency, and of other “subjects” from the dregs of the Bulgarian society):

The so-called “citizen arrest”, the detention of people who cross the border by citizens who are not part of the police forces or other entitled state organs, is a criminal act – as is obvious by the law, and by the statements of the Bulgarian Attorney General and by the Ministry of Interior. It is according to the Bulgarian Penal Code a criminal offence, punishable with up to six years prison. The vigilante are obviously criminals, and those who applaud their actions are applauding the actions of criminals.

It is up to the relevant authorities alone to exercise law and order. It is up to the relevant authorities alone to decide if someone that entered the country has broken any law by doing so. It is up to the relevant authorities alone to decide if someone has a right to stay in the country or not. It is up to the relevant authorities alone to decide if someone will be granted asylum or not.

A constitutional state can under no circumstances allow that self-proclaimed groups arm themselves and declare themselves as taking over part of the tasks and responsibilities of the government and the state institutions of the executive power. A constitutional state must guarantee at all times that he and he alone exercises the sole executive power and must guarantee at all times that the constitutional rights and human rights of Bulgarian citizens and all other people are respected and that they are protected by the law at all times. A constitutional state has a monopoly on the using of force and violence within clearly defined legitimate limits; any group or person who is acting outside this framework and without legitimacy must be considered a criminal and put on trial.

Politicians that promote or encourage such groups show that they are openly supporting criminal acts against people and against the constitutional system of Bulgaria. It goes without saying that such politicians are not fit for service; in case they have an office, they must immediately step down and face the legal consequences of their words and actions.

The relevant law enforcement institutions need to urgently scrutinize this obvious breach of the law by Bulgarian politicians. That goes also for politicians like Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who must step down immediately after his unsupportable statements and actions in this context, but also for ex-president Parvanov, or for ex-Foreign Minister Passy, and many others who openly support and promote criminal groups. (I am not even mentioning here for obvious reasons the ATAKA nutcases, the VMRO racists, the DPS mutra cronies and the so-called “patriots” from the right and left parties, whose activities should be also for many other reasons scrutinized by the law enforcement agencies.)

I am truly shocked by the huge support the bloodthirsty thugs who hunt down refugees and other people in Bulgaria who don’t look sufficiently “Bulgarian” with machetes, clubs, and other murder weapons have in public and social media and in all layers of Bulgarian society. The level of verbal and physical brutality, the open racism I witness every time I am in Bulgaria against minorities and vulnerable groups is deeply disturbing and I have recently more and more moments when I am becoming very pessimistic regarding the long-term perspectives for this country, which seems – as I think now frequently – to have lost its soul, heart and ethics. And even its mind. 

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