Tag Archives: fascism

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.

© 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.

News from Retardistan (5): The silence of the lambs

Honestly, I cannot understand why most Bulgarian intellectuals don’t say a word about the fact that many of the places where they are usually buying their books are being more and more turned into locations where Nazi publishers are selling pamphlets that are advertising an inhumane ideology, racial hatred and mass murder. No wonder that in this climate, anti-Semitism shows its ugly face also outside the bookstores as this excerpt from the excellent book A Guide to Jewish Bulgaria shows.

It seems to be normal for most Bulgarian intellectuals to see Hitler’s My Struggle, Henry Ford’s The International Jew, and other extremely revolting books that either advertise mass murder, deny the Holocaust, or are apologies of war criminals being prominently advertised and promoted literally almost everywhere, or what is the reason for the silence of most of the Bulgarian intellectual elite in this case?

Do they think that the widespread promotion of such books in their country doesn’t concern them? Do they think someone might be offended when they raise their voice to confront those people who help to distribute extermination manuals? Are they afraid to be physically threatened if they speak out against right-wing extremism and Nazism? (I have to admit that this is unfortunately a very real threat as I learned during my public argument with a revisionist and anti-Semitic so-called “historian” – the “fan mail” by his friends gave me a very interesting insight in the moral scruffiness and deprivation of this part of the extreme right wing of the intellectual lumpenproletariat in Bulgaria; it contrasted rather typically and unfavourably with the almost complete lack of public support for my position by most of my intellectual friends – but do not worry, I have an extremely high frustration tolerance.)

Do they think it is a sign of democracy and freedom of expression when those who either deny the holocaust or who would like to commit mass murder, erect concentration camps, and sterilize by force certain groups of the Bulgarian population if they could are not only allowed to propagate their inhumane ideology without limits, but are even supported by a coalition of silent intellectuals and a public that seems to be completely uninformed about history and uninterested in what is going on in their country, in which revisionists, fascists and openly Nazi groups are taking more and more over the public discourse on certain topics? What kind of “democrats” would have the idea to promote a law that bans the use of certain communist symbols under threat of a prison sentence, but who seem to be fine with the promotion of mass murder under the banner of revisionism, fascism, and Nazism?

Hate speech against minorities is not the exception, but the rule in Bulgaria, and very few people seem to care. A real democracy and pluralist society requires that people raise their voice and set limits to this domination of the public sphere by revisionist, fascist and Nazi propaganda; intellectuals have a particular responsibility to speak out when it comes to these issues. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Bulgarian intellectuals seems to be sound asleep – this intellectual indolence, laziness and cowardice when it comes to confront this pest in Bulgaria is something very sad, disappointing, and depressing. 

Fortunately a few bookstores are consciously not following this trend and a few intellectuals voice their concern. A few bookstores and a few intellectuals, yes. But a real public discussion on a large scale about this problem doesn’t take place, nor seem many people who should know it better even to be aware at all of the issue. As long as it is like this, the enemies of democracy and a pluralist society have a field day in Bulgaria.

————————————————————————————————————————————

The above mentioned book is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in Jewish and/or Bulgarian history:

Dimana Trankova, Anthony Georgieff: A Guide to Jewish Bulgaria, Vagabond Media, Sofia 2011

© 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 (2)

Facebook: Your algorithm that suggests me to sign up for certain groups is a bit confused – fine. Sometimes I just have a laugh about your inadequate suggestions, and if your paying customers knew that you haven’t got a clue about me and my (and probably millions of other users) preferences in almost all areas of life, your shareholder value would drop by a few billion USD.
 
But that you allow people to form a group that calls for the execution of people with opposing political views, is a scandal. And I am not talking about the Daesh scum bags, I am talking about those Bulgarian citizens that form the group РАЗСТРЕЛ ЗА ВСИЧКИ ПРЕДАТЕЛСКИ КОПЕЛЕТА НА БЪЛГАРИЯ !! (Execution of all treacherous bastards in Bulgaria), a group that is filled with postings of racist, fascist, and xenophobic content – and the name of the group makes it clear what has according to the members to happen with those who are on the hate list of these morons.
 
This is not only hate speech, it is incitement to murder, and that is a crime according to the Bulgarian Criminal Code; a long term prison sentence is prescribed for that. How about that, Prosecutor’s Office – instead of harassing the Marginalia team that calls a racist, fascist and anti-Semite what he is, you should rather go after the proven law offenders that are a member of this group which advocates political murder. There are (at this moment) 1707 of them, all easily to identify. So do your job and bring them to justice! A few years in jail will serve them well.
And Facebook: what about deleting this group and the profiles of people who consider political murder a righteous thing?
© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-5. 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.

An experience

I am very rarely commenting on political topics in social media. But sometimes a posting is provoking a reaction from my side; especially racism, antisemitism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, revisionism faced in comments in social media require that I have to take a stand from time to time.

So it happened that during the last weeks I was twice active in FB in relation to a political topic. In one case I signed – following the invitation of a friend – a petition regarding the banning of the Bulgarian chapter of “Blood & Honor”, a disgusting and extremely violent skinhead and Nazi group that is banned in many countries because they are considered as a criminal gang responsible for hundreds of hate crimes against “non-whites” (also in Bulgaria they have a track record of beating people to pulp that don’t look “white” enough).

The other case was the revisionist campaign by some crypto-fascist pseudo-intellectuals on the payroll of former Czar and Prime Minister Simeon Sakskoburggotski who try to rewrite Bulgarian history and turn the main responsible for the deportation and killing of more than 11,000 Jews, Boris III, into a national hero and “Bulgarian Schindler”. My answers in both cases were common sense answers: spreading publically available information on the Nazis, and mentioning scientific publications that render this revisionist attempts ridiculous, and refute the invented claims of Boris III as the savior of the Bulgarian Jews.

As a reaction, I was branded in the public discussion or in private messages (partly sent anonymously), amongst others, as:

“Liberal”, “communist”, “liberal-communist”, “cultural Marxist from the Frankfurt School”, “liar”, “bolshevist mongrel”, “Nazi”, “Jewish bastard”,” SS-Sturmbannfuhrer”, “idiot”, “garbage”, “retard”, “pederast”, “nutcase”, “slanderer”, “anti-bulgarian”, and many other nice epitheta that speak for the intellectual level of those who use it – I am talking about dozens, no, hundreds of people using this kind of expressions, mostly people who are according to their public profiles historians, psychiatrists, TV hosts, advocates, or who have other professions that require a certain formal education or at least knowledge or professionalism. (For sure I know that of course only for the non-anonymous part of the messages.)

Additionally, and in mostly but not always anonymous messages, my parents and family were threatened and insulted in the most primitive manner, people expressed regret that I was not gassed in Treblinka, it was promised that “we will find out where you live, and then you will see!”, I was promised to be beaten to pulp, or alternatively that they wish “someone will break every single bone in your body” or will “shut you up for ever”, and various other forms of interaction that correspond with the mental abilities of this human scum. (For those that promised to wait for me “on the streets of Sofia and show you what it means to mess with us”: be aware that my Albanian bodyguards are maybe just around the corner in that case – and be also aware that they have their own concept of “Blood & Honor” – if you get the point.)

It is an experience, but I am not surprised. It is quite a spectacle to see a certain category of individuals acting like a pack of rabid dogs, or a bunch of foaming hysterical lunatics in a pogrom – just because you dared to voice an opinion and present some facts that are unpleasant for them.

Welcome to Bulgaria, the country that prides itself with its “legendary tolerance and hospitality”. 

To be fair: I know – no, I hope that these people are not the majority in Bulgaria. But what really shocks me is the almost complete lack of any solidarity for people who voice justified criticism and are actively doing their duty as citizens to stand up for human rights, or the right of free speech, and against fascism, racism, revisionism.

Even a big part of the intellectuals in Bulgaria seems to be on permanent vacation or busy with their own things. At least that is my impression and experience. Not everyone is like me eloquent and well-equipped and -prepared to deal with those people I described in the previous paragraphs and that represent the dregs of the Bulgarian society; and not everyone has his own outlet to speak out like I do here. For the marginalized and bullied groups in Bulgarian society, life must be very depressing – not only because they are marginalized and bullied, but because so few people who know or should know better stand up for them.

 
© Thomas Hübner and mytwostotinki.com, 2014-5. 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.