Working a full time job can be draining, and I had no energy yesterday for a blog post. That doesn’t mean nothing happened! Remember, keep up with the protests using the #ДАНСwithme hastag on Twitter and #ДАНСwithme on Facebook.
Today, over 40,000 people participated in the #ДАНСwithme protests in Sofia (I think that’s the official number, so it’s probably higher), who, according to Volen Siderov, are all “drug addicts, alcoholics, and terrorists.” He is the leader of the 4th largest party in Parliament.
Looking through the photos of the past couple of days of the #ДАНСwithme protests in Bulgaria, the protesters look like they have purpose and lots of fight still left in them. The protests are still peaceful, which is something I’m very thankful for. The protesters gather in the morning, to try to prevent Members of Parliament from getting into Parliament, and after work, to continue protesting. From afar, it looks like people are having fun. Except for the, you know, “My country’s politicians don’t care about me and are abusing power” factor that makes Bulgarians sick.
There was a photo from the 1990 Bulgarian protests in Sofia against single party rule circulating the internet today. The gist of the photo is, 23 years ago, Bulgarians turned out en masse to protest the Communist system. Bulgarians, 23 years ago, had hope that things would change, that the government would listen to the people, that living standards would greatly increase. But instead of the democracy that Bulgarians had hoped for, instead of a functioning, competitive, and advanced economy, Bulgarians have to live in a state full of crony capitalism. The government cares even less about the people now, living standards are the same as 23 years ago while the rest of the world has leapt ahead, and the mafia owns everything.
How a small group of people can hijack the hopes and dreams of many, and how they feel comfortable doing so, is, really, beyond me. I don’t want someone, 23 years from now, to say, we really had a shot in 2013 with the #ДАНСwithme protests, but we blew it, we let the oligarchy win. That’s why I’m sitting here, thousands of miles away, trying to raise awareness about this whole issue. Because the world is a rather small place. And what happens in Bulgaria is important. (In case you missed it, here is my blog post on why Americans should care about what’s going on in Bulgaria.)
Anyway, I decided to try and capture that feeling of, “Let’s not let this happen again in the next 23 years!” in a picture. Now, I’m not a Photoshop guru, so this is pretty simple.
The other big news is that the MRF (Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the Turkish party in Bulgaria and the junior partner in the current ruling coalition) stated that if the protests continue for another week, they will also demand Prime Minister Oresharski’s resignation. Now, I’m not sure what good new elections will do without some changes to the electoral laws. Maybe the 49% of Bulgarians who didn’t vote will actually come out and vote now; maybe for one of the smaller parties with no ties to the current oligarchy. I don’t know what the right path forward is, but I do know that if one doesn’t take the first step, it’s impossible to reach the end of the road.
I tried to find some photos from days 13 and 14 of the #ДАНСwithme protests, so here’s a mini-gallery.