“We have all the patience in the world and twice as much brains”
21.07.2013 § 2 Comments
Almost 40 days into the protests in Bulgaria, here’s an update on the situation. This is a brilliant piece by Samuil Petkov (a.k.a. zhelyo), a member of the NE!Novinite collective, originally published at OFFNews.bg.
Many have expressed criticism of the spirit of the protest. For 35 peaceful nights, tens of thousands of people have walked serenely with a smile on their lips and a loved one on their arm, denouncing the political class and demanding the resignation of the government. Nothing more, nothing less.
Skeptics believe that “carnivals” and “parades” will yield no results. They do not overtly demand more radical actions, but their patience is exhausted. Or their confidence in the protesters’ cause. Or they inherently rely on [the Bulgarian Socialist Party], blindly believing that they are a real alternative to GERB.
The blame for the impasse in the country is thrown at the crowd, which has, for over a month, peacefully resisted the provocations that ruined the February protests and distorted them. No blood, no aggression. Even verbal abuse and swearing are minimized – unprecedented for any group of people unknown to each other. The ones not being blamed are the ones committing blunder after blunder at the head of our state. Figures like [Volen] Siderov, [Anton] Koutev and [Tatyana] Burudjieva hurl ridiculous qualifications at the protesters, and the prime minister is searching for his balls, pitifully silent.
Yes, the Parliament and the Cabinet are playing deaf. Or they’re distorting the truth. We’re paid, we’re bloated, we’re few, we’re terrorists. They have claimed we are anything except what we are: all kinds.
This is the first non-partisan mass event on this scale. There are members of the DSB, the Green Party, all kinds of citizens. There are supporters of all political parties and ideologies. United by the idea that a person with a 12-word vocabulary cannot be head of the National Security Agency. That one out of the former VIS-2 [Mafia group] guys cannot be a local governor. That the brother-in-law of a politician with known compromised dealings in energy policy cannot be responsible for a nuclear power plant. United by the transparent, nepotistic mediocrity and corruption of the government. They don’t even try to conceal or justify – they’re just trying to smear the protest and wedge into it its February detachments of provocateurs. But their scheme will fail.
I am Samuil, zhelyo of NE!Novinite, and I’m part of a great group of friends who, as soon as we come up with an idea to ridicule the politicians or their statements, we do. Sergei called us puppets, so that evening we made piglet marionettes inscribed with “GERB”, “BSP”, “DSB”. Among our group there are people who voted for all three. We married the party to the mob, then we buried it. We hid under a plastic table or went sunbathing in front of the Council of Ministers.
When we weren’t being seen or heard, we recreated a classic Delacroix painting and made the news in the EU’s largest country on the eve of the French national holiday. [N.B. The recreation can be seen here (slightly NSFW)] Or our other allies knocked down a symbolic Berlin Wall in front of the embassy of the richest country in the EU [N.B. link here]. If you have an idea, you can get it done. You can seek help and discuss it with others. We know each other and we’re becoming more united, even while some would wish that we turn to grotesque actions out of frustration.
Would it have been better to clash with the police, who are working overtime without being paid?
What if I met someone in public office somewhere, am I really expected to beat him to a pulp? No. My strength is in my morals, my world views and in the power of words. I draw my strength from the thousands-strong crowd that I see every night. People depriving themselves of sleep, of free time, of many personal resources, nerves and energy, to show the government that they will no longer tolerate the government to act … like idiots. Diplomatically put.
We are showing them that no matter how much of the media they own, we will still know what absurd personalities they are appointing. We are showing them that no matter how much slop they pour over us, our spirit has remained indomitable for over a month. Quietly, peacefully, with good humour, with satire. We are beating them because we are above them.
One of the precedents in Bulgarian history, when the crowd is not governed by its least intelligent units but exhibits supreme self-awareness. It doesn’t allow provocations, it cleans up after itself, it maintains physical and moral hygiene. Different, but united. United for the resignation of those in power. May they learn!
That is why I dream of one day soon arguing with the right-wingers for their absurd and outdated conservatism, with the left – for their absurd economic assumptions, with the green – for sometimes engaging in pseudoscience to support some of their causes, with the nationalists – for the impractical and fruitless pathos, xenophobia and homophobia, with the city-dwellers – that we are an agrarian country and we have no problem cultivating our own land, and with the villagers – that nail hygiene is disgusting and outdated.
But today, I feel great alongside all of them with a big smile, general topics of conversations and our ideal goal – the government’s resignation. May it be a lesson. This cannot go on. So that whoever comes along afterwards is careful. There are already enough people without political ambitions, who are interested in who and how they are governed.
We have all the patience in the world and twice the brains. We proved that we are not idiots, that we are better diplomats, we are more cultured, we are more creative. Whoever wants a change from day to day, go back to 1990 or 1997 and back to sleep, waiting for Godot. We are the generation that never sleeps. Kisses.
Samuil Petkanov 2013