Jock Palfreeman finally out of Busmantsy detention center, International coverage of neo-Nazis’ racist chants during Bulgaria-England match finally puts focus on racism and football corruption in Bulgaria

 mediapool.bg

Opinion: Openly racist (unless Western media finds out) Like many things, racism in Bulgaria could only be tackled if it leaks to the international press Contrary to what PM Boyko Borissov tried to tell journalists (and keeping a straight face at that), Bulgaria is not "the most tolerant country in the world". It is far from being any level of "tolerant" at all, in fact. Racism is a big part of Bulgarian life and society, and is arguably one of the widest societal consensuses, piercing through all walks of society: poor, rich, powerful. It is well institutionalized and distributed prominently among high ranking members of the executive branch. In 2014 then-Health Minister Petar Moskov declared ambulances will no longer answer calls from Roma neighborhoods, following incidents of people attacking paramedics. He received much public praise. The straight-forward racist decision, which contradicted the constitution, human rights and a bunch of other laws, might have been his most popular move as minister. The paramedics loved it too: ambulances roamed around the capital with posters of Moskov hanging on the side. Famously, white parents pull their children from school if there are Roma children enrolled in the class. "Famously" because this is one of the primary reasons why none of the measures against school segregation (i.e. having all-Roma or all-white schools) are not working. If this was not enough, last year a school principal (!) from Blagoevgrad published information on the school’s official Facebook page that it "will not be enrolling Roma children in the next phase of registration for first graders." Stories like this are so widespread, it is not only tolerated to the point of not being newsworthy at all, the general public’s collective eyebrow is raised to express its bewilderment as to what is the issue there. About a year ago during the winter months no less, the sitting Vice PM Krassimir Karakachanov managed to organize the demolition of tens of houses in a neighborhood with primarily Roma population, following an incident with two brothers and a military officer. The position of vice PM is the second most powerful in the executive branch, and from its elevated position this executive ranted uninterrupted in Parliament and on TV his full-bodied hatred towards the Roma minority. It took him no more than several days to take care of the demolition and oversee the process personally. This was (and remains) one of the most (if not the most) swiftly executed action by the government in recent memory. Several months later Karakachanov came up with a "radical integration" plan to – by his own account – "solve the Roma problem" not least of which by imposing compulsory measures to limit the birth rate among Roma women. In this broad context, is it surprising that core football fans, the so-called Ultras – are also radical neo-Nazis? Hardly. Is the PM and the relevant state institutions not aware of ..


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