Living Up to a Name: The Story of Plamen Goranov
Interview and film republished with permission
LeftEast recently sat down with Martin Marinos and Andre Andreev to discuss their film Flame: A Short Film About Plamen Goranov, which recently won the Thessaloniki Film Festival’s Audience Award for Best Short Film. The documentary explores the life of Plamen Goranov, whose self-immolation during the Bulgarian protests in 2013 spurred the resignation of Varna’s mayor and was also cited by the Prime Minister Boyko Borisov as one of the reasons for his resignation. Martin and Andre have generously made the entire film available to our readers. –LeftEast editors
Transcribed from the 24 January 2015 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:
“Roma are among the poorest citizens in Bulgaria. But somehow, paradoxically, they are considered the most privileged, because of their supposed “privileged” access to welfare.”
Chuck Mertz: We’ve been discussing neoliberalism, austerity and race on This is Hell! for a while now. But what happens when austerity actually fuels more racism? Here to tell us what austerity means for racism against Bulgaria’s Roma: Jana Tsoneva.
AntiNote: This interview originally appeared in German in issue #104 of the Antifaschistisches Infoblatt (AIB) and was posted online in December 2014. It bears mentioning that since the interview was initially conducted in English, it has now been translated and re-translated. Apart from any fantastic coincidences, these are not the exact words of Jock Palfreeman. His spirit and intention, however, are intact.
In 2007, Jock Palfreeman, then 21, traveled from his home in Australia to Bulgaria on vacation. On 28 December, he was witness to a racist hate crime in Sofia: a group of rightwing hooligans attacking a Roma person. Jock did what (unfortunately) few would. He intervened.
In the ensuing altercation, one of the attackers—Andrej Monov, son of a high-ranking government official and former police officer—was fatally stabbed.
Ever since, Jock has been sitting in Bulgarian prison—including stints in solitary—sentenced to 20 years for murder. He is currently appealing his sentence and fighting for extradition to Australia.
BULGARIA: A look at asylum seekers’ portrayal in politics and media, the little-known practice of “external addressing” in which corrupt officials collude, and the all-too-familiar rise of fascist gangs with the state’s implicit approval
by Tsvetelina Hristova and Raya Apostolova for LeftEast
In the summer of 2013, as a mass of people was fleeing the escalating conflict in Syria, Bulgaria experienced its first “real” push at the border. Or at least this is how media outlets and commentators described the thousands who were crossing the Turkish-Bulgarian border, forgetting that the Bulgarian border in particular—and the European border in general—has been a space of much antagonism for some time.
AntiNote: this article appeared this month as part of an ongoing collaboration between LeftEast and the Balkan web portal Bilten.org, where it can be read in Serbo-Croatian. Reprinted with permission.
“Over the last year and a half, ten Bulgarians committed violent suicide via self-immolation because of the increase of electricity prices; with these ‘well-intended’ healthcare reforms we can now anticipate the next, wider, and more bloody wave of ‘unintended’ mass murder—a murder which Bulgarian protesters and civil society could prevent if they shifted focus from ‘moral indignation against corrupt and dysfunctional capitalism’ to a moral indignation against capitalism as such.”
by Mariya Ivancheva
In the last days of March 2014, a Bulgarian woman, Dobrinka Krumova, age 26, died because neither private nor public hospitals in Dupnitsa in southern Bulgaria admitted her for treatment.
AntiNote: this article was the result of a recent collaboration between LeftEast and the new Balkan web portal Bilten.org, where it can be read in Serbo-Croatian. It appeared in the original English last week on LeftEast. Reprinted with permission.
“While the EU proclaims democracy and universal human rights, a new form of nationalism is on the rise – one that is not founded in the nation-state but is instead fortifying the wealthy core member-states by turning the periphery into an alert border zone.”
by Tsvetelina Hristova and Raya Apostolova
When Greece began construction of a wall along its border with Turkey in 2012, nationalist formations in Bulgaria voiced the same demand for the country’s southern border. Back then, this demand seemed comic at best and was ridiculed throughout the political spectrum. Two years later, a barbed-wire fence along the Turkish-Bulgarian border is a nationalist dream-come-true.