My Europe: We are from the Balkans, victims are not - George Floyd

The violent death of a black US citizen George Floyd has triggered a worldwide wave of solidarity with discriminated-against minorities - and, by far, not only

My Europe: We are from the Balkans, victims are not - George Floyd

The violent death of a black US citizen George Floyd has triggered a worldwide wave of solidarity with discriminated-against minorities - and, by far, not only in America. In France, Attacks have been addressed to the police, in Israel, the fate of the Palestinians, in Australia, the aboriginal. In Germany, it was talked about Afro-Germans as well as migrants from Romania and Syria. In Bristol, England, protesters threw the Statue of the slave-dealer Edward Colston into the sea. It seems that would have changed the world profoundly. And many believe for the Better.

A part of Europe but showed hardly any solidarity in the Balkans. While elsewhere thousands for human rights marched in the Bulgarian capital city of Sofia is less than 200 young people, including LGBT activists, and supporters of anti-fascism and the Western left groups. If I see it correctly, the Initiative to the Demonstration by Americans living in Bulgaria.

What have Bulgaria and the USA have in common?

To the Communist era, was popular as a joke: What do Bulgaria and the USA have in common? You are allowed to freely demonstrate against the discrimination of Blacks. The Transparent in Sofia show, however, that these times are over: to inform, Rather than against the police in Minneapolis, the focus of the protesters on the discrimination of the Roma in Bulgaria; the event was opened by the speech of Roma journalists.

In the Romanian capital Bucharest, organized young people similar, in the former Yugoslavia and Turkey, it came sporadically to small solidarity actions. The only exception among the Balkan countries, Greece, where events such as the death of George Floyd call each Time the extreme Left on the Plan and in violent street fighting with anti-American orientation. The existence of this radical Left seems to be a sign of the advanced Euro-Integration of the country.

criticism and distrust

The demonstrations in the countries of the Balkans were not only sparse, but thrust in the majority of the population is also a mixture of criticism and mistrust. Part of George Soros to the protests has been made responsible.

on the one Hand, seems to be in South-East Europe, no one believed that African Americans could have in the richest country in the world has a Problem. Their demands for equality before the law are considered as a mood, as a conspiracy of the Democrats, an expression of anarchism, and "cultural Marxism" is seen. In Sofia, organized by the U.S. Embassy, a curious alternative rally, to read the Slogans were "stop the Terror of the Black" and "Supports Trump!" (The participants were Pro-Putin nationalists).

Privileged Roma?

on the other hand, the discrimination of minorities is denied in their own countries the majority of the Balkanier. Roma are, on the contrary, as a privileged - it is said that they benefited from foreign aid and the police would treat them particularly well.

in fact, the Belief is an important aspect of the Balkan identity today, that the real victims are not the poor and oppressed people anywhere in the world - but the Balkanier itself. It's fitting that many of the countries of South Eastern Europe indicate the time of the Ottoman Empire (1299 to 1922) as the "Turkish slavery" - even if this Form of servitude was in reality a marginal phenomenon.

no Talking

The historical truth in the Balkans is of minor importance. The goal is to present himself as a Martyr and to have an excuse to deny others the compassion. We, US Americans, like the dead Black George Floyd, are victim to geopolitical forces, of communism, of the EU rules, and so on.

The Lack of debates on racism is a serious Problem in the South-East European societies. As in the joke from the Communist era to do so, as racism is something American, that is no concern of anyone here. It was the end of state-socialism in 1989/90, in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the Balkans, of course, degrading racist practices, as everywhere in the world; but it was absolutely forbidden to talk about it. Therefore, most of the Balkans were Nations after the Second world war, not the painful to go through debates in the West; and also the need for appropriate policy measures be aware of.

Nation against Nation,

From the Balkan point of view, there are groups fighting against each other and the Individual to help his Team. The Serbs suppressed the Albanians, the revenge then; Turks "enslave" the Bulgarians, the Bulgarians have water; the Orthodox are fighting back against Muslims, Catholics against Orthodox...

racism is not a political struggle between Nations. It is a deep cultural tendency that leads to whole groups of people are systematically treated worse than others. Roma is the saddest example - but also migrants in countries such as Greece and Turkey, sexual, and Gender minorities everywhere. Racism is when your Name, your origin, your skin color or your body cause you to be regarded as inferior. If you don't let you in the Pool, because you're supposed to be dirty, if not contagious.

the arguments of the extreme Right

The extreme right claims that she just wants equality. Minorities should obey the law like all Others. They argue that Roma settlements have rates in the Balkans, similar to the African-American neighborhood in the United States have higher crime. But is such a statistical Argument is reason enough to arrest someone just because of the color of his face that was suspicious?

imagine, a Bulgarian, and an Estonian are applying for a job in Germany. The employer says: "you, Bulgarians, are in the Pisa education ranking at the very bottom. I'm not going to try to test you, but to the Estonians, because his country is in Pisa at the top." It would be fair? The Bulgarian could be smarter and better trained than the Este, in spite of all the statistics. Another example: We know that 90 percent of all violent crimes are committed by young men. Police officers should therefore take every young man that you see after 22 o'clock?

Absurd claims

Of Thomas Jefferson's famous phrase was: "There is nothing Ungleicheres as the equal treatment of unequal people." If a company wants to integrate disadvantaged citizens, it must promote equal opportunities. The new racism has developed a new ideology of formalism, the principle of equality before the law with equality, to be equal: the equality of in the Palace-Born with those who come from huts. In Bulgaria and Romania it came to absurd claims against the state - as a result of discrimination of the majority by political measures against the discrimination of the Roma minority.

The global anti-racist solidarity after the violent death of George Floyd should signal to the Balkan States that a time bomb is ticking. Racism undermines the Cohesion, especially in countries that have not completed their nation-building, really. Not for nothing it came out in the past years in the Balkans, often because of trifles to outbreaks of violence.

racism marginalized South-Eastern Europe but also in the global world, by promoting already in the Region of widespread prejudice against foreign workers, investors, experts and even tourists. Anyone who claims that the Balkans have, in contrast to the West's colonial past and, therefore, not a racism problem, stick your head in the Sand: racism to negate the Balkans of fire is dangerous. It needs to be discussed what to do about it.

Ivaylo Ditchev is Professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Sofia in Bulgaria. He has taught in Germany, France and the USA.

author: Ivaylo Ditchev

*The article "My Europe, from the Balkans, the victims are released - not George Floyd" is from Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 12 June 2020, 20:26

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