Monday, November 24, 2008


This blog will not any longer be dedicated to roma people in Italy, a topic that didn't prove as pregnant as I hoped. But for sure the Roma question will come up again.

Roma are not the only ethnical minority in South Eastern Europe. The Bulgarian newspaper 19' this morning reported that Sofia has its own immigrant ghettos.

It's a new phenomenon, since geographical segregation is rather non exitstent in post communist cities. I have some roma living in the same house as me. They don't share my chances, but we share the panel-house problems. At least that's something.

Now, however, it proves that some areas in Sofia - Svoboda and Novi Iskar have became the homes for immigrants from Vietnam (many Vietnamese lived in Sofia already before 1989), China and the Middle East. According to 19', they chose to live in Sofia in stead of Western Europe because life is cheaper here, and work in places like Kebab-shacks, "which we have in almost every corner of Sofia's streets, and almost always are ran by arabs".

Bulgarian neighbours from these areas reported that they met chinese people in mini taxis and food stores, and the article proudly stated that like every european capital, Sofia now have ghettos for immigrants.

No, there was no outright racism. But it was not curiosity either. I couldn't finish the article without a very bad taste of the lowest kind of popularism in my mouth... Maybe because of the clumsy use of the word "Ghetto". Maybe because the article somehow signalized that Bulgaria is for Bulgarians and not chinese, vietnamese or arabs...

That's a pretty strong statement, given that more than 580 000 Bulgarians that live abroad. I can't believe that the reporter who wrote this doesn't know anyone who went abroad in search of better oppurtunities. Shouldn't that create some sentiment of solidarity with immigrants?

At some time in history we need to come to terms with the fact that immigration is natural, and a phenomenon as old as humanity. I am the decendant of finnish immigrants in Sweden. At a point in the history leading through me, some ancestors faced the choice to become Americans or Australians. Chance adn circumstances made them stay in Sweden and I was born there. Now I live in Bulgaria. Sweden has had a very, very calm history, with much less forced movements of people than other countries. Yet we are all immigrants.

This is a matter abovce all about ress responsibility. People, including me or anyone, are very volatile, and could vote for anyone, say anything, do anything at a given moment, only to change our minds next day. A society can not be that volatile. That's why we need the press, not to tell us what to do, but to find the facts and ask the questions that make us think again.

As a newspaper, the more readers you have, the bigger is your responsibility. 19' is distributed for free, and is probably the most read Bulgarian newspaper. A responsibilitiy they failed blatantly to take today, 24/11 2008. I do hope they come up with something better tomorrow.

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