Monthly Archives: November 2013

Radosveta Krastanova: My Place for a Future

Radosveta Krastanova:

I commonly argue with friends, students, and colleagues about the sense of being active in Bulgaria. The conversation – emotional, skeptical or radiating touching indulgence from my interlocutor’s side – unalterably comes to one point –

We, the Bulgarian, are good-for-nothing people, the most aggrieved on the Balkans, , our country is the most unorganized of all possible, our nature – the worst protected, the roads- full of pot-holes, our infrastructure and culture – beneath criticism, the education – antediluvian, the politicians – the most unconcerned and corrupted and so on and so forth.

Our compatriots are ignorant, rough-mannered, stuck in chalga-pop folk music; furthermore lacking initiative, unmotivated, and incompetent.

However, not long ago I had a similar conversation with two of my students. They were complaining against the ignorance in Bulgaria and just like Aleko, were asking themselves “Switzerland or…?” When I asked them if they were not a piece of the same picture, they started a heated argument – their parents were different, they had chance upon relatives, teachers, friends, they were born in good social environment, they had genetically set talents. I asked them if their negative observations concern me. “In no way. How could you even think of it?” My parents? – Obviously no – being my parents they have, to a great extent, formed me, to be the person I am now. I started to extend the range of suspects – named other colleagues, lecturers, my students’ relatives – here the answer was all the same: “We are not talking about these people; they are from those OTHER people… You know what we are talking about, don’t pretend you do not understand.”

It turns out that when it comes to being concrete, the conversation sinks in schizophrenia – those conclusions refer to the OTHERS, but not for me, my parents, and my friends.

And it is so because…

The Bulgarian as an individual is a measure of intelligence, resourcefulness and adaptability, of success and flexibility, but only when they are in another, well organized, standardized and cultivated environment…

The conclusion goes without saying – I am capable and gifted, the problem is either in the system, or in the OTHERS. The way to escape is to run. Run out- abroad, or run in – in ourselves, in the more and more limited circle of friends.

Our dreams reach the same – we dream how to escape from the reality in Bulgaria, not how to make it better. Because the way to live better in Bulgaria is to work together with the OTHERS, and to work with them we must have our own, but common project for future…

MEANWHILE…

A Bulgarian man from Sliven, chairman a of a local association, succeeded to prove expertly, that the water in the sewerage of the city is not suitable for drinking, because it is rusty, and for this reason unusable, and to go to law against the respective ВИК for discrimination against the population.

A few young people in love with the magic of Irakli, succeeded materials at hand, a lot of enthusiasm and twenty-four-hour dogged work (мостmost of the people hardly even realize the last of these things) to make the region a legend, their actions – a national movement, and the campaign “Save Irakli” – one of the few bright and significant symbols of the civil activity in Bulgaria.

A little civil association from a little settlement nearby Sofia, succeeded through a referendum to announce that it objects to go on living near a radioactive dung-hill.

A few organizations, associations, groups, and just citizens got over their differences, joined their efforts and created the coalition For the Nature

There are even more examples. What is nice, is that they are much more that we can even imagine. What is bad is that these people fairly know each other and this makes them weak and vulnerable. They miss a tribune, a meeting place, a room to share their experience, to talk about their problems and successes, to pass their message.

We decided PLACE FOR PUTURE to be this place. A place where students, lecturers, experts, lovers of nature, or just people with bright, active position, could meet each other. A place where good examples become visible. A place where, everyone, who is interested, can find information, learn something and pass it to the others, that way expanding the network of aware and active people.

We plan this place to settle in the university area, and to become a centre of information, discussions, debates, a tribune for the good practices, which medias hardly, rarely and tendentiously do (not) reflect. PLACE FOR FUTURE already finds its place in the educational programs of the departments, faculties, universities.

PLACE FOR FUTURE is a community of joint people, for whom the professional competency complements the civil expression, and the civil position creates bright personalities.

Our aim is to show, that among us there are people, living in the present, but creating future by their actions. People, who do not wait for the Good to come, but are happy with the timely, even small, actions. This way we will demonstrate that public society and civil activity in Bulgaria are not only a good wish, something living in politicos’ fantasies, but a real state.

We wish to make the island of public community a significant archipelago.

And my personal wish is to convince my students and colleagues to join this project, in order to extend its message and pass it like a baton…

There is an idea of succession, stability, development…

There is an idea of Future…

* * *

  • The Green Movement and the Green Parties in Bulgaria: Between System Integration and System Change

Petar Kanev – A Place for the Future? or Despite the Slops

‘The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were!’

John F. Kennedy

Petar Kanev

PLACE WITHOUT FUTURE?

I don’t know how to name, what happens with everything alive- souls, people, animals, nature- nowadays, here in Bulgaria, especially on the Black Sea coast. Chalga-Pop folk music, kitsch, ignorance, criminality, corruption – these words are weak, trite and insufficient to describe the disgusting reality we are sinking in. I think the most accurate metaphor is slops.

The slops gradually flood everything and everyone – words, people, Medias, towns, seas, and mountains. The least we can do is to state freely and clearly, that we do not want it! And this won’t be a little act, if we do it all the possible ways, by all the possible means – however and whenever everyone can, but what is most important – uninterruptedly and constantly, really all of us. I will start with a small act against the slops – something inmost. It is also a dedication to all the people, who made something despite the despair, the misery, the tiredness, the personal obligations, and the problems, and despite the slops.I wrote this text in the heat of the campaign „Save Irakli” in summer 2006. Since then my pessimism and despair become paler with every little thing against the slops, I do daily. This is the result, when someone makes something little every day, and in the little things originates a community of people, a common spirit, a common mood, a moving from one place to another…

PLACE FOR FUTURE

Not a dream, not a project, not a Utopia. A real existing place, where a lot of little revolutions happen… They start inside you, inside your head, inside your body, and your mind – and they come outside you, for example, because you are not alone, and ferry from one to another like a chain reaction, like the energy through the neurons.

When, a few years ago, the coincidence of circumstances throw me in a concrete problem, several consecutive lightening flashed across my mind:

It is not possible a nightmare like this to happen!

It is not possible such dedicated, worthy people to exist nowadays! Why I haven’t heard of them?

It is impossible these people to be so many! I have never imagined they exist, and they have been around us all the time! They are not seen in the Medias, nobody knows about them, who could imagine there exists a civil movement in our country?

How will I look upon myself, if I do not support these people somehow?

We are not alone!

Oh, what can happen! There is a magic, a good sorcery, the wonder is with us!

This movement is like the life, once entered it, the only way back is a suicide…

In a few years the PLACE FOR FUTURE sprouted and grew up. It needs a lot of cares, and we will probably not see the product of it. The care of it- this is the gift we get. And we need the place for future, because it can happen even on a place without future. And if the solidarity, active civil position, social connection among people are still a forgotten memory from the distant past for us, I think this can change, as we start from the beginning like pioneers, today- not tomorrow, here- not anywhere else. A lot of little daily examples, sustainable and constant, create the real communities of people, society, culture, politics, and development. Do they still make sense? Only they make sense. The sense of the mantra of sustainable development.

Everything started from the emotions and in their shock new horizons gradually spread out – the necessity of more common sense, more awareness, and more light. And the place where this can happen is the place where people learn and develop. A place where future sprouts is the education. What will this future be depends on each of us.

We often hear that every effort is useless, except from the effort to regularize your own life at the expense of the others, that there are no common values, but only objective occurrences. One common value however is inside us – the preservation of life. To defeat life means to be dead.

I am happy we have succeeded so far, and I can repeat my one-time words.

I dedicate this project to all the people, who made something despite the despair, the misery, the tiredness, the personal obligations, and the problems, and despite the slops.

   * * *

SEE ALSO:

D-r Petar Kanev – Models of Interaction between Ethno-Religious Communities in Central and South-East Rhodope Mountains (Bulgaria)

Dr. Petar Kanev – The Global Criminalization as a Local Problem

Gergana Kosturkova

Gergana Kosturkova – intern, coordinator for Sofia University and University Club for Ecology and Sustainable Development UNECO

Occupation: student at Sofia University, doing BA in International Relations

Civic activity

: active member of UNECO; member of the Board of the Managers of Association “AMIGO” – Active Youth Initiatives for Civil Society; volunteer-mentor at Association “Volunteers Bulgaria”

Academic qualifications: BA in Cultural Studies at Sofia University

Two words: care, smile

Contact: gergana.kosturkova in gmail.com

Kalin Nenov

Kalin Nenov – coordinator of the virtual campaign of Place for Future, translator, editor

Civic activity

: core member of the Human Library Foundation, creator and coordinator of MREDJAN (a civic action network), participant in “Ecological and practical” (a Bulgarian educational website)

Civic experience: volunteer in Green Balkans, For the Earth (Za Zemiata), For the Nature; participant in over 500 international environmental electronic campaigns; “specializes” in forest protection, climate change, and the role of personal choices

Occupation: translator, student

Academic qualifications: BA in English Language and Culture at NBU; currently doing a Master’s degree in Translation, again at NBU – European masters in translation also there.

Professional and non-professional experience:

here (in Bulgarian only)

Two words: connect, holism

Contact: kalin.nenov in gmail.com

МиниизображениеKalin NENOV (NBU, Shtastlivetsa)

The Human Library – Alternative Culture and Society of XXI Century 

lecture at the Traveling university and Summer school for sustainable regional development ‘Place for Future: Chiprovtsi 2013′ 3-9 June 2013 Chiprovtsi, Bulgaria

Yuliana Naskova – A Vission for Place for Future

 

Yulia Naskova’s vision

I wish our project, which definitely is pilot and innovative as a spirit and conception, to become a stable center of ideas, strategies, plans, places, and people, and mainly to help the stable development in places, which are already affected or are going to be affected by Bulgarian greed for short-term profits. By the proper people, and events, and purposive synergy to present the project and to draw as many as possible concerned people in it. To make other people take interest, to make them consider and plan their own life in another way, starting to account and counteract the factors pollution, noise, ugly, unsystematic, uncomfortable housing development, and pulling down. To start thinking and practically acting for the sustainable development in their home, neighborhood, town, country… To clear the environment protection and the green idea from the collected clichés, and the exhaustion of the inaction of institutions, with impudent, unscrupulous leaders in their head, and to infuse new ideas and strategies for the work with people and reaction against Bulgarian brains and criminal carelessness. I imagine, that the people, involved in this project, will have created AN IDEA, much as active citizens, responsible for their and the next generations’ life and progress.

I wish our target group to start realizing, for example, that the Black Sea coast belongs to every Bulgarian, it is unique, and it is only a part of the unique places in our country. The stable and normal progress of the Black Sea coast is a benefit of every Bulgarian, not only during their holiday. This applies to every other part of the nature in Bulgaria.

I wish the result of this project, after a year, to be a network of students, aiming sustainable development of the environment and the protection of nature. We will call them THINK TANK. And, after the project, they will start to plan their life according to the principles of the sustainable development, and to work in universities, awakening their colleagues and lecturers. They will start working in the local society, in their neighborhood, among their relatives, acquaintances, friends. They will pass their experience to a wide range of people, take part in other events, and initiate events by themselves.

In my view, in the project we should stake on the provocation, the challenge, the personal example, the non-traditional presentation of ideas and conceptions, and the individual approach. Apart from the ordinary, conventional presentations, meetings, discussions and round-table discussions, to provoke our target group with something, which after being visually presented to them, make them think the whole day…

The main idea of PLACE FOR FUTURE is TRAINING, INFORMATIONAL, EDUCATIONAL.

But I wish this project TO BE REMEMBERED AND USED as a successful, working model.

* * *

What are we going to do?

Place for Future is an opportunity to combine new and different approaches, enjoyment and care for the environment with education, meeting new people, organizing workshops, open-air concerts, seminars, discussions, round tables, and informal learning from the personal example set by the members of the project.

We were brought together by our caring for the future of our favourite spots, in nature and the city alike.

Be one of us!

Who are we?

Сдружение Щастливеца в Чипровци през юни 2013

***

Young and committed, responsible and cheerful, ambitious and daring – an inspired team of friends and like-minded folks, still learning from one another and enjoying our work – because we plan, reflect, party, participate, create, give our best, offer solutions for the type of development that does have a future.

Who else takes part?

Our partners are For the Nature Coalition of non-governmental and civil organizations, New Bulgarian University, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, and…

you.

You are the future. You are concerned about the fate of Irakli, Sinemorets, the Knyazhevo Woods, Strandja and all the other heavenly, still virginal places around Bulgaria… and not only.

You sympathize with those citizens who not only protect Bulgarian nature and cultural heritage, but also set an example of honourable human and civil conduct.

You are an inquiring, seeking and active person, interested in the world around and helping change it for the better.

You believe it’s important to know your civil rights and learn how to uphold them.

You understand the benefits of civil activity and wish to get involved with a project, idea or event of your own.

You wish to find out more about the people who struggle to help the Rhodope Mountains, Vitosha, the Russian Church in Sofia, the Bulgaria Grand Hotel survive… Who organize tourism that fits in with the environment. Who stand up for their rights not just for themselves, but for the whole of their community. Who offer sustainable ways of development. Who are not afraid to be different, because their difference builds upon principles and values. Who see a point in being concerned about their fellow beings and draw satisfaction from deeds whose fruits will be gathered by the generations after them.

Who are invisible today – but shall be talked about tomorrow. Who think and act now, so that we human beings will be around also in the future.

You are a student, lecturer, university administrator…

You’re familiar with interesting and active people and initiatives which may enrich our understanding of the social world.

You have professional and civil experience that you’d like to share with colleagues and new friends.

You have ideas that you want to see come true: make a movie or clip, write an essay or article, plan and conduct a survey, organize a meeting or debate…

You wish to find others like you.

Look for us here (http://placeforfuture.org) or email us at place.for.future -at- gmail.com!