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…
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…
* * *