‘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
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.
* * *
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…
* * *
Julia 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.
* * *
Kalin Nenov –
Visions of the “PLACE FOR FUTURE” project
At first I had written something dry and boring, which did not add anything significant to this.
Now I am going to say only a few sentences, but with my living voiceJ:
By “PLACE FOR FUTURE” I dream of two things:
~To repay the nature, Earth, living environment, Gaia – choose whichever name you like most – at least a little bit of everything it gives me every day, unconditionally. Air, light, food, beauty… (…if you are interested in more )
~And to do it together with other people, who dream in similar directions – in order not to give up facing the illusion I am alone.
* * *
Arch. Martin Mikush
Total freezing of the central parts of the city, liberal urban outskirts, high-tech global modal transport- all of them in inviolable nature.
I believe this vision is feasible! It’s a matter of will and considered decision which scenario of progress to choose. I would leave the apocalyptic pictures to the literacy practices. The time for experiments with our common home is over. What is left is to look at the bottom of the one. At the bottom of life: To be together in our dreams, to keep moving, but carefully.
Peace and Prosperity!
It was in the summer of 2007: a hot, very hot summer, as well for the weather, as for the emotions of the young, protesting people, in the streets, defending the nature, our nature, Bulgarian nature, of which all of us are so proud, but hurried in everyday works, we have forgotten about its uniqueness.
Probably most of the spectators on the sidewalks and in the cars were very interested in what these young people wanted. For protests for higher wages or pensions, were common events, but these young people wanted something else: to have a future, and an opportunity to ensure their children at least with what they had had- a sip of fresh air, clean mountain water, and places, that can take your breath away…
Then, in the heat of the big city, on a meeting for a mug of beer, came the idea for the project “PLACE FOR FUTURE”. Tired of all the things happening around us, the total neglecting of laws, and the way we rapidly lose our unique nature, Petar and Radi were looking for followers, together with whom to realize the idea of “PLACE FOR FUTURE”.
For me, the idea was clear and absolutely timely. Only a few years earlier, in the beginning of the millennium, the problems were much less, but the people working in the sphere of environment protection also were a few dozens. I can definitely say that things are much different now.
Today there is a new generation of people. People, who realize that a lot of things depend on them, that they can change their future, and that a false step today, would surely lead to difficulties tomorrow. We rely exactly on people like these, people with public-spirited conscience, people with ideas, responsible to the up-coming generations, people who have realized where humanity goes, and the fatal consequences we can come to, if we do not take measures, NOW AND IMMEDIATELY.
My personal view coincide the whole conception of the project. The aim of PLACE FOR FUTURE is to unite the liberty-loving people, with “unaffected souls”, who have a vision of the important things in our existence, and in the same time to help each other. There are a lot of these people in the university circles, and this is why the main field of activity is right there. These young active people are tomorrow’s heralds of the idea of the new modern future.
PLACE FOR FUTURE is a project, which aims to unite and help all these active students and citizens, who, in certain moments, have been misunderstood by their colleagues, friends, and relatives. PLACE FOR FUTURE is just the field of activity and enriching ourselves with others’ ideas.
PLACE FOR FUTURE has one main aim – to create a premise for a better future, with many happy people and less problems.
Shtastlivetsa Civic Association
The name Shtastlivetza (’The Happy One’ in Bulgarian) largely expresses the values uniting the association. It combines the byname of our most famous citizen and environmentalist – the great democrat and life-affirming writer Aleko Konstantinov; the most popular region in the Vitosha mountain; and happiness: the state of mind that one enters when participating in the public processes actively and with a pure heart.
The association strives for creating interconnections between people with common values and fostering a wide public debate on the major issues connected to our natural living environment.
So far Shtastlivetza has initiated and participated in a variety of events – public discussions, press conferences, media appearances, meetings with institution representatives, rallies, petitions, debates, lectures, happenings and performances, exhibitions, workshops…
* * *
* * *
We invite you to join our campaign
PLACE FOR FUTURE
The Place for Future campaign evolved as a continuation of the eponymous project, which was carried out with the financial assistance of the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe, CEE Trust.