N O W ,    L O O K    H E R E !


          Chris MYRSKI,     Sofia, Bulgaria,    2001 ...

           — — — — —

     There is no idea about the cover, because in this book are gathered great variety of different journalistic materials, it is not a work of fiction, and such books are usually not illustrated.


     [ Remark: As far as the book is enormously big it is published here, by old habit, in small booklets amounting to about 50 (to 100) KB, containing normally from three to five papers. Here we continue the Section "For Newspapers" with the next portion of four materials. ]

           — — — — —


     I. For Journals
     II. For Newspapers
     III. Feuilletons
     IV. Others

           — — — — —

           Contents Of Section "For Newspapers"

     The truth about Bulgaria
     About the market and the Bulgarian
     Five years of devastation
     Do you want to lose your 13th pension?
     Time to draw conclusions
     About the elections and the demos

     Requiem for one coalition
     Something more about democracy
     What we have messed with the Currency Board
     Convergence, what is this?
     Why the communism has fallen down?

     And where are we?
     Predictions for the year 1999
     Can the Bulgarian pay 50% taxes?
     Reflections on the eve of the "holiday"

     About democracy and melioration
     About democratic phenomenon
     A step forward and two back
     Again sharp turn

     Oh God, what we eat!
     Why the cocks crow early morning?
     Does global warming exist?

     The fatal 2013 year in Bulgaria
     Why we vote, when we ... don't vote?
     About the fascism from common sense positions

     About the Social Ministry in Bulgaria
     How to improve democratic protests?

     Read Chris Myrski (in the sense of political reviews)
     Thoughts about Ukraine

     ... new for newspapers

           — — — — —

          AND WHERE ARE WE?*
          (mirthless comparison)

     [ * It was published retold version on page 7 of the newspaper "Kontinent" from 20 Jan 1999 without the table at the end, as also without the graphs, which we shall allow ourselves here also to skip. ]

     When one takes part in some race (and what is life if not a race for the best place under the sun?) is befitting from time to time to look around, in order to see how he is moving amongst the others. Unless one is at the tail and there's no sense to turn because, anyway, all the others are before him (or her). In this aspect we are significantly relieved because we pretend for the outsider place between the ex-communist countries. But because some of you may doubt in this let us look directly at the facts.
     Very suitable for this purpose is the Western journal Business Central Europe (BCE), on the last pages of which each month are published some statistical materials about 12 such countries. Not going into profound economic analyses we shall give here some of the most important characteristics, namely: the gross domestic product (GDP), the unemployment level, the average working salary, and the foreign debt. In the shaded cells of Table 1. [here marked with "*"] the cited data is according to the mentioned journal, while the white cells are computed based on this data. This information, surely, is based on national sources, so that we have the right to question them sometimes, especially what regards Bulgaria, because it is widely known that we are right "jugglers" in the fitting of calculations.
     And so

     let us begin with the gross domestic product

(or, as we called it earlier, gross national product). The common data for each country must be maximally correct, for the reason that it lies at the bottom of all calculations and plans on national level, but in order to be in position to compare countries with different number of population we must use some measure per capita of the nation. On the Graph 1.** is shown the ranging of all countries on the GDP per capita, only that here is meant the occupied with labour population (what, though, is not explicitly said), because it is this part of the population that generates the gross product. According to the graph it turns out that we are not entirely at the end, where Latvia is a little worse than us, and we are staying even quite near to Lithuania, Romania, and Russia.

     [ ** Don't look for it, as said, there are no graphs given here. ]

     It is, though, very doubtful that there can exist some country which is worse than us (even with 10 percents), so that let us compute now one different GDP per capita of all population of the countries. They don't use such characteristic on the West, because it is not much indicative for the economy of the countries, but then it is quite indicative for the living standard, and, besides, it can hardly be "fitted" to the needs. This is shown on Graph 2., where is seen that we are not only worse than all others, but also the differences between us and the nearest to us countries are pretty big, and even

     we are three times worse than the average,

to say nothing about the best countries. Then, convinced that there is something "rotten" in the Table 1., let us take the trouble to check how this data was got. When the GDP on capita is received dividing the national GDP by the employed population (or at least that is how the figures on the third line of Table 1. have to have been calculated), then let us now do the reversed — let us divide the whole GDP by that on capita of employed population, what will give us exactly the working population in different countries. This is done on line 5 of the table, and on the sixth is given the percentage of occupied with work population (of the whole) for all countries. These results are shown on Graph 3., where is seen that if the data for GDP on head of the employed population is correct then

     we stay again in the end regarding the working employment.

     This graph is especially indicative because employment less than 1/3 of the whole population is directly tragical. This can not be explained with the official unemployment level, because with our 10.8% of it we stay very near to the average level of 9.8% for the region. Besides, the record high level of 17% is that of Croatia, and after it stay Slovenia and Slovakia, but they are between the first according to Graph 1. (and also Graph 2.). The only explanation is that we have used "another method", such that would have compromised us less (for it is clear that the data is taken from national sources). Only that they show us in even worse light, because when the things are very bad however one twists them they always look bad. And, moreover, we alone contradict ourselves, because in statistical reference books we give approximately 3,2 mln people working population for 1997, what is with 21% more that the received on the basis of GDP per capita employed people. These about 20 percents are exactly as much as needed to put us also in Graph 1. at the very end with 3,100 - 3,200 US$. But this, still, does not mean that the employed population in Bulgaria is enough, for the reason that the real unemployment by us widely exceeds this about 10 percents, and in totalitarian years the working population was somewhere about four millions. The average for the region of 56.7% is one really average number, at which we must aim***.

     [ *** Here, most probably, exist some misunderstanding also in the journal BCЕ because later (maybe after my letter to them) for the GDP per capita they have begun to write ppp (purchasing power parity), what means that everything is recalculated in purchasing power, but this does not change the things substantially, because we, in any event, are at the end by all indicators. And in regard of the unemployment level, then the author is unemployed for a dozen of years now but stays in no lists because receives not a cent, otherwise he must go to sign each month for no reason. This is not at all the single case and a lot of IE (individual entrepreneurs) are nearly unemployed, but are contented with incomes several times less than earlier. ]

     Let us now see where are we in comparison with the developed European countries, like Germany, France, Italy, England, and others, in regard of the GDP on employed population. Again in this journal but in another number is cited that Slovenia and Czech Republic for 1997 have reached 63% of the average for the Western European countries, what means that this average level must be about 18,000 US$ per capita of the employed population (the numbers vary a little for different periods). If we compare this number with the corrected and more real for us 3,100 US$ it turns out that we are five to six times worse. And now let us look when we will catch up with them?
     If our GDP grows each year with five percents, what is consistent with the official, our and foreign, forecasts (although this is now only in the sphere of good intentions because for 1997 it has fallen with nearly 5%), and apply the formula for compound interest, then we will get that this will happen somewhere after 35 years. Yeah, but this is as if to make your bill without "the innkeeper", because during this time the other countries will not stay on one and the same place. One real forecast of a person born and living in our country is that this may as well occur till the end of twenty first century, but this is not obligatory! Well, in his time our Georgi Dimitrov has succeeded to pacify us with the slogan, that we shall reach for 10-20 years this, what other countries have done for centuries, and the only thing that we have succeeded to reach was the level of Russia and Romania, but now we are worse than them! Surely today also will be found such politicians because, although for the economy there are many problems, for the politics and the politicians there is nothing impossible.
     Let us now take in focus

     the average monthly salary.

     The ordering of the countries here (given on Graph 4.) shows that we are

     three times worse than the average for the region

and 8-9 times worse than the best, to say nothing about the "normal" Western countries where the amount of "times" becomes from 20 to 30. And this tragic situation is worsen even more due to the fact that our minimal salary is only one third of the average, or a dollar a day. By the existing now taxation laws if one receives the average salary he pays about 15% taxes on the whole amount, while in totalitarian years this number was around and a bit less than 10% of the then average salary. Today a significant part of the population lives at the expense of foreign help, while nobody helped us before and we still lived good.
     It has remained only to speak about the ranging of the countries in regard of their

     foreign debt.

It is accepted that it was computed as percentage of gross domestic product, because it is paid via it. This relationship is shown on Graph 5., where we are again at the tail with our 87%, what is two and a half times worse than the average. It is interesting to see this debt also as number of average working salaries of the employed population (on Graph 6.), only that there we are

     nearly four times worse than the average.

     If we take for granted that our working population will increase with 20%, as we have spoken above, then our debt will take only 25,5 working salaries, or thrice worse than the average. The things are really tragical, but what is important is that we should not throw all the guilt so much at our totalitarian legacy, as at out botched transitional period! And really, shortly before the November coup of 1989 our foreign debt was nearly 8 mlrd US$, what by 4 mlrd working people has given roughly by 2,000 US$ on a worker. Yeah, but then the average working salary was about 350 to 400 levs, but they can freely be taken for dollars, because such was the purchasing power of the lev, so that our debt was approximately 5, at the worst 6, average salaries, or even less than the average debt for the region now (8.6 salaries)! As the folks say: what one (and here read state) alone does oneself — nobody can do to him! Or also: if somebody has little brains than his back has to be stronger!
     From all this said, however, should not follow that we are now in the very worst position from all ex-communist countries, for the simple reason that in these statistics is not included one highly important (for us) country — Albania. It is not included in the review of the journal in question because it is unquestionably accepted for the poorest European country. If we include it too, then we will not be at the end, what can serve us as consolation. And if we add also Bangladesh there will be two countries behind us. Eventually we can think also about Rwanda. The important thing is not to fall in desperation and to believe in the democracy. If not after 30 years, then after half a century or even a whole one we will enter the European Community. It is true that at least two generations will be lost, but then: what are a pair of generations compared with the eternity?

     Dec 1998

     P.S. Well, we have entered in the European Community, but otherwise we have directly "blossomed and brought fruit". All these 10 years old comparisons remain valid (with small shifting to some average level). In other words, we have settled us, as we have long ago formulated this, in the "basement of European House".

* Population (mln) 1 8.4 1.5 2.5 3.7 38.6
* Gross domestic product (mlrd US$) 2 10.2 4.5 5.4 9.0 135.8
* Gross domestic product per capita of the employed population (US$) 3 3,860 4,444 3,421 4,255 6,406
Gross domestic product per capita of the whole population (US$) 4 1,214 3,000 2,160 2,432 3,518
Employed population (mln) 5 2.642 1.013 1.578 2.115 21.199
Percent of the employed population 6 31.5 67.5 63.1 57.2 54.9
* Unemployment in percents 7 10.8 3.3 7.6 5.6 9.7
* Average monthly salary (US$) 8 109.0 296.6 222.4 227.8 373.0
* Total foreign debt (mlrd US$) 9 8.9 0.4 0.4 1.5 38.0
Foreign debt as percent of the gross domestic product 10 87.3 8.9 7.4 16.7 28.0
Foreign debt per capita of the employed population (US$) 11 3,368 395 253 709 1,793
Foreign debt as number of average salaries of the employed population 12 30.9 1.3 1.1 3.1 4.8


* 1 22.7 148.2 5.4 2.0 10.2 4.8 10.3  
* 2 34.8 462.5 19.5 17.5 44.9 19.3 52.9  
* 3 4,356 4,378 8,585 11,724 7,318 5,108 11,566 6,285
4 1,533 3,121 3,611 8,750 4,402 4,021 5,136 3,575
5 7.989 105.642 2.271 1.493 6.136 3.778 4.574  
6 35.2 71.3 42.1 74.6 60.2 78.7 44.4 56.7
* 7 8.7 11.4 13.8 14.2 8.9 17.0 6.8 9.8
* 8 149.0 160.0 309.0 936.0 293.2 644.0 384.0 342.0
* 9 8.1 120.0 11.9 4.3 23.3 6.8 21.9  
10 23.3 25.9 61.0 24.6 51.9 35.2 41.4 34.3
11 1,014 1,136 5,239 2,881 3,798 1,800 4,788  
12 6.8 7.1 17.0 3.1 13.0 2.8 12.5 8.6


      — — —

          (or what one can expect in Bulgaria from common sense positions)

     [ * It is published slightly shortened on page 8 of the newspaper "Kontinent" from 12 Jan 1999. ]

     Also in the next year

     we will continue to remain poor,

what means that the poor will become even more poor and the wealthy — more wealthy, because such is the tendency in each normal capitalist society, for the reason that it is so in the free world, as also in the nature, the big sharks eat up the small fishes! This is a natural tendency which does not at all upset people in the Western countries, and you can hear it also by CNN, but with a smile and slight irony. If in Bulgaria this does not cause smile this is so only because we are not enough wealthy yet. This isn't, though, result of the communist ancestry, but is consequence of a whole complex of natural and economic conditions in the country, as also of our low organization as a nation, because we are not the only ex-communist country, and have sufficient basis for comparison with the others.
     But together with this unavoidable impoverishment will happen also the opposite tendency of

     increasing of living minimum of the population

and improving of social acquisitions, or strengthening of the socialization of society. There are chances that our minimal salary will at last reach at least 40 US$ till the end of the next year (all the more if the dollar happens to fall down a bit more). This tendency of increasing of lower level of poverty is inherent not only to the communist ruling, but as well also to each developed capitalist country, and it is not expression of some special cares of the wealthy for the poorer, but of necessary amount of common sense, to ensure crisis-free development (i.e. enrichment of the already reach!). It is high time that the Bulgarian has grasped these two opposites and has ceased to ascribe them only to the political powers. And really, as the right-wing can have their social platform, so also the left-wing can take measures for development of the large scale business, because there can't exist capitalism without capitals, or without their concentration in the hands of some minority. The capitalism is a game of compromises, and the democracy offers good opportunities for their achieving.
     Our politicians, for their part, will continue to lead their

     partial or prejudiced line of ruling

(because the word "party" comes from the root "part"), and, when so, will be again wide away from the right decision, due to the fact that the democratic ruling is based on the lack of best party (for, if such party existed, then all further discussions and elections would have remained obsolete, what was exactly the concept of totalitarianism)! Slowly and with difficulties our people begin to understand this, so that it is hardly possible that in the next year we will have early elections, though not because under the current ruling we have "blossomed and brought fruit", but because is necessary to slow down the speed of changes, if we want that remained some time also for development!
     In the next year, too,

     the prices of basic foodstuff will remain low,

because our people, who actually establish the prices in a market economy, are poor enough to be able to pay more. In this situation these prices will remain somewhere twice lower than in the Western countries, and one and a half times less than in other ex-communist countries (if we do not count Romania and Albania, with which only we can compare us). Despite the record low retail prices for the region we don't succeed to attract the necessary inflow of tourists, although the relationship here is rather in the reversed direction, i.e. our prices are so low because we have not a big influx of tourists and in the moment we are even more isolated from the world than in the totalitarian years.
     Together with this, however, the industrial goods and especially

     the communal expenses will grow faster**,

     [ ** And in 2008 they still continue to raise, where in the previous and in this year they are restrained only by the following nearly two times increase of prices of some basic foodstuffs, due to our inclusion in the European Union (what is the next shocking therapy for us, because there is no other way to show influence over us, if not with shocks). ]

because, no matter of the spread between people view to this, they are significantly lower than necessary. Reason for such assertion gives us, of course, the comparison with the West, or else with the situation in Bulgaria before the November coup. Every comparisons of the prices with the salaries are ungrounded, because only our market is open to the world, while the labour force market is still limited in our state borders (if we do not take into account some 5-6% lucky guys and girls working abroad). Our market will not become saturated, and good regulator of production, until the prices will not set somewhere around their cost price, so that in the next year will again exist some anomalies, or speculatively raised or lowered (say, of intellectual work) prices. In regard of communal expenses and transport they must jump up at least twice in the next year, regardless of whether we like this or not.
     There, if one gives some thought to the matter, will turn out that the only gain from the Currency board was in this to appoint ourselves foreign bosses, when we did not want to trust our own. So now in Bulgaria not only the salaries are low, but the bank interest is roughly five times less than the level of inflation, and in spite of this we are more quiet than earlier and don't strike. Not that this should not be so, but this speaks about certain perversity of Bulgarian psyche, because we could have achieved all these effects alone, if we have proved to have some national accord.

     More precisely

can be expected that in the next year the pieces of sunflower oil and sugar will at last become equal, at approximately 1,300 - 1,400 lv, because it was so earlier in Bulgaria, and also now they are equal all around the world (roughly to one US$, but for our market this can be accepted to be 0.7 US$). The prices on white cheese will normalize when will be equalized the taxes on cow and sheep cheese and people begin to buy, like before, mainly the sheep one, what will lead to some decrease in the price of milk to about 300 lv (due to the lessening of its consumption in form of cow cheese and curd). Then can be expected that the cow white cheese will become 4,000, and the sheep one — 6,000 levs***. It is not excluded that to the end of the year will disappear our "democratic" practice instead of minced meat to sell nearly twice cheaper minced and painted entrails, and then the real mincemeat will become about 5,000 lv, and the chicken feet and heads, the duck "lanterns", and the bare bones will disappear from the market (and the menu of the Bulgarian). If not in this year, then in the beginning of the next century this will also be settled****.

     [ *** This, why the milk by us does not become cheaper, is not very clear to me, but in 2008 it at least entered in international "ruts", and the proportion: 1 l of cow milk to 1 kg sheep cheese became 1:5 (while on the West it is 1:7, and earlier by us it was 1:12 because of the subsidizing of the milk). ]

     [ **** It almost happened so before our entering in the European Union, but in 2008 we again "light" with these lanterns, and as to the mincemeat — there emerged such with addition of soya beans which are again cheaper. ]

     At the same time one should not think that in the next year the pepper, tomatoes, and onion will be sold in the season again by 200-300 levs, because who has planted this year such vegetables he will change them in the next to something else, say, to potatoes. So that the minimal predicted prices on onion and peppers are 400 lv, on tomatoes — at least 500, on potatoes — 250 levs. The desire of the Bulgarian always to deceive his neighbour will continue to return ricocheting back to him, until he learns to plant this, what grows better on his soil, to alternate it how it has to be done, and not to chase only after the profit.
     The passed first wave of privatization has shown that one share of 1,000 lv, which should have now, because of the inflation, have nominal of more than 10 thousands, has brought on the average 250 lv dividends, what means 2.5% annual profit, or twice less than the ridiculously low bank interest, so that there are no reasons for big "pressure" by next similar action. Besides, those funds, that were mostly advertised, they have brought the lowest dividends (about hundred levs per share), so that, maybe, the Bulgarian will draw some lesson for the next year — for example, that the commercial ads are much bigger manipulation than the former of the communists. Not that there is no sense to take part in the next privatization, but more clever, what means that not everything must be put in one place, where it will bring, supposedly, the biggest gain, but that the sums must be distributed in 3-4 portions in those industries where one feels necessity of development.
     What concerns personal medical insurance it seems that we will not succeed to solve this question till the end of the century, having in mind that it was necessary to solve first exactly it, and then to allow private and paid for health care, but there is nothing to be done: the dashing youth (political) can't wait! There will continue also the confusion with paid education, because the Bulgarian still can't grasp that in the most European countries a prevailing number of those receiving tertiary education (to say nothing about the secondary) do not pay for it in advance, i.e. it is how it was in Bulgaria before, and even there where it is paid, like in United States, then this is done not by the very students or their parents, but by different funds and enterprises and this in accordance with the results shown in entrance examinations or in the process of learning, not just so — want to study then pay for it. And if the people don't understand this there are no reasons to want that the politicians have understood it, because their function, above all, is to express the will of the masses.
     And still, little by little, the things better themselves, though not because of some merits of the present Government, but for the simple reason that at last we have "reached the bottom". Now there is nothing else left to us except to "hold the air" until we emerge on the surface.

     Dec 1998

      — — —


     [ * It is published on page 7 of the newspaper "Kontinent" from 04 Feb 1999 with slight corrections. Shortly after this the newspaper went bankrupt because — well, could something decent survive nowadays in Bulgaria? ]

     Our question is entirely justified because they are really so much, at least for the average Bulgarian with the average in the moment salary of roughly 110 US$ monthly, or 180,000 "democratic" levs. And that the taxes are in reality such we can convince ourselves by way of elementary calculations. Firstly, this average citizen receives for the month not clear 180 thousands but they subtract him about 16% income tax, or speaking in thousands, about 30 pieces. Then secondly, because with this money he has no chances to save something for the "bright democratic future", he succeeds almost instantly to spend them in the shops, where for every product he pays also 22% VAT (value added tax), what based on his salary makes 40 thousands**.

     [ ** Here exists some inaccuracy, because from his salary now have remained 150,000, so that we have cheated you with 7,000, but the calculations are made with such reserve that this does not change our conclusion. ]

     And thirdly here come the excises, which build another 60 - 70% of the price of excise goods, a thing that can be verified in our legislation, but we will be satisfied with one simple checking which comes from the commercial practice. Let us recall that 4-5 years ago, when there were no excises on these goods (and even worse if there were some then) a bottle of raki /vodka (0.7 l, sealed) was sold for nearly as much as costed one liter milk. Let us accept that a liter raki, vodka, or whatever other cheap mentè-forgery, costs as much as two liters milk (by retail prices), in order not to be accused in partiality. According with the contemporary prices, however, a liter raki costs at least 3,000 lv, while the cheapest milk (sufficiently diluted) costs 500 lv, from what follows that now we pay three times more, or that 2/3 of the price (i.e. 66%) go for excises. We will assume as basis 60%. The expenses of the average Bulgarian with his meager salary can be very modest, so that let us take that he buys only by a pack of cheaper cigarettes (about 500 lv) daily and one bottle of cheaper raki weekly (or 2,500 lv). In this way we get that the cigarettes make about 15 thousand and the drinks — 10 ths, or together 25,000, 60% from which give 15 thousand for excises. But because it is inhuman if the Bulgarian has not money for a bottle of beer (0.5 l) per day, then let us add also 30 of the cheapest (by 350 lv) bottles of beer, what gives another 10,000, but because the excises on beer are less we will add only the half of this or 5,000. Adding all this together we achieve: 30 + 40 + 15 + 5 = 90 ths democratic levs (which are not equal even to one totalitarian stotinka-cent), what is exactly the half of his salary of 180 ths levs. Well, this is the situation:

     half of the income — for the state!

     And mark that the author does not try to inflate the calculations, which in some other media could have been raised to 60 and even more percents, because here we observe the average salary, not some, say, 300 ths, where the deductions could have reached 60 ths (and they grow not linearly), neither speak about at least one bottle of branded alcohol (what gives another, say, 20 ths), not about imported cigarettes for 2 ths per pack. We do not add also the taxes for the car, because a person with income of only one average salary can not afford himself to drive a car, as it was before.
     More than this, the author does not intend to explain to you that such high taxes are not right (compared with the Church tenth from the Middle ages, for example), because there is not a developed country in the world where the personal deductions from the income were less than about 15 percent, by the same 20% VAT, but at the expense of this with significantly higher excises (for nowhere a pack of cigarettes is less than a dollar, neither a bottle of hard drink is less than 5-6 US$). Besides, the people there pay also their health insurance, which we have still not settled how it is in the majority of countries in the Western Europe and continue basically by the old socialistic pattern. Alas, the contemporary states are not like those of the Middle ages and with 10 - 20% taxes can't be supported the police and the army, and have decent health care, and education, and so on. Only that our state (again regretfully) has become worse than a medieval one, what is the other side of the coin.
     Looked otherwise these taxes are justified, where even for this year the table for income taxation is quite simplified, in comparison with previous years, and has only four lines. Though it is still not clear why the percents are given "for sums greater than" and not on the whole amount, in what, exactly, one is interested (unless it is by old totalitarian habit, to make something so complicated that one could become entangled in it). As it is it turns out that for the first 8 working days in the month, for example, the income is taxfree, then for the next 3 days it is taxed with 20%, then for the next 7 — with 26%, and further with 32%. But in broad lines the things are correct, only that they are not acceptable for our people, who have returned, thanks to our democratic transition, with half a century back in the time, for it has to be clear to everybody now that such low living standard we have had neither in the 80ies, nor in the 70ies, nor even in the 50ies. It might be that somewhere in the 45th - 46th the situation was very grave, but this was after a series of wars and devastations, while our "gentle revolution" of the 90ies turned out to be quite "brutal" in practice.
     Our people are now so sunk in poverty that they don't understand at all what is good and what is bad for them. The poverty is so strong a distortion in a given country that it confuses all normal relations in the society. If this has not been true then the ghost of communism (which has not at all disappeared from the world arena) would not have emerged in its time, nor would it have generated the humorous phrase, that the poverty is not a sin but a beastly thing. The not unknown Jean Bertrand Aristide has recently said: "we are moving from misery to poverty with dignity". The author does not know in what this movement is expressed, but if people start from misery then whatever movement for them is positive. Only that in Bulgaria happened exactly the opposite, i.e.

     we are moving now from poverty to misery, having lost every dignity!

     One can not speak about normal capitalist relations under condition that we are not a normal capitalist country! We were normal socialist country and the nations around the world have respected us and we have had no need of foreign merciful help. Now even with the foreign help we are living again worse! Our people are worried because of the future tax on bread and cow white cheese, for example, thinking that it has not to be introduced, while the truth is that there should not at all be made a difference between cow and sheep cheese. For people from the normal Western countries sounds like anecdote this, that if someone bakes bread and sells it he should not include in its price VAT, but if he makes cakes or patties then without this tax is forbidden. This is real anachronism, and the sooner we get rid of it the better, because it distorts the pricing.
     If there should have at all existed tax deductions then they should have affected all food stuffs, not only some of them. In the current situation arises the paradox that those, who have not money to buy decent food, pay also some part of the cost of luxurious products for those (not many) who have enough money to buy special piquant sausages and good meat (not minced entrails), where the producers (and traders) win most of all from the cheapest products. When the people are hungry then they must be fed, but not to put obstacles before the market economy. One decent coupon system would have been better then the current situation, and our masters from the Currency Board are right in their requirements.
     They are right, those people, in any case (but starting from their interests!), also when they want that we were selling everything what can be sold because otherwise we will not become better. It is our job that we also look after our own interests, not only at the politics! Nobody is guilty that we

     have chosen bad model of capitalism,

which might have been good for the West, even for Hungary, Czech republic, Poland, etc., but not for us. The competition is a good thing but when it can be achieved, only that by us there is practically no competition, because the popular masses look not for the best product (as it was, for example, under the totalitarianism), but for the cheapest. Trading mainly with European countries is also a good wish, but it will remain only a wish, for the simple reason that our products just can't be sold there, while in Russia they have been sold for whole decades and with good success. Our untying from the crashing Russian "economic wonder" is right in theory, only that this has not saved us from falling deeper, while some reasonable maintaining of the old relations maybe would have brought some mutual advantage. As also listening to the meanings of some differently thinking persons, but not to such extent that to elect in the Parliament pop singers, or compensate the former persecution of dissidents with their current high salaries and posts. It is good to remind us the Latin origin of the word "dissident", what means one who has not yet sat at the place for which he (or she, surely) has dreamed such long time, where he can dip the big spoon in the state's honey (or gulp from the state's pie). Neither was right to restitute the property to people who have never even dreamed of it, or at least not before the state has given also something from its property to every citizen having worked for the state for decades, while from the conducted mass privatization the average Bulgarian has won not more than for a liter raki in an year. And similar examples.
     In the current situation we were left with nothing else, except to reconcile us with the loss of labour of at least three generations (two previous and at least one current) and take

     our transition to democracy as some alternative of war devastation.

     This is not at all far from the truth, because, in spite of the tens of years of cold war and comprehensive boycott of the Socialist bloc from the part of the West, this bloc collapsed only then, when the developed countries decided to give us a hand. In this sense their economic help, really, was some alternative of the World Wars I and II ! This alternative is significantly more humane and contemporary, so that nothing bad can be said about the wealthy capitalist countries. When the capitalism is society of capitals then every problem has to be decided via the ruling of capitals. And that by this "democratic alternative" some nations have suffered much — well, there is nothing to be done: a la guerre comme a la guerre, as the Frenchmen say. So that it again turns out that we alone are to be blamed for our deplorable situation in which we now are.
     But let us return to our first question, can the Bulgarian pay 50% taxes — well, he has to learn this, because nothing else is left to him! And let us not try again to change our rulers often than necessary, for this leads to nothing good. Our troubles come not because the ruling political power (whichever it is) is bad, but regardless of this, that it (sometimes) is not so bad! The reasons for our failures are again in the system, in the model to which we are moving, not in the incompetency of our rulers (although this, too, in some extent is true). Let us hope that we will succeed to save before the world our good name of moderate and obedient nation, in contrast with some neighbouring states. And will expect the creation of some "Requiem for Bulgarian democracy" by a now democratic dissident, who, though, will not be burning with desire for power and personal benefits. Such people, probably, already exist, but we are so inebriated by democratic euphoria that avoid listening to them, because nobody forbids them to speak. Must we again have bans in order to give sometimes an ear to the voice of reason?

     Jan 1999

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     [ * We must warn you that here it goes about 2nd February (2.2.), our traditional day of homosexuals since old time. ]

     According to one old-Greek legend the people once were with two heads, four legs, and four hands, what was very conveniently because in this way they were able to see equally well forward and backward and, as far as they were born such, they thought this is a normal thing and lived happy and satisfied. But because they were happy they did not at all obey and venerate the gods and showed no interest in them. Yet the inhabitants of mount Olympus did not like this at all and decided to punish the people severely. As we know, there is nothing impossible for the gods and they narcotized the four-legged people and after this cut them through the middle in two nearly equal parts with by one head, two legs, and two hands. When the people awakened and saw what has happened with them they were very unhappy and at once began to search for their halves.
     Only that they were so used to their halves, which were earlier always close to them, that they have paid no special attention to them, and now were not in position only looking at another human half to recognize at once whether this was their own half or a foreign one. For this reason they were forced to press themselves closely and rub with one another, shift to the right or to the left, turn in this or in that direction, in order to check, have they found their own half. This process continued for a long time, and it still continues, and because of this people can't live quite separated, because each of us is only half human being.
     Despite the providently left by the gods specific devices for performing of the "docking" this required special feeling and patience. The people, however, have become used to the searching of their halves and have begun to like this process by itself, regardless of the often presentment that the other person is clearly not their own half. Little by little the very process of searching and fitting has become the most interesting occupation for the human beings and instead of bringing us troubles the gods have done us, in fact, a good service, because have given us one more source of happiness.
     Till now everything is good, in general, but some halves have become so highly confused and dumbfounded that they paid no attention to obvious differences in the "docking" devices and have begun to use them improperly, as, for example, not to take in consideration the parameters of tolerances in the connections, to pay no attention to the diameters of the holes, and even to try to insert a "screw" where there is not yet a "thread" for it, as also to turn it in the opposite direction of the thread. By the way, it is curious to mention that in German language die Mutter means not only mother, but also a ... nut in technique, what shows that they have had similar associations. But we are also not much away from them when speak about

     people with reversed "thread".

     Well, this is the legend, but the truth is that such people exist from time immemorial, and when some thing is quite spread then maybe there is some reason for this, albeit it is taken for improper by the majority of people. The tendency in various Western countries for legalization of the homosexuality nowadays, as also parades of so called gays (what you know well that means joyous) and lesbians, should not lead us to think that now they are more than, say, a pair of thousand years ago. Their relatively number most probably is the same**, only that earlier they were hiding, while now they are even proud with their own perversity. Well, I beg pardon before them, but this, still, is

     [ ** Actually, after some period of pondering, the author has begun to think that roughly since the middle of 20th century the homosexuality has begun to grow also relatively, but if so then this has to be consequence of the ... emancipation (see also the paper "Oh, 'manci, 'manci -pation!" here). ]

     a pure perversion,

although it has not to be necessarily taken for something bad (or on the contrary, good), because the perversity is quite widespread phenomenon in human life! The very word "perversion" means simply something reversed or perverted and can be used always when it goes about something different from the mass practice. Perversion, for example, is if one shaves his (or her) head in winter (and goes out without a hat, so that everybody can see his bare head); or in summer heat goes in high boots above the ankle; or puts on his cap with the visor backward (because, if he does not need the visor he might have bought himself cap without visor); or goes in winter with warm shirt, that must be inserted in the trousers (because that is how it was made, and it is also cold on the street), but he wears it outside and it is twice longer than his upper jacket; and similar things.
     This is something as to butter himself a sandwich, but to turn it with the butter downward and eat it in this way, and if there is something else except the butter then to hold it from below with a hand. Many perversions, though, with the time become normal practices and then those, who do not apply them, begin to be considered as exceptions, so that everything depends on the traditions in the given moment. The younger ones like to make themselves interesting, and this is done easily with changing in some way of their appearance or tastes. In the end, in the case with the homosexuals the important thing is this,

     is their exceptionality a matter of fashion?

     Here it is proper to begin to make difference between various kinds of homosexuality and discern: natural one, which is consequence of predispositions of the individual; compulsory one, which is forced by some specific living conditions; and fashionable one, which is something transitional and relatively harmless (like the reversing of the cap, or wearing of earrings by men).
     The author's opinion is that nowadays significant spread receives the fashionable homosexuality — as a result of the inebriation of not allowed before freedoms. Here we do not have in mind only our country (and rather not our) but the whole West, because at least up to the middle of the century all sexual perversions were persecuted, be it unofficially, be it by the laws. In Bulgaria, up to my knowledge, there were not prisons for homosexuals, but in USA, for example, such existed. And in the "good old England" has suffered the not unknown Oscar Wilde. It is interesting that in more distant past at these things was looked more condescendingly than is looked still by us and in many other countries.
     It is stated that the genius Michelangelo was also a homosexual, but it is not known that he was subjected to some persecutions, while in even more remote antiquity, and also nowadays in the Arab countries, is spread, if it can be named so, the "traditional Islamic homosexualism". The vogue is always unstable and it will soon disappear. The young boys and guys who now hang themselves earrings don't realize that this is subconscious expression of woman's features in them, mainly in the age of puberty, because each way for decoration of the man, different from the given by the nature, is acknowledging of his imperfection! The woman can allow herself this, because she must beautify herself, with the purpose to seduce the man, and this is in accordance with the nature, while on the contrary it isn't. But be it as it may, this is not a ground for bothering. Even if an young man tries it a pair of times, in order to see what is this for a thing, this also is not dangerous, because there is no effect of addiction in the sex, like, for example, with the narcotics.
     The compulsory homosexuality, on the other hand, arises by prolonged abiding in environment of one sex only (in boarding schools, in army and navy conditions, in cloisters, etc.) and it also has temporary character, where if the situation changes it may disappear***. (It can be reminded the dubious, I would say, meaning of English word "mate", which comes from the verb to mate as to copulate, what leads us to the thought that for the mariners the main "help" was often expressed in this way.) Anyway, the author does not intend to pronounce himself about what is better: that in soldier barracks existed homosexual relations, or that close to them worked brothels, or else to be applied some of the achievements of contemporary (as well as ancient) medicine. Sex is the main problem for every human, and because of this has become popular the funny sentence: sex is not the problem, sex is the answer!

     [ *** Exactly this kind can be caused chiefly by the emancipation. ]

     And so it has left the natural homosexuality, which, exactly, was spread before millenniums, as it is spread also today. The right way to treat this point is that

     one should look at it as at some ailment.

But this is not an infectious disease, of which one must be afraid, and it can only cause regret (and caused it till now), until there sprang these gay parades with the main intention to show what interesting persons they are. Even the very word "gay" was entirely improperly occupied by them (unless one accepts that this is simply feminine from .. the Japanese geisha). For the thoughtful persons exactly the eagerness of gays to show that they are like all the others, and even more interesting, must prove the realizing of their ailing condition! Only that not many people think so about them.
     If the homosexuals have not stated that they are better than the other people, then the latter would have not looked at them with contempt and even disgust (or at least they would have had no reasons for this). Though it could have been stated also the reversed, namely: that if the majority of people have not looked at the gays and lesbians with contempt, then the latter would have not eagerly tried to show that they are normal, and the others — boring and limited people. As you see, the things are mutually related, so that

     for achieving of peaceful coexistence are necessary the efforts of both sides.

     By the way, many people (at least on the West) are confused as to the origin of the word "homosexual", thinking that it comes from Latin homo (i.e. human, man), yet it comes from old Greek "homogeneous" or of the same parts. Similarly the word hetera does not mean prostitute but simply a being from the other gender (in the traditional for Ancient Greece masculine company).
     Whichever the homosexuals were they are human beings, and the exceptionality in one aspect often is accompanied by exceptionality, now as abilities and talents, in some other area! This is not propaganda of this sex but declaration of the fact (of grouping of exceptions or deviations in some packs, what is well known by every player of hazard games). Or, at least, their feelings, as a rule, are stronger than by the heterogeneous love! This may sound like a paradox for some readers but it has its easy explanation with the unnaturality (perversity) of homosexual love, where is missing even non-conscious desire for continuation of the gender. Something similar can be said about Platonic, or of older people, or of children love, because they are separated from the sex. Well, by the homosexuals the love is not separated, but it is distanced from the sex in the established by God way, what has similar effect (and who can with certainty assert that Platon has absolutely innocently lied in bed with his pupils?).
     And another significant thing:

     the homosexuality is not at all socially dangerous,

as, fore example the narcotics, criminality, wars, and so on. And when so we must learn to live also with people who "don't do it" like us. As far as the purpose of life is to live it happy (unless one raises it on the misfortunes of others) then the ways for reaching of this happiness are not specially important, because everything is a matter of taste. So, some say, has answered the dog when was asked, why he, hmm, licks his bottom (and he does this, surely, because the evolution has thought him to keep himself clean, so that his prey should not smell him).
     Well then, happy holiday!

     Jan 1999

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