Virtues and Social Health

Протести в България, лято 2020
Протести в България, лято 2020
Photo Credit: © Етюд-и-те на София / Sketches of Sofia 2020

On September 12, 2020 we hosted the first in a series of gatherings to discuss the current social protests against corruption in Bulgaria and the vision guiding us. In support of civil society efforts to free our country from the deep-seated corruption, summed up eloquently by European Parliament member Clare Daly[1], the gathering opened a consultative space to reflect on the many questions before us now.

Participants shared their observations of the social protests in 2013, when there was significant collective energy and hope for real change until the movement dissipated into divisive politics which destroyed the opportunity for social transformation and ended up reinforcing existing arrangements. Today, seven years later, many people wonder how these protests will be different; and some have fears that other forces may be manipulating people’s desperation and the collective energy for narrower political purposes.

We understand that efforts toward social change from the exploitative methods of the past, both nationally and internationally, are happening in the context of the death grip of well-established corrupt nuclei at every level. This old world order, which warps the system of governance, has created in Bulgaria only stalemate. The struggle for a genuinely democratic governance is crucial right now, both in Bulgaria and worldwide. 

In order to break away from the grip of corruption, the national movement has to overcome the artificially maintained divisiveness in Bulgarian society, and to develop a national vision for the future. There is a great need for people to contribute to such a vision, not from the point of view of divisive politics, but from a thoughtful consideration of Bulgaria. Our land, with its strategic geographic position and deep historic and energetic roots, could contribute substantially to the global process, if it is governed with wisdom.

Such an approach would include each of us reflecting on our place in this process. The young participants in the gathering noted that they hear many opinions but few substantive questions asked. Perhaps it is time for each of us to ask “Who am I ?”, “What are my frames of reference ?”, “ What moves me?” Culture is transformed by us, by the quality of education and understanding with which we live. Is there a society in Bulgaria? Do we seek such personal and spiritual development that allows us to align ourselves with the most effective way to address issues toward constructive change? There are serious global initiatives, but do we engage them? Or have we become so accustomed to consuming and to individual ways of escaping that we unconsciously participate in the process that supports corrupt private interests?

Can we really expect anything significantly different in the context of a spiritual vacuum and extreme materialism and individualism?

Thought arises from the spirit! Is our spirit ready for collective development?

Who and where are the people that would be willing to undertake the responsibility of governing the process of the renaissance of a nation? So far people participating in the political process have been largely pursuing particular group Interests or end up getting usurped through the embedded corruptive influences. We need a new brand of people – young, and supported by the maturity and experience of elders – who are adequately prepared to work together to find frames of reference and develop a unifying national cause. In this serious global situation, it may be naive to think that the change of one government with another alone will be sufficient to overcome the pyramid structures of exploitation. 

We invite you to our next gathering to consult on a common strategy that articulates Bulgaria’s role in a changing world, as well as to define specific regional needs. 

A serious long-term vision is possible because young people somehow already know that we are interdependent and each person has to put forth their best for the good of all – a reality forgotten by some and ignored by others. Do write to us! Every well-intended voice matters.

Authors: Elena Mustakova, Nadia Kostova, Bilyana Madjarova, Pavel Gerasimov, Earl Possardt


Where To Now?

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