EMPERORS CLOTHES WRITER ON OP-ED OF NY TIMES

Borba100 at SPAMaol.com Borba100 at SPAMaol.com
Thu Nov 11 21:44:43 MST 1999



Note from http://www.emperors-clothes.com: The following article is reprinted
from the NY Times, 11/11/99. It is based on "With her eyes opened: A letter
to the Serbian Opposition" posted 9/4 at
http://www.emperors-clothes.com/misc/bulgaria.htm .

The article made its way round the Internet and was shown in printed form to
a NY Times op-ed page editor. She emailed Emperors-clothes.com and we
negotiated (Emperors-clothes as Literary Agent) for Ms. Doncheva with the
Times which ended up printing the following:

In Bulgaria, 10 Years of Misery

By BLAGOVESTA DONCHEVA

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- We here in Bulgaria have had democracy since 1989. What
has happened during these last 10 years?

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are successfully devouring
Bulgarian industry. They have insisted on the privatization of Bulgaria's
plants and factories. In many cases, the Bulgarian government, which
diligently follows the I.M.F.'s advice, sold these factories to powerful
foreign corporations. And these corporations often liquidated the businesses
(a new way to fight the competition!).
What is the result? Hordes of unemployed workers, beggars in the streets, old
people digging in rubbish containers for some rag or moldy piece of bread.
Our social fabric is falling apart. Before 1989, Bulgaria was a socialist
state: free medical care and education for everyone. Mothers and the elderly
received other aid and privileges.

Now, since the fall of Communism, I see more and more children who have
dropped out of public school. Their parents cannot provide them with shoes
and clothes, never mind textbooks and paper.

Things are no better for the elderly. In 1989, my friend's mother's pension
had been about 105 leva a month. Now it is 46 leva a month, a little more
than $24.
There are many people, especially those who are older than 30, who are not
working. Nobody needs them; nobody offers work to them. The job offers in the
newspapers repeatedly demand that applicants be no more than 30 years old.
And even if you are under 30, what do you get? You have the chance to slave
for 12 hours for next to nothing for a newly hatched business.

In January, the last remnants of our socialized state will be taken away. The
government will no longer subsidize train tickets for students, the elderly
and mothers with children. This means that people will be forced to stay
either in the towns or in the villages, which will hurt active pensioners and
the unemployed. Now, they add to their meager family incomes through some
occasional jobs in the towns, or they go to the village and grow vegetables
and fruit for the winter in their fathers' gardens. It made economic sense
when they were traveling by train at half price. After the new year, it will
be senseless.

We are undergoing untold hardships, yet George Soros, the financier, eggs us
on, telling us to open our boundaries, make ourselves an open society. But we
in Bulgaria have learned the hard way what those pretty slogans mean. It
means killing the industry that is managing to stay alive in Bulgaria.
Turkish imports are flooding the market. Socks made in Bulgaria are selling
for 1 leva; I have seen Turkish socks, selling for half a leva. So soon we
will have only Turkish socks, and no jobs.
Lots of low-quality food products and other goods flow freely into Bulgaria,
undermining the efforts of local producers. I have a cousin who has a small
farm with four cows. He hasn't been able to sell his calves for two
successive years. He is crushed. The companies that buy veal explain that
they prefer to work with the frozen meat imported from Greece at low prices,
ready to be stuffed and turned into salami or sausages.

What is the West offering us in return for this misery? What is the great
attraction for a foreign corporation in a devastated country? The cheap labor
and national resources!

So much for open boundaries. So much for an open society. I personally live
in misery, but I can still manage. It is the sight of the old men and women
digging into the rubbish containers that is breaking my heart.

Before the fall of Communism, I and many others believed that the Communist
government was lying about the United States of America. We thought all its
warnings about America were simply propaganda.

And from 1989 to 1993, I was a democratic activist. That was before I
understood the true work of the I.M.F. or the World Bank or the transnational
corporations and their policy of expansion. We fell for the seductive talk
about democracy and openness.

Now 10 years later, I wish we hadn't.

Blagovesta Doncheva is a translator in Sofia.

For other articles by Blagovesta Doncheva:

*Click on With her eyes opened - a letter to the Serbian 'Democratic
Opposition' or go to http://www.emperors-clothes.com/misc/bulgaria.htm

*Click on 'We here think it has been planned' or go to
http://www.emperors-clothes.com/articles/doncheva/donch2.htm

If you would like to browse articles from Emperors-Clothes.com, click here Or
go to: http://www.emperors-clothes.com









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