Over the last weekend, the Germans and the Bulgarians demonstrated against their respective governments. This seems to be an echo chamber effect of our own travails which have inspired countless Europeans to take to the streets and express their anger over their gripe de jour. In this instance, as we shall see, the Germans are quite close to us in their anger, while the Bulgarians are more sui generis.
Our civil unrest and disobedience have now crossed the pond and inspired similar radical actions throughout the Old Continent. I kid you not, but even French intellectuals admit that the conceptual and organizational inspiration, including BLM and Antifa as well as wokeness, are American.
More precisely they do not refer to America, but to American universities, which is — to us here at least — quite a different thing. This is significant because the European radicals used to be the source of inspiration for our leftists. Now it is the other way around. European issues the Trans-Atlanticist Left care about most are carbon copies of our own American concerns, especially racism.
Accordingly, the Euro radicals pull down and deface statues of colonialists, racists, and imperialists, real and alleged, in England, France, Belgium, and elsewhere. They demonstrate against racism and Dead White Males. There are many more statues in Europe than in the U.S., and many more historical culprits, so the opportunities to vent anger and destroy are practically endless.
All this takes place under the banner of tolerance and openness naturally. Like in the U.S., many of the "anti-racists" and "anti-fascists" are either ignorant or driven by the desire to create chaos for chaos' sake, vandalizing all in their way. In one instance the tolerant ones defaced a statue of the Virgin Mary at a military cemetery for the 1st Polish Armored Division, which fought at Normandy in 1944, closed the Falaise Gap, and liberated numerous Belgian and Dutch towns. Why was the graveyard Madonna targeted? Why not?
There has been very little pushback from the authorities. The French government debates preserving monuments. Others fiddle, while Europe not quite burns, but, rather, sputters along. But in certain places regular citizens, the veterans in particular, step in, for example, most famously, in London to protect the statue of Churchill.
Let us shift back to the Intermarium, Berlin and Sophia as promised. In Berlin, the last demonstration of note was about COVID. "Day of Freedom: The End of the Pandemics" was the chief slogan. It sounded like a bunch of libertarians expressing their unhappiness. Yet, mainstream media, including CNN, inveighed against "extreme rightists" who were supposed to have organized and dominated the event.
Anyone familiar with Germany's street scene, however, can quickly look at social media and see that the demonstrators were a hodgepodge of options. Sure, there were the neo-Nazis and other German nationalists with their gadgets. But we could also spot anarchist and other leftist symbols as well in the crowd, for example the LGBT's rainbow fluttering proudly, unless that was faked.
At any rate, the demonstration was surprisingly peaceful. It seems that most in Berlin were angry folks who no longer want to cover their faces and chafe at various restrictions imposed by the government because of the pandemic. Sound familiar?
In Bulgaria, however, we have a peculiar post-Communist situation. For at least a month there have been daily (and nightly) demonstrations against government corruption in the Bulgarian capital, Sophia. According to Western liberal media, the national regime is "conservative" and "populist." In fact, it is a coalition of power hungry and cynical contender groups.
And none is more avaricious than their leader, prime minister Boyko Borisov. This long serving politician comes from a Communist secret police dynasty. His father was a security man, and he was likewise with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. After 1989 he continued in private spook sector, as his erstwhile comrades were stealing the country blind, while loudly disavowing the Communist past. He is now a totally reformed democrat, you see.
Since there was never any serious de-Communization and de-KGBzation, Borisev games the system masterfully. His Tammany Hall-like machine is matchless. He has been winning elections, apparently democratically, and turned Bulgaria into his own sandbox. Corruption is rife; and so is intimidation of the media.
The people have had enough but, unfortunately, it is primarily the new left that has been able to channel the popular anger. Since Bulgaria has failed to generate any real conservative law and order political initiative, the post-Communist establishment faces off with a bunch of radical leftist challengers, who pretend not to share any ideological affinities with the regime in power.
The anger on the streets is palpable. Initially peaceful, the demonstrations have turned violent. They have spread to other towns as well. The protestors have blocked highways, streets, and bridges. Last weekend the regime cracked down hard. Rumors swirled that the most violent cops were Brisev's former employees in his private security company, reportedly former Communist secret policemen.
The governments ham-fisted actions have only added fuel to the fire. The ubiquitous slogan animating the crowd is "the nation against the mafia." That is something the Americans can identify with: Throw the rascals out! But what then? Bulgaria's Antifa? Say it ain't so.
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is Professor of History at the Institute of World Politics, a graduate school of statecraft in Washington D.C.; expert on East-Central Europe's Three Seas region; author, among others, of "Intermarium: The Land Between The Baltic and Black Seas." Read Marek Jan Chodakiewicz's Reports – More Here.
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