Stunned, surprised and happy – that’s how I would describe myself when I saw the poster in the picture below. You are now wondering what it says because it’s not in English. You can’t understand it but that’s all right because you probably don’t know Bulgarian. Besides, most people in my country don’t seem to get it either so don’t bother too much!
“Apathy kills -(Апатията убива)”. That’s what it is written. These young people are actually protesting against the possibility of shale gas mining in Bulgaria – in the heart of the country actually because that’s where the wheat and the other crops are produced. Any normal government wouldn’t even discuss the possibility of shale gas mining, would it? Or if it does, it’s then normal to protest against it’s attempt to consciously kill the country’s population, right? Besides, shale gas mining is forbidden by the EU as far as I know. Hence, protests should be a matter of course. Why was I surprised then? Well, protests are something rather unusual in Bulgaria and it’s quite an event when somebody actually does raise their voice. Now do you understand the picture’s message better? It is not only against the shale gas mining; it calls the rest of the country to eventually express its anger. I can’t even say the rest of the citizens – a citizen is a person who is actively involved in the country’s public life after all. The Arab Spring was an inspiration for so many countries to fight for better life and freedom and it’s been spreading everywhere. Other countries are protesting because of what the global crisis brought us – poverty, lost jobs, inflation, you name it. Even Bulgaria’s neighbours – the other Balkan countries are having strikes, let alone the ones in Nigeria or the UK or even the Netherlands that I witnessed a couple of months ago. Let me give you some facts and examples – actions speak louder than words after all.
Fact: Greeks are protesting against the austerity measures.
Fact: In Romania there are strikes even right now against the government’s proposal of healthcare reforms and other general spending cuts.
Fact: Nigerians were protesting against the oil subsidy removal.
Fact: The pension protests in the UK are another recent example of unrest.
I won’t go on and on. If you can think of any other inspiration that could wake up the people please carry on…Seeing this photograph fills me with optimism though – there is still hope after all.