When patriotic spokesmen spy an attack on Bulgarian values, they “cannot remain silent”. Bulgarian “restraint” and “tolerance” for others is quickly abandoned in the speed with which fellow countrymen are labeled anti-Bulgarian.
Thus an interview on Nova TV, in which Bulgarian pop star, Miro, describes how he became a protestant, gives writer Valentin Fortunov, the opportunity to fulminate. On his way back from the toilet, where he has been graphically sick, Fortunov sits down to pen a predictable response, published in his blog and in the patriotic newspaper, DESANT.
Miro is the compromised tool of foreign forces out to subvert the true Bulgaria – an ideal state that exists mostly in the imagination of the writer and his readers. This true Bulgaria bears no relation of course to the real Bulgaria, compromised by its corrupt politicians, by its membership of NATO and the EU and by the “gypsification”of its culture.
But any commentator would do well not to ignore the true Bulgaria. The ideal conservative patriarchal society lives on in the hearts of thousands of readers of Patriotic newspapers. And the true Bulgaria survived five hundred years of Turkish “enslavement”, because of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the church that Miro has rejected.
We are reminded that Miro has “flirted with homosexuality”. We are reminded that Nova TV is owned by Swedes, that Sweden is a Protestant country, and that the Swedish protestant church allows gay marriages. Thus Nova TV is part of an unending conspiracy to undermine and destroy the true Bulgaria. And Miro in being a protestant is anti-Bulgarian in his implicit rejection of his national church. He has the impertinence to tell us that “God is not found in a building.”
In his conclusion, Fortunov calls on Bulgarians to forsake their famous “tolerance” and unite to save the true Bulgaria from its enemies. A comment by an expat appended to his blog entry rightly questions this Bulgarian tolerance – for gypsies, Turks, Gays etc. The same commentator questions the average Bulgarian’s loyalty to the Orthodox church. This expat is clearly anti-Bulgarian.
Fortunov raises interesting issues. Protestantism is the religion of capitalism. It is no coincidence that the Industrial and Mercantile revolutions occurred in countries not dominated by hierarchical church structures. Protestantism is a religion of equal individuals, unhampered by buildings and men in cassocks. (At the same time in its fundamentalist forms it is no less anti-Gay than the Catholic or Bulgarian churches.)
But if we follow capitalist logic, it is unsurprising that in some protestant countries sexual discrimination has been swept away. The pink pound talks. Fortunov might consider that Nova TV is first and foremost a capitalist institution – its only purpose is to make money in a modern Bulgaria where pop stars have financial value.
“Bulgarian tolerance” I suppose is to blame for allowing the sexually ambiguous Madonna to perform in Sofia – either that or some Protestant desire to make money.
So what is the alternative? If we follow the road of intolerance, Bulgaria should undergo a Patriarch led Iranian style revolution? All foreign businesses and particularly foreign media institutions can be booted out. Bulgaria would leave the EU and NATO. Gays can be castrated along with Gypsies and Turks.
Miro is a very slight celebrity from which to launch a whole fleet of polemic. Perhaps Fortunov should remind his nostalgic readers that Bulgaria’s only Protestant ruler was Georgi Dimitrov. And of course he never acted as an agent for a foreign power, did he?