Refugee Resettlement Watch

Archive for December 17th, 2013

Bulgaria: Rise of the European right on full display as Syrians flood in

Posted by Ann Corcoran on December 17, 2013

Bulgaria for Bulgarians!

Ataka leader Bozhinov: we have a lot of our own poor people to take care of!
Photo: Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

George Soros and his open-society one-worlders will have their hands full as the unexpected (maybe not so unexpected!) flowering of the political right is coming sooner and faster than it might have if there wasn’t such a drive on (led by the UN) to pressure Europe to take in Muslims, most recently the Syrian Muslims.

Here the New York Times wrings its proverbial hands over Bulgaria’s growing right wing power in a “news” piece filled with words meant to prejudice readers toward a leftwing view of the situation.

In fact, one interesting thing about the European rightwing is that although they are against unfettered immigration, they still believe in the social safety net that most socialist countries of Europe offer their citizens.  But, here is the crux of it and it comes late in the article:

“We are not a party of xenophobes,” he (Ataka leader) said. “But Bulgaria has lots of poor people of its own that need taking care of before refugees.”

Whether it’s Europe, Canada or the US, the average citizen asks these same logical questions as I said here last week in the post about Canadian health care.

One of the most troubling questions for community members in a city or town where large numbers of refugees are arriving is—why are we doing this when we have our own needy people not being cared for?

I hear it all the time.  It goes something like this: ‘we have people (Americans/our neighbors) going hungry, homeless in the streets, or the elderly in need of attention and care and yet we can bring in tens of thousands of impoverished people from elsewhere in the world?  Why are our own needy so much less attractive?’

Here is the New York Times (anti-rightwing ‘opinion’ piece with my emphasis!):

SVILENGRAD, Bulgaria — After spreading turmoil and desperate refugees across the Middle East, Syria’s brutal civil war has now leaked misery into Europe’s eastern fringe — and put a spring in the step of Angel Bozhinov, a nationalist activist in this Bulgarian border town next to Turkey.

The local leader of Ataka, a pugnacious, far-right party, Mr. Bozhinov lost his seat in the town council at the last municipal elections in 2011 but now sees his fortunes rising thanks to public alarm over an influx of Syrian refugees across the nearby frontier.

Membership of the local branch of Ataka, he said, had surged in recent weeks as “people come up to me in the street and tell me that our party was right.” Ataka, which means attack, champions “Bulgaria for Bulgarians” and has denounced Syrian refugees as terrorists whom Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest nation, must expel. An Ataka member of Parliament has reviled them as “terrible, despicable primates.”

The Socialist led government is corrupt and survives with the help of the rightwing which has given the rightwing leverage to push for things like the new border fence (mentioned later in the story).

 The influx of Syrian refugees has sown divisions across the European Union as the refugees add burdens on governments still struggling to emerge from years of recession. But Bulgaria is perhaps the most fragile of all the European Union’s 28 members. Modest as the numbers of refugees are here, the entry of nearly 6,500 Syrians this year has overwhelmed the deeply unpopular coalition government and added a volatile element to the nation’s already unstable politics.

The arrival of the refugees and public fury over the stabbing of a young Bulgarian woman by an Algerian asylum seeker “has opened the floodgates” for far-right nationalists, said Daniel Smilov of the Center for Liberal Strategies, a policy research group in Sofia, the capital. “They see this as their big chance.”  [Note, it’s not just Syrians trying to get through Bulgaria, but African Arabs like the alleged stabber in this case—ed]

No matter how inflammatory its message or small its numbers, Ataka has had outsize leverage since inconclusive parliamentary elections in May left it critical to the survival of Bulgaria’s new socialist-led government, which has been besieged for months by protesters demanding its resignation over complaints of cronyism and corruption.

[….]

Like many populist parties in Western Europe, Ataka mixes right-wing calls for law and order and restrictions on immigration with economic policies that veer sharply to the left.

Ataka:  Illegal migrants are Islamists and scroungers!

Ataka’s one constant has been its vicious rhetoric against foreigners and minorities. Alfa Television, a station operated by Ataka, denounces the refugees as radical Islamists and scroungers who will only bring violence and deeper poverty to Bulgaria.

[….]

Mr. Bozhinov, the Ataka leader in Svilengrad, said he had nothing against legal immigrants. But he fumed against those who sneaked across the thinly guarded border from Turkey, seeing them as a threat to Bulgaria’s and Europe’s security and economic well-being. They should be either sent back or moved on to richer countries willing and better equipped to take them, he said.

“We are not a party of xenophobes,” he said. “But Bulgaria has lots of poor people of its own that need taking care of before refugees.”

Whether it is Bulgaria or America, that legitimate sentiment runs deep!

There is more, read it all.

Click here for all of our coverage of the Bulgaria crisis.  Cool!  I see we have had 106 readers from Bulgaria in the last month—welcome!

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