The road to Damascus is getting harder. Waiting for my Syrian visa in Sofia is fun though, I have found a great place called The Art Hostel with a cool cave-like underground bar, a place for artists and the like to meet and drink. The other night I met an Aussie whose brother had defended a gypsy he’d seen being attacked by a 21 year old skinhead. In the fight the Aussie ended up killing the skinhead and now he’s in jail waiting trial for murder.
The skinhead was apparently from a good family and studying law. His right-wing beliefs were well known and fully acceptable here, such is the animosity towards Bulgaria’s 2 million gypsies. I shook the man’s hand and passed on my best wishes to his brother in jail.
Defending gypsies here isn’t cool. I’d called a student I’d met the night before a racist for his constant negative talk about them and he was insulted. It is different here he said. He told me that as an outsider I wouldn’t understand how they rob and mug people to make a living, but I said if you are a country of only 5 million with 2 million gypsies doing nothing, excluded, are they not a drain on the economy… would it not be better to try and include them more in your society?
The young Bulgarian student was angry, he didn’t care, he just wanted rid of them. I said OK why don’t you kill them all like Hitler did with Jews. Problem solved. No no he protested I’m not a racist. Later my Syrian friend Nizam shows me a flashing swastika key ring he bought from a nearby tourist shop, sadly it seems that here in Bulgaria the rise of right is more far-reaching than a joke novelty keyring.