Comment on clashes in Harmanli, Bulgaria: How to create a problem

Written by on November 25, 2016 in Bulgaria - No comments

Bulgaria is accommodating up to 13,000 refugees at this stage, a relatively harmless number. With 3,000 people, the largest refugee camp in the town of Harmanli, located close to the southern border, is full of Afghans and Syrians who are waiting for their opportunity to move on, towards Western Europe. They were basically stuck in a little town, in the middle of nowhere, which must be difficult and frustrating, especially after the ordeal of a long journey, away from war, mass murder, poverty and oppression.

Since the crisis began, there has not been one statement on refugees, from any Bulgarian official, which would have included the tiniest portion of empathy. The opposite is the case. The words “aggressive” and “criminal” have been booming since it all started. Of course, xenophobic, fascistic parties and organisations will agree with that kind of wording, and they will always protest against anyone who seems different to them. If there weren’t any refugees right now, they would be targeting Roma, Turks, Blacks, Jews or Homosexuals.

There are xenophobic ignoramuses everywhere. But when authorities start listening to them and fulfilling their sick demands, things are really bad. This is exactly what happened. Nationalists stage protests, demanding a lock-down at the Harmanli refugee camp. Shortly after, the authorities in charge say the camp would be locked, due to illnesses. Then, it turns out, there is no medical reason for that lock-down. At the same time, riots start inside the camp, which should not be a surprise to anyone with an IQ higher than 90.

Since yesterday, more than 200 refugees were arrested for the destruction of state property, police officers have been injured. Injuries among refugees, even some who did not take part in the riots, were not mentioned by officials, but by volunteers. One of the policemen seems to be in serious condition, after a stone hit his helmet, which is terrible. But, all of this could have been avoided.

Now, those xenophobic movements have what they wanted. Now they will say: “See? We told you migrants are bad and should be deported. They even injured our police officers.” And they will be supported by even more ignorant voters, who believe their propaganda of hate.

The people in charge, who decided to give in to the demands of ultra-nationalists by locking up 3,000 refugees in Harmanli, created this mess, which will have implications in the days, weeks and months to come, in a country recently struck by a new political crisis. This whole thing is dumb. And just as dangerous.

By Imanuel Marcus



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