|| issue 6, year IX, 2002
The Republic of Bulgaria President George Parvanov for "Europe 2001" Magazine.
Regarding the Festival "Europalia-Bulgaria 2002"
"Europalia-Bulgaria 2002" Festival offers a chance not only to Belgians but also to all the neighbouring European countries' citizens to get acquainted with Bulgarian history of over 1300 years and with the European Christian backgrounds of Bulgarian culture. The mutual cultural acknowledgement is supposed to lead to a more active policy of more intensive trade and economical relations. Thus the foreign investors' interest for Bulgaria could be increased and we would come nearer to the achievement of our strategic goal - joining the EU.
Regarding the Forum "German-Bulgarian Dialogue for Economical and Political Collaboration"
During my visit in Germany a great interest for Bulgaria was shown. That interest is provoked by Bulgaria's incredible advancement in joining the EU and by its political, financial and economical stability. Bulgaria also plays a very important stabilizing role on the Balkans and has a unique situation at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Bulgarian territory is crossed by five of the altogether ten pan-European transport corridors. Our country is once again no less interesting because of its potential to become the energy center of the Balkans.
Regarding the national security problem
We have to stop reducing the meaning of the concept for national security to the matters of national defence and the fight against criminality. The concept for national security should be considered including the social peace and stability issue, the national demographic problems, the ethnical model matters. All the institutions of the state have to act by a common will and have to deal with the problems by common efforts without any compromise.
Regarding the President's veto
The president's right for putting veto is illustrating the presidential institution's striving for qualitative legislation that should build up a democratic and socially fare government of law. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to demand a reconsideration of any law, which affects the civil rights, serves the interests of a particular party or group of people - any law that is in contradiction with the Constitution and is an impediment for the achievement of Bulgaria's foreign policy priorities.
Regarding the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria from 1991
The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria from 1991 is a modern and democratic constitution that is up to the European and world standards. This constitution provided those conditions in which the peaceful political transition in Bulgaria was possible and actually happened; this constitution had been the base on which our democratic and pluralistic society was built up. It had also laid the foundations of our market economy and had designed and then strengthened the unique Bulgarian ethnical model.
Regarding the most important issue in the activities of the presidential institution
My leading principles in fallowing my constitutional duty to represent the Republic of Bulgaria in the international relations are honesty, sociability, readiness to lead a dialogue, realism and pragmatism. I believe that the presidential institution should undertake the problems of all Bulgarian citizens in spite of their political, ethnical or social differences; it should stand for the national priorities and values. The extreme ideological and political controversy has to be replaced by ability and desire on the side of the politicians to be tolerant, to make compromises and to always seek for mutual agreement, as well as to keep themselves politically and socially responsible for people's well being, because they are the ones who have to look after peoples' interests.
Mr. President's personal dream
My dream is the Republic of Bulgaria to be a honourable and respectful member of the international democratic family, a member that has its own and well-deserved authority. We should provide all conditions necessary for nation's economic and cultural prosperity. I wish for Bulgarian people to be self-confident, to be proud of their origin and never to forget where they come from. I dream that I see smiling faces everywhere I go, in every corner of our beautiful homeland.
|Interview by Tsvetanka ELENKOVA
NATO Expansion In South-Eastern Europe
At the North Atlantic Council Summit in Prague a historical decision has been made - seven countries from Northern, Central and South Eastern Europe have been invited to join NATO.
The first and probably most important consequence of Bulgaria's membership invitation is that after 13 years of transition the Republic of Bulgaria finally got out of the "certainty vacuum". Secondly the admittance of Bulgaria and Romania in the alliance means extension of the European zone of security and integration.
In the third place joining Bulgaria and Romania will strengthen the South wing of the alliance and thus Central Europe would be connected with the comparatively isolated allies. This is of greatest importance for managing with the major problems and challenges of XXI century - terrorism and increasing spreading of weapons of mass extermination.
In the fourth place the admittance of Bulgaria and Romania to NATO membership will establish European and Euro-Atlantic principles and values in the region.
In the next place the summit of the alliance in Prague proved that NATO is entering upon a new stage of collaboration, a stage of new type of relations with former Russian Federation and Ukraine.
Last but not least the admittance of Bulgaria and Romania in NATO will make the overall "image" of the Balkans more "attractive" to the entire world and most importantly - to foreign investors.
Bulgarian-Belgian relations at the end of 19 and the beginning of 20 century
At the end of 19 and the beginning of 20 century Berlin Congress resolutions puts newly restored Bulgarian country in a reality of unfair treatment and very serious problems. Bulgarian politicians are intensively seeking a positive pattern, which Bulgaria could fallow in the process of identification. As such they find Belgium - a small European country with moderate political views and prosperous economy. At first Bulgarian politicians are interested in Belgium's constitution and social policy.
Under the Convention from Berlin, Bulgaria is allowed to have its own representatives in the European countries, who should be accredited to their governments.
Bulgaria elects own consuls of honor in Belgium, including famous Belgian jurist and industrialist Louis Strauss from Anvers and such a distinguished public figure as Mr. Sulmon Lorand from Brussles.
Baron Emil De Laveleye plays a very beneficial part in Belgium-Bulgarian relations, which is remarkably interesting. As a Belgian consul In Belgrad he starts on a journey around Bulagaria at the beginning of 80-s. His travel notes have been published in a three-volume work named "The Balkan Peninsula". It is an introduction of Bulgarian history, culture, language and traditions, which is written with such exclusive competence and propriety so that reading it the European public gets the right and certainly positive impression about Bulgaria.
Belgian industrialists show grate interest towards Bulgaria's economy.
In 1900 Belgium becomes Bulgaria's fourth economic partner. Belgian investors establish sugar manufacturing in Bulgaria, build up a match factory in Kostenets, set a tram system in Sofia and establish Sofia's electricity company. In that same period four banks have been found with Belgian partnership - partially and even totally, and a huge number of Bulgarian students (about 1200) graduated at Belgian universities. At that time works of about 60 Belgian authors have been translated in Bulgarian.
Bulgarian Jews had an exceptional fortune during the Second World War when what happened to all Jewish communities over Europe could be called nothing but tragedy.
There's a story of a person - the story of Dimitar Peshev, which is no less significant than all the other factors, which led to the savior of about 50 000 people. This story is a mare example of how "the power of society and the power of ideology shape and define the individual's destiny".
There were 25 hours left till the deportation. Peshev immediately assumed that the only way out was the secret to be revealed. He was counting on the fact that if authoritative people in Bulgaria find out what's planned to happen to their compatriots Jews, they will not remain indifferent. He decided to stick to the procedure and act in accordance with his powers as a deputy. In the morning on 9 March he received a delegation from Kiustendil demanding the deportation of Jews to be canceled. That's how began the savior of Bulgarian Jews; not a few honorable men took part in it: 44 deputies signed a petition against Jews being deported, Bulgarian Orthodox Church also protested against that led by Plovdiv's metropolitan Stefan. Bulgarian intellectuals and people of art joined that protest and even the monarch's help had been requested. In the end the deportation had been canceled and put aside for reconsideration "in a better time".
Political Culture and European Integration
By a certain definition to be European means to be as open-minded and understanding as to consider no idea the most true, the most exquisite and refined, the best. "Political Culture and European Integration" Conference has been arranged by New Bulgarian University and Brussels Free University in fallowing the means of this definition, in keeping with European openness of the mind and European tolerance. Many honorable Belgian and Bulgarian intellectuals from different institutions take part in this conference. It holds out an analysis of how the European orientation view is articulated by the political discourse and how it is developing in the strategies of different types of social and political actors - political leaders, representatives of civil society, intellectuals, experts; once again the conference offers an analysis of how the European orientation view is subjected through the intellectual reflection and how it is settled in the public "every-day" consciousness.
The Thracian Gold
Bulgaria is situated on the very bridge between the East and West of the Old World. It's perfectly reasonable that the first inhabitants of Bulgarian land are considered to be "the first Europeans". Archeological excavations in "Kozarnika" Cave (in Northwest Bulgaria) prove with complete certainty and by scientific methods that this cave has been inhabited by man almost 900 000 years ago. A strong proof of the continuity and prosperity of this inhabitation are the Thracian mounds, which "contain" remains of all the inhabitants of a particular place that have been piling up century after century. On Bulgarian territory there are about 700 mounds of that kind - like the one at Karanovo (near Nova Zagora), which is called "Palace of Prehistory".
Among the huge amount of prehistoric remains that have been found on the territory of Ancient Thrace, there are thousands of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic plastic figures, which workmanship leads to the conclusion that ancient Thracians had knowledge of certain constellations and were using a very unique calendar system. Thracian people also used the most ancient pictograms in Europe.
By now almost 300 Thracian graves have been excavated and studied. Lots of golden jewelry and other objects have been found in them - about 6 kg. total weight. In ancient times when these burials have been performed, gold has been considered a symbol of power.
After the Trojan War Thracian people take control over the seas for almost a century. They are the first ones to do so - even before well-known maritime nations like Egyptians and Phoenicians.
Of major importance for ancient Thracians has been the interaction - on many different levels, with their land-neighbors to the south - ancient Hellenes.
As "the father of history" Herodotus claims, Thracians have been most numerous by population in Antiquity only after Hindus.
Thracian culture has been flowering during the reign of Kotys I (383 - 359 B.C.) when Thrace has been very prosperous in every way.
The exhibition shows: several treasures - treasure from Letnitsa, Rogozen treasure, Panagjurishte golden treasure; objects of the cult for Dionysus and the Thracian God-Horseman; Thracian armaments; and surprisingly an anthropomorphic rhyton from Gabarevo, which has the same pose as the symbol of Brussels - Maneken Piss, but is only 6 thousand years older.
Christian Art In Bulgaria
The exhibition "Christian Art In Bulgaria" was open on 10.10 at the Royal Museums of art and history - Senkantener in Brussels. This exhibition's purpose was not only to represent particular "bits" of Bulgarian culture but also to address a message to the West European audience.
Bulgaria is not only an adopter of Christianity but actively took an important part in the process of Christianity "approbation" in Europe. Bulgaria was actually fulfilling the apostolic mission of disseminating Christianity amongst the other Slavonic nations.
The exhibition shows about 120 works of ecclesiastical art that differ by character and function: icons, church plate, lithurgic woven and manuscripts. Of special interest are: the two big lithium icons from XIV century; the unique ceramic icon of St. Theodore (IX-X c.) that is the best example of its kind; the icon of a saint bishop from XIII-XIV c. with embossed background - a technique that is rarely used in Orthodox art; one of the oldest bells in Europe - the well-preserved bell of Despot Aleksii Slav from the beginning of XIII century; two skull plates of St. Dionysus I, Patriarch of Constantinople and St. Matron of Constantinople.
Face to face - mystery of life
The idea for an exhibition presenting the ethnographic wealth of Bulgaria within the framework of “Europalia ‘2002” Festival in Belgium has been realized by the National Ethnographic Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Science. This museum's collection has not only once been a successful ambassador for Bulgarian culture over the world; now the museum took the challenge of 21 century to approve Bulgarians' cultural identity as European. The exhibition is hosted by the Museum of Folklore Het Huis van Alijn in Gent.
All the colleagues from Bulgaria and Belgium are certain that cultures should meet and get acquainted with each other before the interference of politicians, military strategists and economists.
A more detailed analysis could be achieved by a narrative for the calendar cycle and the cycle of life and their rotation, which defines the nature of our values.
The exhibition has for a motto an ancient legend, which says that when God was giving out land He forgot about Bulgarian people. It occurred to Him later on but there was no land left and He gave Bulgarians a piece of Heaven that became their homeland.
Bulgarian people built up their philosophy in accordance with the life-death-life circle.
Contemporary Bulgarian Art
By his art painter Liuben Kostov is provoking both the audience and himself. He participated in this year's cultural festival in Brussels "Europalia" with his project "Identity" which consists of three-dimensional plastics named "Eye", "Lips" and "Ear". In the realization of his project the artist has been led by the suggestion of defining a connection between the idea of the project and the capital of Belgium.
Liuben Kostov is the only artist in Bulgaria whose artistic creations are exposed out in the open. After being dismantled when they disappear physically they remain in the consciousness of the spectator, their significance being increased spiritually and symbolically.
Contemporary Bulgarian Art
Painter Pavel Koychev addresses a massage to the contemporary man with his artistic work "Inhabitation", created with the co-authorship of architect Boyko Kadinov. It is exposed in front of the cathedral "Notre Dame Duo La Chapel" in Brussels. Authors' main artistic idea is to create a sculpture, which could be entered into but still could not be considered as an architectural object. It should stay on the very borderline between plastic art and architecture. The name of the work - "Inhabitation", has a strong spiritual sense. At first sight this creation is quite primary by its nature but even a modern man could indeed inhabit it for a while. It has such a unique form and is made of most ancient materials with just as ancient techniques - that's how this work is a bare disclosure of Pavel Koychev's attitude towards antiquity and traditions.
Contemporary Bulgarian Theatre
Bulgarian theatre has always had one considerable advantage - it doesn’t have centuries-long traditions. First theatrical performances - “Mikhail Mishkoed” in Shumen and “Over-suffering Genoveva” in Lom, hold in 1856 when France already had its Moliere and England - its Shakespeare. This delay that is usually considered negative actually makes Bulgarian theatre more up-to-date like - it’s not in subjection of traditions and authorities, it’s open to interpretations and could use the world’s cultural wealth freely without obeying tradition and without being obliged to guard it. Bulgarian theatre is a lot more adequate to the present-day aspirations of the modern spirit and to the post-modernity’s disobedience of old and forgotten authorities and priorities. It gradually found an adequate language to communicate with the contemporary spectator - a language that is intellectually provocative and emotionally cathartic, a language that speaks in the same time both like the classical rhetoric of Shakespeare and Rassin and the carnival festivity of Renaissance square-shows.
“Theatre of disgrace” which turns every text into a script, always ready, a pencil in hand like, to make latest amendments - this theatre will always remind us where lies the borderline between dead and alive.
Bulgarian puppet theatre is known all over the world. Countries like India and Japan, which have such traditions in puppetry, admire our artistic achievements. For years Bulgarian puppeteers perform on the scenes of these countries and get really impressive responses. Bulgarian puppet theatre is a winner of many international awards and has also won many friends because of the authenticity of Bulgarian puppet’s school – Bulgarian puppet show is a unique combination of masterly puppetry and always surprising improvisation, it is an act of divine inspiration into non-breathing matter and an act of distinction and finally destruction of the subject.
Contemporary Bulgarian Cinema
The films are grouped into several panels according to their subject. Those films, made before 1989 are united under the heading “Cinema - mirror of crisis”. In this group there are films of a very strong impact and very well accomplished like directors’ Grisha Ostrovski and Todor Stoyanov “Side Track” (1967), dir. Binka Zheliaz-kova’s “The Last Word” (1973), dir. Eduard Zakhariev’s “Hare Census” (1973), dir. Liudmil Staykov’s “Time of Violence” (1987), dir. Nikolay Volev’s “Marg-arit and Margarita” (1989).
The second panel unites films, which are made after disruptive 1989. This panel is named “Cinema and post-communist reality” and includes films like “The black swallow”(coo production - Bulgaria/France/Hungary, 1996) by dir. George Diulgerov, “Late Full Moon” (Bulgaria/Hungary, 1996) by dir. Eduard Zahariev, “A Letter to America” (Bulgaria /Holland/ Hungary, 2001) by dir. Iglika Triffonova, “The Devil’s Tail” by dir. Dimitar Petkov, “Emigrants” (2002) by dir. Liudmil Todorov.
The third panel - “Modern classics”, presents some specialties from the Royal film box in Brussels. It’s interesting that the Belgians have actually invented the controversial definition modern classic. The masterpieces of Bulgarian filmmaking are gathered in this panel - dir. Valo Radev’s “ The Peach Thief” (1964), directors’ Todor Dinov and Hristo Hristov “The Iconostasis” (1969), and the all times best Bulgarian film, as Bulgarian cinema community labels it - “The Goat horn” (1972) directed by Metodi Andonov.
The forth panel shall introduce the special guest of Cinematic “Europalia” - the so-called “true classic” Rangel Valchanov and his moving picture “The Unknown Soldier’s Patent Leather Shoes” (1979).
Anry Kulev, considered “universal” as a filmmaker, will also be treated specially at the “Europalia”.
“The Best of Bulgarian Animation” is the headline of the last fifth panel of Bulgarian Cinema Show at the “Europalia”. It includes 13 cartoons, which are to track the “evolution” (and introduce the audience with this process) of Bulgarian cartoon making school that has actually brought Bulgarian cinema most of its world fame and respect. Bulgarian cartoons are known for their graphical accuracy and precision of the line, their subject universality, proverbial philosophy and fine sense of humor that are immensely provocative for elderly audience.
Bulgarian Architects in the Global world
"Bulgarian Architects in the Global World" Exhibition represents Bulgarian architecture at the “Europalia” Festival. The main characteristic of Bulgarian architectural style is that it combines futuristic and traditional features, newly found and well-known techniques, thus achieving a smooth transition from past to future and reaching the desired purity of the form without any sense of alienation or emptiness. No matter what the scope of their projects is, Bulgarian architects always have a certain conception to fallow in the process of creating them and never let lose the philosophical point of view in it all. They try to get as close as possible to plastic art and sculpture, and actually as close as possible to nature. Probably the most exquisite interpretation of this idea is "Inhabitation" - a work of art done by architect Bojko Kadinov and Pavel Kojchev. It is an illustration of the total balance between time and space. As architect Bojko Kadinov believes, architecture also has its Ten Commandments the first of which says: "Philosophy is beyond function and form".
“Europalia” Festival is especially a scene for musical presentations. During the four months long festival in Belgium numerous musicians and musical formations of different distinction in the world of music - in Bulgaria and abroad, have the chance to represent their music works. Some of them are: famous piano-player Liudmil Angelov who played “Piano concert No 3” by Pancho Vladigerov together with the distinguished National Radio Orchestra; quite young George Cherkin and Valya Dervenska; world-wide known Anna Tomova-Sintova and Nikola Giuzelev with young and perspective Ina Kuncheva and Petar Danailov. Bulgarian choral music has its admirers over the world - in Belgium shall sound the voices of the Children Radio Choir, the Mixed Choir of Bulgarian National Television, the Plovdiv’s Women Chamber Choir as well as the “Sofia Soloists” Quartet “Eolina” with conductors Emil Tabakov, Milen Nachev etc.
One thing is certain - “Europalia 2002” introduces predominantly young artists.
Contemporary Bulgarian ballet
Troughout its process of developing Bulgarinan ballet has been at its first steps a fine combination of classical and modern dancing, later on it grew to be predominantly a classical ballet and nowadays it is dominated by the modern dancing techniques. Some typical performances could be mentioned - Atanas Petrov’s “Dragon and Yana”, Maria Dimova’s “Fire dancer”, Margarita Arnaudova’s “The Night Before Eniovden”, “A Root Deep into the Sky” and Antoniya Dokeva’s “Surva”, “Blagovets”, “Enya”, “German”.
Ballet group “Arabesk” takes the initiative to experiment in innovation and pursue a more up-to-day creativity. Ballet dancers from “Arabesk” started a project called “Attack-dance”, which is a display of a creative synthesis between ballet and theatre, a synthesis of “Looking for Versaviya”, etc.). Another experiment in dancing is Neshka Robeva’s theatrical ensemble “Two worlds” (since 12.12.2000), which combines altogether elements of Balkan Folklore dance and eurythmics.
Bulgarian folklore today is a treasury full of a unique variety of treasures. There are locked and guarded the songs of old women from Bistritsa, which are so pure and natural, lacking anything false - and altogether with those songs there is the flirty dialogue of “Philip Kutev” Ensemble and “Sofia Soloists” playing together; there are the clear tones of the music from Dobrudja, tones that are arranged with such a profound accuracy and on the other hand - the wild and messy sound of Ivo Papazov and “Karandila” Orchestra; there is the refine sonority of Vassilka Spasova’s Women Choir from Plovdiv and together with it the combinative dynamics of Teodossii Spasov’s extraordinary performances. In Bulgarian folklore there are combined the classical gracefulness of “Eolina” Quartet and the powerful vibe of Valya Balkanska’s songs, the jazz-folk modifications of Anthony Donchev and “Eva-Quarted”’s pure resounding. But today, in this time of endless symbiosis when so many various combinations of genres are possible we better only point out names of musicians than try to define the music itself or simply name the music after its creators.
The European Contexts of Bulgarian Culture
In the article the actual political aspect of the Bulgaria’ joining /integration/ to the European political formations is distinguished from the problem of the European cultural and civilization identity of Bulgarian culture. Proceeding from Paul Valerie’s definition of Europe as a heir of Ellada, Rome and Christianity, the Christianization of Bulgaria in IX century and the creating of the Slavonic writing and the golden age of the Slavonic literature /as a transplantation of the Byzantine literary norm/ in IX - X centuries are viewed as a joining to the historically formed norm and community of the European culture. The Bulgarian National Revival /as well as the other Balkan ones/ is determined not as a late Renaissance /Rinascimento/ but as Risorgimento inspired by the idea of the nation-state and the national culture as national ideology belonging to the European romantism.
“Dialogic” project has been accomplished by “LIVING INITIATIEF” v.z.w. Belgium and “ARTAMONTSEV” GALERY Bulgaria, and suggested by George Vanev - Vice President of the Flemish Artists Association in Belgium.
The Project’s purpose is to complement Bulgarian culture’s presentation in plastic arts during “Europalia Bulgaria 2002”, held in Belgium Kingdom.
The exhibition will take place from 6 till 22 December 2002 in Langen, Belgium - “RUFFERDINGE”, the main cultural center of Flemish Brabant.
This project offers a meeting with the work of some famous Bulgarian artists - painters, sculptors and photographers, including Dimitar Trukanov, Svilen Blajev, Gredi Assa, Marusya Klimerova, Evgeniya Hristova, Kolyo Karamphilov, Stanislav Pamukchiev, Lachezar Kasabov etc.
The actual scene of plastic arts in Bulgaria could be characterized as a controversy of well-kept tradition, living folklore and the new expressive forms and medias of contemporary art. That’s where the name of our project - “Dialogic”, is coming from.