If They Have No Bread, Let Them Go Skiing in Austria

Editorial |Author: Irina Samokovska | June 19, 2012, Tuesday // 14:00|  views

Many Bulgarians probably woke up Tuesday and switched on their TVs and started wondering why they were seeing Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov commenting on a piece of highly controversial environmental legislation.

The ones who started wondering did not have to wait long for their answer – the faux pas generator went full steam in no time. Blunder after blunder, after blunder, after blunder, all in a semi-coherent stream of consciousness, served on a topic not even remotely related to Rashidov's portfolio. Question is, if Ministers keep filling the funny newspaper sections and TV programs rather than the pages and programs devoted to their line of work, do they still count as Ministers? Or as infotainment?

Commenting on a set of amendments to Bulgaria's Forestry Act facilitating the construction of ski lifts and runs without a change of land use, the Culture Minister argued that three days of mass protests at the Orlov Bridge junction had been "some 100-200 people turning the lives of 2 million Sofianites into a nightmare". "Unacceptable!"

He went on to say that the protesters had been wearing suspiciously nice T-shirts and carrying suspiciously nice posters "that must have cost a pretty penny."Rashidov spent some 4-5 sentences evasively elaborating on the idea of covert sponsors of the environmental activists.

Then he rushed to assure people: "Nothing to worry about – retired citizens will have their forests to stroll up. It won't be like, the whole forest disappearing, but there need to be facilities."

And then came the cr?me de la cr?me: "I cannot afford to send my grandchildren skiing in Austria all the time, it is a little too costly," Rashidov remarked, straight after which he admitted that ski holidays in Austria were cheaper than in Bulgaria and noted that he wanted the two girls to be able to practice their beloved winter sports in Vitosha so that they could drop by their grandfather's nearby house for a cup of tea.

To the people lacking background knowledge, who may have failed to spot Rashidov's impudence on first hearing, it should be specified that the over-construction in Bulgarian Black Sea resorts and Bulgarian mountain resorts made both summer and winter vacations  too expensive for ordinary locals. The star-studded, all-inclusive holiday villages turned unaffordable for a wide majority of Bulgarians and increasingly inhospitable for foreigners due to the noise and congestion.

To cut the long story short, while it was obvious that last week's protesters were painting their posters in front of the cameras of a number of media outlets, it still remains obscure what keeps propping up Rashidov at his job after series of widely-publicized indecencies. Mr. Rashidov, it is not Bulgaria's environmentally-minded youths who are wearing suspiciously nice "T-shirts", it is you who are occupying too nice a post!

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Tags: Vezhdi Rashidov, Culture Minister, Forestry Act, environmentalists, environmental activists, winter resorts, seaside resorts


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