Bulgaria's Universities under Anti-Govt Siege - For and Against

Expert Voices |Author: Milena Hristova | November 1, 2013, Friday // 11:06|  views

Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

In recent days, Bulgaria’s capital Sofia has witnessed occupation of university buildings that have injected new life into a persistent anti-government movement. But professors are divided in two camps as to how right and efficient this type of protest is.

Alexander Kyosev: Bulgaria is in emergency situation!

Alexander Kyosev is a cultural historian, professor at Sofia University, which has been under anti-governmental siege since last week. Professors do not have access to the building and the educational process is practically stopped.

"It is clear for the whole Bulgarian society that the current political order is based on lies. Politicians get elected at key posts only to serve shady interests. These are the political arguments for the occupation movement, which supports none of the existing parties.

Protestors call for the resignation of the government, but the word "resignation" here stands for something much more important. When they chant "resignation", protestors want to say they won't stand the status quo any longer. The main argument for the protest is that the Bulgarian citizens have had enough and are disgusted. The protest is not about parties, education levels. It does not matter whether the sight is ugly or beautiful.

The protest sends one message - we have had enough, the word "resignation" indicates exactly this. Bulgaria's institutions do not operate normally and people have the right to rise up in protest. It is not possible to have a normal educational process in a country, which is everything but normal. What will come next is a matter of democratic developments. In an emergency situation it is impossible to have a clear vision about the future."

Nikolay Gochev:  Do protestors have higher morality?

Nikolay Gochev is professor of ancient Greek culture and literature, translator of ancient philosophical texts.

"Let's see who does what in this situation. A handful of citizens have decided that the universities will remain closed for a certain period of time. We should understand who the citizens are and what their responsibility is and make sure they are held responsible later.

Now let's look at the numbers. I would say protestors really represent Sofia University if they were at least one third of all 25 000 enrolled there. May be not everyone is able to turn up at the protest every day, but still we need to see at least 8000-10 000 protestors at the occupation of Sofia University to take them seriously and truly representative.

Sofia University Academic Council includes scores of people - not many, but enough. Besides they are entitled to represent the people from the university . So this body is the official and undisputed representative of the whole University.  So let's hear what the Academic Council thinks, let it say what is happening at the university.

But it is not only a matter of quantity, it is a matter of quality too. What are the personal qualities of the people, who initiated the occupation of the university? It is too risky to say that only people from the elite of the university should have the final say. But do protestors have higher morality? Protestors should be very careful what they say when speaking publicly, this is what defines them best."

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Tags: protests, blockade, occupation, lecture hall, Sofia University, protesters, Plamen Oresharski, Constitutional Court, Delyan Peevski, corruption, students, occupation, occupied, blockades, Socialist-led government, protests, teachers, Bulgaria, science, culture, education, National Enlighteners Day, march, students


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