Saturday, April 02, 2016

Bulgaria's vigilante migrant 'hunter'

"Fear of migrants has become a powerful focal point for popular discontent about many unrelated problems, according to Haralan Alexandrov a social anthropologist at the New Bulgarian University, who says Bulgarians are no more or less xenophobic than any other Europeans.
Corruption, poverty, disappointment with EU membership, Bulgaria's dysfunctional judicial system and the failure to reform it - all these make Bulgarians angry, he says.
'Instead of focusing your anger against the powerful judiciary, it's easier to attack the terrified refugees hiding in the weeds. You sense that something is wrong with the world and somebody must be blamed, so you choose the weaker target,' he explains.
There is also historical trauma. Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire for some 500 years until 1878, and nationalist propaganda has programmed Bulgarians to view every representative of the Islamic world as a potential rapist and terrorist, Alexandrov says - a perception exacerbated by the recent bombings next door in Turkey."

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