Sofia, May 22, 2003 - Today's edition of the second by circulation and influence newspaper in Bulgaria 24 Chasa published an inflammatory article against the Roma. It was written by Prof. Ognian Saparev, Dean of the Plovdiv State University and MP from the Coalition for Bulgaria (a parliamentary faction of the Bulgarian Socialist Party).
In the article entitled "The Gypsy Conspiracy of the White Color" Prof. Saparev claims that Roma should live in ghettoes since they do not comply with the laws of the society.
The reason for the article is the situation with the electricity in Plovdiv's Roma ghetto Stolipinovo (where more than 40 000 Roma live). For more than two months the inhabitants of the ghetto have lived under a severe schedule for providing them with electricity. They do not have electricity during the day, but only during the nights. The reason for these severe restrictions is the debt the inhabitants must pay to the State Company that provides them with electricity.
According to the author's point of view nevertheless that some people speak about oppressing of the minority (the author has in mind the Roma minority) in Bulgaria the situation often is the opposite. A number of minorities make use of strange tribe privileges and blackmail the majority. The problem is the flirtation of the authority with them. And Europe supports that flirtation because it would not like the Roma to run away there. Because of it Europe supports the concern about the Roma and gives money to swindling foundations. Further the author states that in a result of that flirtation a specific ethnopsychology has been created. A Romani man knows that he is able to breach the law without any punishment and because of it he does not pay.
The author claims that because of their tribe peculiarities the Roma lead sponger life and they have insolent behaviour. The vast majority of Roma, according to Saparev's view, do not have any desire to work. It is because their special ethnic peculiarities. They do not have any desire to be integrated, said the author. Another reason for the behaviour of Roma, in his opinion, is the circumstance that they think the theft is a heroic action.
Mr. Saparev states the Roma should live in ghettoes because these who do not want to conform with the laws of the human community in fact want fences to be built around their neighbourhoods.
It is a while since a similar article has appeared in the Bulgarian media. There is nothing new in the statements of Professor Ognian Saparev. Similar defamations have been said on many occasions.
Local elections are coming and obviously Mr. Saparev wants to attract as many as possible voters in Plovdiv. But indeed a lot of people believe that the politicians had abandoned similar means in their pre-election competition.
Human Rights Project expresses its deep outrage at the blatantly racist claims of Mr. Saparev. We call on the leadership of the Bulgarian Socialist Party to demarcate themselves from the statements of Prof. Saparev. We call on all politicians and public persons to express their indignation from the article of Mr. Saparev.
On behalf of HRP: