Bulgarians always ask why Bulgaria is such a corrupt country, why the people never like the government and why the government never does something for the people. The answer is very simple, but it needs sometimes a lot of time to find exactly the simple answers.
Let’s look at the last period of the history of Bulgaria – the time after the middle ages. In the middle ages it was the biggest country in Europe and together with the East Roman Empire one of the most important countries in world. After a very strong cultural period in the 9th and 10th centuries in was conquered by the East Roman Empire for almost two centuries. After that came the time of the Crusades. There were more than 14 such. Those had the aim not only to free the holy city Jerusalem from the Muslim people, but also to destroy the orthodox Christianity. Thus, the Crusades concentrated on conquering Bulgaria and the East Roman Empire, which were the two strongholds of the orthodox Christianity. They managed to destroy the East Roman Empire, Bulgaria survived. But can you imagine all those millions of people coming to your country and devastating everything? This happened in Bulgaria at this time. The country and the nation survived, but they were not the same any more. Without the East Roman Empire the weakened country was conquered by the Turks and ruled for five centuries till the end of the 19 century. After that the country was free, but ruled from foreigners – the German Sachs-Coburg-Gotha dynasty. After this period came the rule of the communists.
As you can see, Bulgaria was not free or had weak goverment for more than 11 centuries! The people and the nation are used to be ruled by people who they can’t and don’t want to trust. Even now, as a free republic Bulgaria can’t cope with the lack ot trust in the goverment and its official institutions. And that is pretty normal. You can’t expect to obtain back the trust of the people in some 20 years after not having this for a millennium. That’s pretty normal! The Bulgarian folk will need a lot of time to overcome this lack of trust. And this is not a Bulgarian phenomenon. It is typical for all of the southern countries in Europe, which were ruled for centuries by foreign forces.
A typical example is the South of Italy – Sicilia, Campania and so on. These states were ruled by foreign forces for centuries. The rulers haven’t done anything for the people there and they took everything they can. The people there build a kind of mistrust against everything coming from outside. They trust only themselves. The life style of “omerta” is still dominating their life. Omerta means silence. It means that people stay together and closed against foreigners and ruling forces. They never help the ruling side, because it has never done something good for them. These parts of the country are very poor and there is a strong mafia there. The mafia uses the omerta. People prefer the mafia and not the Italian government because it is built from their own folk. They prefer to be killed and misused from the mafia, but to stay together and obey the law of omerta.
Pretty much the same is in Albania, but there the omerta goes more in direction vendetta.
You can see this in Malta as well. There are not such problems as mafia, vendetta or strong corruption, but people still stay together. You can even hardly find a Maltese restaurant, because people eat at home. It is extremely different as a foreigner to start a contact with locals.
Not to mention the conflict in Cyprus.
There are such situations even in central Europe. Slovakia was ruled for centuries by foreign forces. The reaction of the people there is to enclose themselves as well. Slovakia is still a country where 43% of the people live in the villages and the traditional local culture is still well preserved. A really unique percentage for a country in Europe!
As you can see sometimes the problems lie quite deep into the mind of people and are hard to solve. But it is possible. The first step is to understand the problem and then to start the change. To start to trust!