The Ataka party is the newest jewel in the crown of the Bulgarian democracy. I have devoted an earlier post to it and its fuhrer Volen Siderov (http://mayas-corner.blogspot.com/2006/04/volen-siderov.html).
The youngest member of the parliamentary group of the Ataka party is the student Dimitar Stoyanov. He is grandson of the late satirical writer Radoi Ralin, whose short poems mocking the Communist reality had made him a legend. He is also an informal stepson of Volen Siderov. (Stoyanov's mother has divorced his father, Radoi Ralin's son, and is now living with Siderov). You guess that with such relations, the young man's personal qualities were hardly decisive for his political career.
Last year, the election campaign in my district, Zaharna fabrika, was shaped by an ugly crime. A crowd of Gipsies attacked partying Bulgarians and beat to death one of them. Then, Ataka made a series of rallies in the district, gathering Bulgarian audience and supplying anti-Gipsy talk to it. Of course I didn't take part in these rallies, neither did my husband, but my mother in-law attended most of them. I know from her that Stoyanov was a regular speaker and was "talking very well". Indeed, she added, there was another student who was talking equally well, if not better, yet the party didn't include him in its parliamentary group. I commented that the other student had no famous grandfather and no mother sleeping with Volen Siderov, so his rhetorical abilities weren't enough to catapult him into the Parliament.
Later, Stoyanov was sent to the European Parliament as an observer. And here comes the present scandal. You can read a short version in English at http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/observer-from-bulgaria-causes-european-parliament-scandal/id_17938/catid_68. However, the report at http://www.dnes.bg/article.php?id=27977 (in Bulgarian, but look at it anyway to see Stoyanov's photo) is much more juicy, so I'm translating below.
"Two days after the EU decided about Bulgarian membership, Ataka MP Dimitar Stoyanov managed to create a racist scandal in the European Parliament... Invited to support the nomination of Hungarian member of Parliament of Roma origin Livia Jaroka for a human rights award, Stoyanov sent to his colleagues an e-mail to explain why he was against it.
Here is the text of the e-mail: "In my country, there are tens of thousands of Gipsy girls, much more beautiful than this respectable lady. In fact, if you are at the right place in the right time, you can even buy one (aged 12-13) to make her your loving wife. The best of them are very expensive - up to EUR 5000... Let's return to Miss Laroka's nomination. Believe me, I've seen many Gipsy women, but all of them at her age were much leaner. Doesn't she share the terrible suffering Roma people throughout Europe have to endure, the poverty, miserable conditions and unemployment?..."
...The mailbox of the Bulgarian observers was flooded by dozens of angry e-mails... In response, Siderov's stepson sent out a second e-mail presumed to be an apology. However, the scandal's author added to his apology accusation to the members of the European Parliament. Here is the text: "In the 21st century, to accuse somebody in racism is the gravest insult. According to Bulgarian law, if somebody is insulted and replies with an insult, charges against both can be dropped. I think this is what happened. Once again, I offer my sincere apology to Miss Livia Laroka... But I also feel insulted because I am not a racist, I am proud to be a Bulgarian, a member of Parliament and observer...""
No comment needed, I think.
By the way, my mother in-law first heard the story from me. Her reaction: "Unfortunately, this isn't very surprising. There are even rumours he is taking drugs."
It seems to be true that you cannot deceive people indefinitely!