“I do not read Bivol; it is not worth it.” This is how the leader of the Party of European Socialists (PES) and of the Bulgarian Socialist (Communist) Party, (BSP – BKP), Sergey Stanishev answered a journalist’s question, asking him to comment on his own wife’s use of European Parliament’s money and if he saw any conflict of interest in it. Such a response does not surprise us. It has become a cliché for arrogant politicians when Bivol’s publications reveal uncomfortable truths about them. Former Prime Minister and leader of GERB, Boyko Borisov, at the zenith of his infinite power in May 2011, offered a similarly clumsy and arrogant response. Bivol published then for the first time the report of the U.S. Embassy about his dark criminal past associated with fuel smuggling, money laundering and drug trafficking. The information, verified by the CIA, was signed by Ambassador John Beyrle. Although the veracity of the report was not denied by the American side, Borisov shamelessly pretended he was immune from the journalistic discovery and believed that propaganda in mainstream media will polish his image for Bulgarian and international public opinion. This was, actually, the beginning of his end.
The now-ruling neo-feudal is someone else, but the situation is the same. Mainstream media are still the same, i.e. the old loudspeakers of GERB propaganda currently serve with the same “oral” fervor Stanishev’s new Three-Way Coalition, following the instructions of the tandem Vassilev – Peevski. Lower class, as a hereditary aristocrat of spirit would say. The lack of creativity in Borisov’s and Stanishev’s reactions reveals not only their mental symbiosis and common political genetics, but their cynical impotence to be real and authentic leaders who operate on national rather than personal context. Well, the one does not read “tabloids,” and for the other to even pay attention to us is beneath his dignity. From Stanishev’s and Borisov’s “lip–sync” Bivol’s horns can only spike. What’s worse is that the disgraceful simplicity of such attempts of those in power to neglect the obvious, but uncomfortable, journalistic expression seems demeaning to our homegrown political theater. The example is tasteless, cynical and non-European to the scale of being a totalitarian syndrome. Time, as an eternal and fair judge, however, inevitably cures, though painfully, similar symptoms of political amnesia, coupled with the manic syndrome of eternity and infallibility.
We cannot overlook the fact that the “ready-made” gaffe of the leader of PES absolutely reveals irreconcilable conflict of interest – and not just anywhere, but in his own family. As householder, Sergey considers Bivol worthless, while the guardian of the family hearth has a totally opposite opinion and attitude towards our humble media. Although being the subject of our journalistic investigation and directly affected by our work, Monica did not hesitate to express her imperatively positive attitude towards Bivol. In a phone conversation with our editor, despite her strong commitment to her children, Ms. Stanisheva, completely consciously and deliberately, was quite clear about her great respect for the site, for our work, for our perseverance and courage to stand up to the moral, professional and human principles of journalism:
Atanas Tchobanov, Bivol editor: … If you want I’ll send you … or you can send a short text message (SMS) with your email…
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M.Y.: Yes, I will send you … I … I respect your opinion, because you wrote about some people at the time when no one said anything, so…
A.T.: Well, the times have changed, but our principles remain the same, so…
M.Y.: Well, this is the most important. I think this is the most precious thing; whatever the times… Yeah, whatever…
A.T.: Thank you.
M.Y.: We agreed; I will send you my number now.
A.T.: I am expecting it, thanks, good day.
M.Y.: You too have a nice day.
And we thank her for the credit of trust, if it is genuine. Having PR background is something else though! But as the old song says: “Maybe, but maybe not…” We still don’t know why Monica Yosifova failed to fulfill her promise, which she reiterated many times, to provide answers to the questions we had for her? Why she did not even sent an email address, as she also promised, to exchange correspondence? We cannot be sure, but we can only guess that there was a strong clash caused by conflict of interest between Monica and Sergey in the family nucleus; between the masculine and the feminine; between the one who reads and respects Bivol and the other who despises this noble animal; between the realism of the experienced wife and the blindness of the “Sun Politician”; between common sense and hot feelings… But let’s not overdo opposites as we might get all the way to comrade Dzerzhinsky. Did the masculine prevail in this titanic clash of values? We can only speculate because Monica never called. It is understandable if she has chosen Sergei to some cattle. We only hope Bivol had not caused a serious family conflict in this bitter conflict of interest saga! However, gradually and slowly, the soft and the feminine always wins at the end – so said Lao Tzu while he was riding his white buffalo to the land of free speech.
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