Conference Invitation: The Endured European Dream of Bulgaria 1944-1989
Invitation to a conference: ” The Endured European Dream of Bulgaria 1944-1989″
I think this is an event worth the time as it aims at paying tribute to those suffered by the communist dictatorship and also at showing that in Bulgaria there was a significant resistance against communism – a regime that destroyed the political, economic and cultural elite of the country. The Program and a Short description of the conference you can see here.
Bulgarian opposition to the communist regime remains virtually unknown in Europe. The reason for this is that Bulgarian society has a highly ambivalent attitude towards its totalitarian past and it prefers to forget, rather than face it. During the communist times thousands of people lost their lives, others spent years in communist labor camps and prisons, while others, such as the Bulgarian Muslims, were subject to forced deportation. These traumatic events were veiled by the collective amnesia of society during the first years of Bulgarian transition from totalitarianism to democracy.
Even today Bulgarian society lacks consensus as regards its newest history after the World War Two. What happened during the communism. Was it right? Was there resistance and how did the comunist dictatorship deal with the dissenters and dissidents, with the minorities and all those who did not want to be servile sattlites to the USSR? We still have to answer these overdue questions.
At the same time, the recent declassification of the archives of the former communist secret services has resulted in an “archival revolution” and in a renewed interest of certain parts of the society in the communist past. Is this a sign of deep transformation or will this debate remain but a subject for academic discussions? Could a society, disinterested in its past, take part in the endeavours of the European Union to establish and defend global standards of human rights and human dignity?
These issues will be the focal point of the discussion at the round table The Endured European Dream of Bulgaria (1944-1989) Communism organized by Dr. Andrey Kovachev on 17 November 2010 . Within the first panel victims of the communist regime, representatives of different political views, generations and ethnic groups, will give their personal accounts of their opposition to the regime and of their sufferings in the communist labor camps and prisons.
The second panel will focus on the ways in which Bulgarian society interprets its totalitarian past. Within this panel researchers, representatives of the Commission for the State Security Archives, and journalists, will be considering the reasons for the collective “amnesia” and the prospects of overcoming it. Finally, the round table will present the results from the archival research project “The Bulgarian Wall”, the aim of which is to present the role of the Bulgarian border during the communist period as an extension of the Berlin wall, revealing cases of many people, Bulgarians and others, who tried to cross the border and flee to the West.