Thursday, May 24, 2007

Defending the indefensible

Sometimes things happen that force you to make descisions and complete actions that are difficult. One of the greatest threats to our way of life and our freedoms is to refuse to defend them. We have standards, that if they are not upheld depart. Thus it was that I found myself supporting the publication of the Danish Cartoons. In a similar way, though I am no supporter of the Vlaams Blok, I believed it was utterly wrong of the Belgian government to attempt to close them down through the courts. Beat them at the hustings, destroy their view with arguement not legal plaints.

Another case has come up that makes me act. It is the case of Dimitar Stoyanov, newly elected MEP from the Ataka Party in Bulgaria and the man who set of a storm of complaint due to his bad taste comments about Lívia Jároká a Roma MEP.

Today the European Parliament's internal newswire - Newshound - has sent through a complete list of the winners in last Sunday's Bulgarian Elections, (about which I have already posted).

Atanas Paparizov (PES), 55 — ex-chair of Bulgaria's EU relations committee
Bilyana Raeva (SIINM), 36 [NEW] — worked five years in a Brussels-based NGO
Vladimir Uruchev (GERB) [NEW] — nuclear engineer
Vladko Panayotovski (MRF), 57 [NEW] — geology professor
Dessislav Chukolov (Ataka), 33 [NEW] — IT specialist with a degree in European studies
Dimitar Stoyanov (Ataka), 24 — Bulgaria's youngest MEP, famous for his racist remarks about a Roma MEP last year
Dushana Zdravkova (GERB), 53 [NEW] — judge
liyana Yotova (PES), 42 [NEW] — former TV presenter
Evgeni Kirilov (PES), 62 — vice-chair of EP regional committee
Kristiyan Vigenin (PES), 32 — head of the Bulgarian PES delegation

Mariela Baeva (MRF), 43 [NEW] — consultant and novelist
Marusya Lyubcheva (PES), 58 — chemistry professor
Metin Kazak (MRF), 35 — international and European lawyer
Nikolay Mladenov (GERB), 35 [NEW] — founder and first director of the European institute in Sofia and former world bank consultant
Petya Stavreva (GERB), 30 [NEW] — journalist
Rumyana Zheleva (GERB), 38 [NEW] — professor in European studies
Slavcho Binev (Ataka) [NEW] — nightclub owner and anti-Mafia figures
Filiz Hyusmenova (MRF), 41 — leader of the ethnic Turkish party

In the light of this description I have sent the editor the following email,

In the piece you sent round today concerning the Bulgarian election results,
Newshound discusses Dimitar Stoyanov thus "Bulgaria's youngest MEP, famous
for his racist remarks about a Roma MEP last year".

I have no wish to defend Mr Stoyanov's remarks at that time, nor indeed his remarks at all, if he told me that the world was round, I would need to check.

Racism is a criminal offence. I do not recall that Mr Stoyanov was charged as such. If
what you say is true he could be arrested by the Belgian authorities for his email the moment he left the Parliament. This has not happened.

Yes his remarks were in bad taste, yes they were certainly controversial. However your own standards must require that you do not make criminal allegations, you are taxpayer funded. Those that voted for Mr Stoyanov are taxpayers and as such he as their representative deserves the courtesy that all elected members of the European Parliament should expect from the Parliamentary staff.

I request that you reconsider the wording of your article
On a related note the description of his colleague Slavcho Binev will have them rolling in the aisles in downtown Sofia.
There has been a change to the website
"Dimitar Stoyanov (Ataka), 24 — Bulgaria's youngest MEP, famous for his remarks about a Roma MEP last year which most (but not all) civilised people found ill-judged, racist and highly offensive "
Not sure what to make of that.


Drama Queen said...

Thank you for the visit. And thanks for nice words. I promise to write something blonde next week that you can take the piss out of. Thus restoring the balance.

JolietJake said...

Nightclub owner and anti-mafia person?? a remarkable man, he will surely make a valuable contribution to our glorious union. Do you think he knows any debt collectors? They could help out in the anti-fraud unit.

Anonymous said...

Please English expats come live in our country, please don't speak our language, please dear expats don't pay taxes in Belgium, please create your own self-referencing world around you...and please do tell us how to reign our country...
I can see your point about the 'Vlaams Blok' but you're pushing your luck...defending the indefensible.(written by a belgian so 'mes excuses' for the not so eloquent use of the 'noble' language :-)

Elaib said...

DQ, you are so kind,
Interesting chap indeed, he willk suit the place splendidly
Ceci mon blog, c'est propertie privee, et dans la langue de mon choix, mais j'aime bien votre pays. Et ma femme parle Vlaams. Donc,
Tes excuses ne sont pas necessaire. Sorry for my bad French. Oh and yes I have paid taxes in Belgium, yes I spend plenty of money here and yes I do think you ae badly governed, but of course you are about to have elections so the future is in your hands.

The Aunt said...

I love the way Anonymous people remain anonymous and think their comments are even worth responding to, which response I applaud btw sah.

Not that I'm not anonymous behind my blog identity, but inasmuch as I am anonymous, I'm not anonymous. People know where to find me. Besides, Eliab knows me in TRW, so I'm not anonymous to him, and generally if we disagree, which is all the time, he buys me a pint. Or I buy him one. We don't leave bitter little messages on each other's blogs.

Comme tous les expats en Belgique y compris les fonctionnaires européens, je paie plusieurs taxes en Belgique, je parle français depuis l'age de 5 ans, en ook Vlaams, en ik heb 3 jaren met een Belgische man die werkt niet bij Europa gewoont.

Anonymous said...

The Newshound wasn't unique in calling Stoyanov a racist



Elaib said...

The difference is of course is that is a news agency that is not run by Civil Servants. Newshound is run by Parliamentary staff who have a duty to treat all elected members equally, with no let or favour.
I am interested that it also has a slightly different take upon the nightclub owner.

Anonymous said...