Volen, the Illiterate Journalist and Politician Yuliana METODIEVA
No one knows whether the readers of the Ataka newspaper, published by the nationalists and with circulation still unable to reach the number of viewers of the SKAT TV network, perceive their leader as a cultural phenomenon. It is true that his articles seem dense with information, always abundant with messages, but his followers would hardly question his intellectual abilities and sophistication. Not that they need to. Volen Siderov’s politics and journalism boil with a mixture of Balkan bad-temperedness and pub-like belligerence. Figuratively speaking, he is capitalizing on this tendency to bristle in a “who the hell are you” style. At his rallies, the public manifestation of these methods is recorded by foreign TV cameras, sending a message that “these” will be part of the European Union. I would like to remind you that, as a rule, Volen Siderov is either pointing out the culprits for the decommissioning of blocks 3 and 4 of the nuclear power plant, collecting signatures against the deployment of US military bases in Bulgaria and the mindless war in Iraq, or throwing fresh bait in the form of new data about gypsy “crime” and corruption within the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. At Christmas, Volen surpassed himself. His article “War is waged against Christ since his birth” is voluminous and richly illustrated. Apart from the God-loving picture captioned, “The Jewish leaders were the first and most malicious ones in the war against Christ”, the newspaper also includes – obviously at the author’s insistence – a copy of the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, adopted by consensus by the European Convention on July 13, 2003. Siderov summarizes his ideology in the subtitle: “The latest achievement of the enemies of our faith is the European Constitution, which denounces any referral to Christian values”. That is enough. This is not something new to Ataka’s foreign policy rhetoric. By the way, the intolerance manifested by Siderov’s ultra-right supporters to non-Christian Turkey’s EU accession is comparable to a recent statement by Ivan Kostov, who proposed that Bulgaria should oppose our southern neighbor’s membership in the European Union! Volen’s huge article does contain news, though. The news is not in the loud blabber of his next declaration of loyalty to Orthodox Christianity and his intolerance to the Jews. By the way, the publication on the eve of the presidential elections of a photo of Siderov together with prominent Holocaust deniers prompted many observers to recall the blatant compilation of anti-Semitic texts (mostly from Russian chernosotnik authors) on the 1 OBEKTIV
“worldwide conspiracy of the Jews” in his book The Boomerang of Evil. No. On the eve of 2007, the article “War is waged against Christ since his birth” is an exceptional manifestation of something that the author obviously has not even suspected. This is a text in which the simpleminded and disgraceful illiteracy of a man whose CV includes some years of study at a theological department screams to be noted. For several reasons. “Christ’s first enemies”, writes Siderov, “are the Jewish Pharisees who actually embraced a chauvinistic and anti-human doctrine of supremacy and hatred for any-
one who was not a Jew”. This quote unlocks the whole profanity of the author’s subsequent arguments, which for political reasons undoubtedly, are even expressed as subheadings. For example, immediately after the above quote, there are several sentences on “the annihilation of God’s Son”, “the vile hatred against the Savior”. Then, the following text appears in bold letters: “The first language of hatred in the world is the language of the Jewish leaders” /!/ I would like to present several more quotations that give away Volen Siderov’s educational deficits and creative crisis. “We should be aware,” writes Volen, “that we are not talking about a
specific ethnic group, but about communities united by an elitist, anti-human and anti-divine doctrine, aimed at ruling the world by assuming control of its material riches”. And a final quote: “This community has transformed itself through the ages from Pharisees and Sadducees, to different oligarchic circles, which even today meet periodically in luxury resorts to decide who and how to have control on the markets, the resources and the fate of millions around the world”. I am greatly embarrassed that I had to present the above “bullshit” to the readers of Obektiv. The reason why I did it is because of the disturbing circumstance that Volen Siderov’s anti-Semitic propaganda passes through the Holy Scriptures. In the beginning of the 21st century, reading the Bible in the manner of a newborn party activist is comparable only to the Marxist and Leninist methods used at Sofia University, where the Torah, the Gospels and the Koran were all called (if ever mentioned!) “literary texts”. “Texts” written by a human hand and not “inspired by God”. Naturally, the communist professors could use the “divine discourse” of the Old Testament as a basis for their arguments about the human exploitation in the Roman Empire, the blood-thirsty and aggressive character of the first Jewish kingdoms, as well as on the mind-blowing vice in Egypt, accompanied by profligacy, greed, and the cruel inequality of women. I am afraid that some Bulgarian university professors1 still present the sacred narratives in THIS way. I also suspect that the categories that Philo of Alexandria2 spoke about while interpreting these narratives have remained forever unknown to this type of “scientists”, remnants of the Marxist-Leninist propaganda. I even think that quite a few professors, for example,
Here, I do not refer to professors at the Sofia University, such as Milena Kirova and her study The Biblical Woman, or Dr. Moni Alamalech of the New Bulgarian University and his book Color and Speech. 2 The Jewish-Greek philosopher Philo of Alexandria /d. 50 AD/ came up with the hypothesis that Genesis, Exodus and all the remaining books of the Torah needed to be read in two ways realistic and theological. A sufficient number of Old Testament texts have been accumulated after him, which include hermeneutic logic that excludes a “human” explanation for the divine wholeness of the holy scrolls. 1
at the Center for Eastern Languages and Cultures or the above-mentioned Theological Department, hardly know the teachings of the medieval philosopher Joachim of Fiore. I would only point out that Joachim represents a decisive turn3 in medieval Bible exegesis, mostly on account of modifying and supplementing the many meanings of the Scriptures (the most classical one, exemplified by Dante, for instance, is the so-called theory of the four meanings - literal, moral, allegorical and anagogic). But let me go back to Siderov’s writing impulses in the article published on the eve of Christmas. Besides the repulsive rhetoric against the Jews and the purposefully stupid “interpretation” of the Bible, Volen has added something else as well. By reproaching en passant the Draft European Constitution for referring in its Preamble to abstract “humanist but not Christian principles”, he broaches another favorite topic for the pseudo-educated patriots - the Thracians. Just like the late Lyudmila Zhivkova and Alexander Fol, and the prolific historian Bozhidar Dimitrov, Volen Siderov considers it especially important “to remind” the readers of Ataka about the key role of Constantine the Great in the development of Christianity. Siderov writes in bold letters once again: “Constantine the Great is of Thracian-Bulgarian origin he was born in Nish. He legitimated Christianity and gave it a spur as a state religion for the ages to come. Byzantium (41 of whose 87 emperors were of Thracian-Bulgarian origin) became the state of the conquering Christian faith...,” etc. The stupidity of the author of this article is amazing. Reading the prophetic discourse without its cosmic and divine wholeness, extracting literal comments from the Gospels in order to shower the readers with primitive anti-Judaism is such an insult to any true believer that the semi-educated, self-centered Volen Siderov could never imagine. The concoction of ravings that “today the war against Christ is waged mainly against Orthodox Christianity”, about the European Constitution which was “drafted in order to get the antiEuropean country Turkey in [the EU]”, about the Thracians, proto-Bulgarians, the oligarchic interests of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, plus (for some flavor) demonization of the Internet for “proclaiming” the Savior doctrine obsolete, is a manifestation of more than a diagnosis. A diagnosis for the writing and political attempts of someone who rarely reads, is an ignorant and poorly educated person, mixing tabloids with the Holy Scriptures, who is intoxicated and obsessed with some past Bulgarian grandeur, while at the same time - unfortunately - has assumed the second place in the party ratings of modern political life.
3 See After Christianity, Gianni Vatimo, Kritika i humanizam, 2006, p. 43.