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Georgi Gospodinov: How the saddest place in the world became the deadliest

Literature has always known it, philosophy has known it, culture has known it, civilization has known it – man is the measure. Not the economy, not the highways, not the restaurants, not the discos, not the jeeps, not the stadiums, not the debts and interest, not even the gross domestic product. It all comes later. Man precisely in his mortality and vulnerability, in his passions and sorrows. And life in all its impermanence.

Only in uneducated societies and systems does human life not cost a penny. In countries where marching people greet those removing from the stands. Or in countries where the persecution of people is first tolerated, then forgotten, and finally awarded orders. In countries where the fire of a dictatorship has passed in order to burn the value of human life to ashes. And more – in countries chaotic, corrupt, simulating democracy.

This is where the whole chain of deaths came from

There are all sorts of possible explanations for today’s failure and chaos in not dealing with the coronavirus. It may be from the stupidity, carelessness and incompetence of those who rule this system. Because suddenly it turned out that the second wave surprised us. In the spring, we claimed that we would use the summer and the time gained to prepare. But someone somewhere in the chain said that enlightened Bulgarian “well, dump it, and so it can be.” Or today’s “Brother, it was like that…”. From such remarks came the foreshadowed death of several people on the stairs in front of hospitals. A person has the right to die with dignity, even when this dignity is constantly denied to him during his lifetime. This is where the whole chain of deaths started, launching us to the top of mortality.

We, who have rarely been collectively the first in the world. Actually, no, we were. We were “the saddest place in the world.” That’s what he called us “Economist” in 2010 in a study. We are now death champions. From the saddest to the deadliest place, the step is not really big.

You cannot be among the first in Europe or in the world in terms of poverty, corruption, dirty air, road deaths, conspiracy theories, and not be the first in a pandemic in terms of mortality. There is no way to lie about death – it is not a European institution to blindfold her. Probably exaggerating and exaggerating, so be it. Although: which is not true? The strange thing is that these things do not frighten us, we have lost the usual reaction in which after such “achievements” a person should experience a complex, no, simple register of emotions – shame, shame first, pain, reflection, mobilization, some move towards coping.

And we will cover up, we will smile or we will take out the Babaite “are march from here, the world will tell me what I am”. And we will enter the opium of the most ancient people, nation, civilization, of the haidouk longings and the Macedonian question… This is always well spent.

But what to look for an explanation when the failure comes in an emergency, faster than an ambulance. At such a time, it is cynical to wave schedules with empty beds and well-thought-out plans, as in late socialism, wholesale and direction. The question is not in the beds – if it was up to that, there are beds in IKEA as well. Where are the schedules and places for vaccination, halls, covered spaces. Where are the minister’s explanations for this ultra-high mortality rate? Why were we late? Where is our enlightened understanding as a society in which half do not believe in the virus, in masks, in vaccines.

The man, you fool. Life, fool.

In 1992, Clinton coined the phrase “The economy, you fool!” But 1992 is already infinitely far away and the world is in a completely different crisis and drama. Largely because he was mesmerized only by economic growth at all costs. The words are completely different now: “Man, fool!” Even that is long gone, as we watch reports of gassed millions of minks, endangered species and melting ice to teach us that everything is one. That is why the words should be: “Life, fool!”.

Ten years ago, in the midst of the economic crisis, I tried to say that we are not just made up of economics and politics, that there are other, invisible crises lurking, but we never talk about them because governments and the media are mostly sensitive. financially. The existential, like culture, they consider a trifle. If our government and society (both together) had a different sensitivity, we would not be witnessing what is happening here and now. Not in this helplessness, not in this chaos. Apathy or empathy – that’s the question.

Author: Georgi Gospodinov, DW