what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Friday, August 25, 2017

"Bridge of Friendship" interview

I’m “chuffed” at being the focus of a long interview published this week by a young Bulgarian journalist – on a bi-lingual venture called Bridge of Friendship, Vlad Mitev is based in Russe - which boasts the bridge of that name (over the Danube) – and uses his location to write in Bulgarian and Romanian (and often in English) about various aspects of his region. Not only economic (his original focus) but cultural aspects come within his remit. In this cross-border focus, he is quite exceptional… and deserves support.

I had been intrigued by his blog and we had met up earlier in the summer – in Russe – on my way back to Bucharest which is, of course, a mere 60 kms from the Danube and Bulgaria and it was there he sprung on me his idea of an extended interview. Hardly the shy and retiring type, I was only too happy to oblige….
Behind his modest facade, he’s a tough cookie and soon made it clear he would take no diversionary nonsense from me as, inevitably, I tried to move the discussion into more familiar waters…..For Vlad I was merely an intriguing specimen of a Brit who had apparently opted to make his home in both Bulgaria and Romania and he wanted to explore not so much my reasons for this - as my impressions of the two countries and their differences; and any thoughts I might have about the scope for more cooperation… 

One would have to be a bit insensitive to straddle two countries without gaining some impressions – which, of course, always say more about the visitor and his values than the “natives”. And the more countries I have lived in (almost twelve I think) the more fascinated I have become with cultural aspects (in the widest sense). 
It’s not just history and the language which poses a problem at the Danube – it’s the very alphabet! So it’s hardly surprising that people say that people tend to turn their backs to one another at the river. For a few weeks, a couple of years ago, I entertained the thought of helping to develop a cross-border project based on cultural aspects – but simply could not drum up enough interest from my (admittedly limited) networks….. 

The interview gave me full rein for hyperlinks - and a list at the end gives full access to key texts…...

Earlier in the year I tried to celebrate the principle of bridge building – across the boundaries which divide groups – not just nations – but classes, intellectual disciplines and professions. At an early age, I found myself a lot in “no-man’s land” operating a fairly solitary role but, ultimately, one which offered me exciting new perspectives. But it was, apparently, a central European saying that “the problem with bridges is that horses shit on them in peacetime and they are the first thing to be blown up in times of war”
But Vlad’s efforts on Bridge of Friendship deserve everyone’s admiration – and support 

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