Opinion of the National Network for Children on the occasion of Katunitsa events
The National Network for Children would like to express concern from the growing ethnic intolerance on the occasion of the tragic events in Katunitsa. There unfortunately some children died and now other children and young people shout hateful words and demonstrate anti-social behavior, provoked by the ambitions of adults.
Today it is more important than ever for us, the adults, to take responsibility for what happens in the country and, as reasonable and civilized citizens, to explain to our children. If we continue to instill ethnic hatred, to imply or speak with contempt for a definite group of people and at the same time praise another, we will continue to be careless for the issues, that Bulgarian political elite has ignored for decades.
From the outset of the conflict in Katunitsa it became clear that the problem is not based on ethnic differences, but on the discontent of the inhabitants (regardless of their ethnicity) on the behavior of one particular family that has been tolerated by the state institutions. The increasing violence between Bulgarians and Roma strongly disturbs us and therefore we would like to appeal to all institutions, professionals, public, media, formal and informal organizations to refrain from negative comments from an ethnic character. Summaries of this type not only create distorted and unrealistic picture of what happened, but bring unnecessary tension in the already difficult ethnic situation in Bulgaria.
So in the long run some of the victims in this situation appear to be Bulgarian children who increasingly will have to grow up in a world, marked by ethnic intolerance and division. Today, children in the Bulgarian and Roma communities, are subjected to unprecedented pressure from what is happening. That is why we insist that in this situation the Ministry of Education and Science should immediately come up with specific instructions to teachers what kind of messages should be directed to children on the situation in Katunitsa. Only this will ensure that students can develop critical and balanced view and won’t be misled by the attempts for artificially inciting of ethnic hatred by certain circles.
With the support of the NNC and the Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance “Amalipe” on the 1st of October as part of the European Roma Pride initiative young people – Roma and Bulgarians, were giving out flowers and poems to passersbies near the Bridge of Love in Sofia. The message that young people wanted to share with their fellow citizens, was simple: “We have a dream: to learn and live together.”