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For example, would a high schooler in Bulgaria in the 80s had the occasion to go to school with Arabs or Africans… either exchange students, immigrants, children of diplomats, etc?
I'm assuming yes and that this is a dumb question, but I have never seen these groups represented as being a part of the society.
… or Persians…
I'm asking because I am writing a ficticious story and trying to determine if my settings/characters ring true or if I should change something…
In the 1980's Bulgaria was nominally Communist to appease the neighboring USSR, but was effectively an autocracy. This made them one of the most unfree societies in the world, and drastically suppressed their economic opportunities as well. So it is tough to imagine why anyone with no family ties there would have wanted to immigrate.
However, there were ethnic minorities there. In fact, a large part of what eventually brought down the Communist State was a nasty crackdown on the Turkish minority that sent a third of a million of them fleeing the country. Today the country is ethnically roughly 10% Turkish, and roughly 5% Roma. However, both communities at the time were suffering under forced assimiliation policies, which included things like banning use of their languages. So if a Bulgarian did happen to have a Turkish or Roma classmate, its highly unlikely they had a chance to use the experience to learn much about another culture.
The Turkish minority in Bulgaria is homegrown, they are not immigrants. I think they are not perceived as "foreign" or "racially distinct".
Most cultural exchange with people from foreign countries happened with the socialist brother states (Russia, Cuba, Angola etc.), but this would be mostly on university level or other high skilled jobs. (e.g. There is a documentary on the Belene power plant which features a guy from Cuba who decided to stay after the communist regime collapsed)
I am more familiar with the Romanian situation, but African and Middle East countries with "Marxist" orientation used to sent engineers to follow specialization courses and students to study in communist Europe. This was part of an effort to avoid dependence upon the former masters of Western Europe during the process of post-colonial modernization. The visiting 'specialists' had no time to integrate the local society, as they stayed for months, weeks or even days. Students stayed for longer periods (years).
On the whole, in spite of the official discourse about socialist friendship, theses states were focused on maximizing control over their citizens, and change of residence or citizenship between socialists countries was totally discouraged.
As said by @Arved: European communist countries used to welcome university students from communist countries, and from countries that were aligned at some point with the communist block.
I know of students of Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia studying in Romania in fields like engineering (especially in oil production) and medicine - and, more surprisingly, even of an Ethiopian studying theology in Bucharest in the 1960s!
Students were coming for specific universities. I'm not familiar with Bulgarian universities. In Romania, the oil industry and medicine were the most sought-after. In Bulgaria it might have been shipping or some other industry.
Here is a map of the "socialist-leaning" states. (The presence of Portugal there is odd. The closer the geographical vicinity of a country, the greater the chance of having students from there).
But: all these were people coming for their university studies, not people living there, with high school children. Among these students, there were no Iranians I guess, in Bulgaria. (Before the Islamic revolution, the Persian regime was anti-communist. Ceausescu's Romania had at some point good relations with the Islamic republic: but that was exceptional and short, and sending students to an atheist country was improbable.)
Diplomats' children were not normally studying in local schools, but in special ones.
There were some communists from Greece emigrating to some countries (Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania) after the military crackdown against communists there.
Considering people of black-African and Arab descent:
Again from my Romanian experience: there were some cases of male students from the aforementioned countries that had children with local women (usually colleagues). Most of these children never left. Maybe this situation could fit the OP's story.
I know from my parents, that there were many Vietnamese students and some students from different African countries in the Bulgarian universities.
Some of them even stayed in the country after they finished their studies.
Additionally, there were kind of student- and science exchange programmes, in which students had the chance to go and study in universities of countries of the socialist world. I know of people, who went to Czechoslovakia, Poland, and USSR.
In fact, some still-active Bulgarian politicians have actually finished some studies in political or other academies in the USSR. A prominent example is the current President of the Party of European Socialists, Sergei Stanishev.
According to my parents (but please don't take it as given), mostly children of proven communists or students with proven socialistic views were allowed to participate in such programmes. But for sure, you had to get an approval from the university's party secretary, before you apply for the programmes.
Children of diplomats often go to embassy schools that are completely separate from local schools. See e.g. the history of German schools in Moscow here.
Like other Eastern European countries, Bulgaria seems to have had Vietnamese workers in the 1980s (HT to komita). I do not know about the situation in Bulgaria, but in East Germany the rule was that these workers were not supposed to have children and this was enforced quite strictly.
There actually were some dozen or so.political (communist) emigrants from Iran in East Germany. E.g. Bozorg Alavi or the mother of Yadegar Asisi. This article makes it appear as if Yadegar Asisi's childhood was very much like the childhood of local kids (the images of East Germany's worker militia further down the article are unrelated)
My personal guess would be that there was no such emigration of Iranians to Bulgaria, but this is really just guessing.
Bulgaria is an ethnically whole country. An exception are the Turkish and Gypsy minorities who came to Bulgarian lands from Asia during the medieval Turkish Islamic invasion of Europe. There has never been an Arab, Kurdish or African minority in Bulgaria. During the socialist rule in Bulgaria from 1944 to 1989, people of other ethnicities and races were highly tolerated, people of Turkish origin were admitted without admission to the universities and then hired with a job advantage. There were thousands of Africans from Cuba, as well as thousands of Vietnamese workers working in Bulgaria.
Would there have been racially mixed student bodies in schools in communist Bulgaria? - History
In their darkest hours down in the mine, the nine trapped men, bedeviled by rising floodwaters, could hear the steady drilling of rescuers above them. But they still thought it imperative to jot down private thoughts and seal them in a lunch bucket as a parting word to family survivors.
"They formed a barricade, and they wrote their wills, and they put them in one of the lunchboxes," said Leslie Mayhugh, tearful this morning through her happiness at the survival of her husband, Harry, known to everyone as Blaine, her father, Thomas Foy, and the seven other men who had to face their worst thoughts along with chin-high water before the rescuers finally reached them.
"They heard all the drilling and they knew they were trying, but the water just kept coming," Mrs. Mayhugh said of the miners, who initially thought they would drown as they pushed their faces from the water searching for scraps of air.
"And they were ready--they tied themselves together," she said, weeping at that desperate image, even after embracing her husband, alive and well, early today in the hospital. [. ]
This blue-collar, Bible-friendly southwestern Pennsylvania town, 60 miles from Pittsburgh, did not hesitate to use the word "miracle" today in describing the intricate roll-of-the-dice rescue operation that freed the men.
At its essence, engineers had to guess accurately in the first hours of the disaster where the men might have fled on Wednesday night, when a torrent of water suddenly burst in on them from an abandoned mine thought to have been a safe distance away.
"We tried to outrun it, but it was too fast," Blaine Mayhugh said of the roaring, rising flood in the mine's honeycomb of paths. At times the waters flowed over the miners' heads as they scrambled for survival in the cold darkness. [. ]
The miners fought despair, Mr. Mayhugh said, when the drill fell silent for 18 hours because of a snapped shaft just as the water closed in once more.
Mr. Mayhugh decided it was time to borrow a pen to write a final word to his family on a scrap of cardboard.
"You know, tell them I loved them," the strapping miner said, fighting back tears in the daylight as he described the men's fierce unity in facing the worst even as they prayed for deliverance.
"My father-in-law tied us all together so we wouldn't float away from each other," Mr. Mayhugh said, fairly shaking with emotion in the fullness of life above ground.
The news that Bugs Bunny heads TV Guide's list of Top 50 cartoon characters is welcome, but it fails to acknowledge the waskallywabbit's status as one of the leading intellectuals of his time.
For example, after caging a runaway circus lion, Bugs turns to the captive beast and says, "Iron bars do not a prison make . . . but they sure help, eh, doc?" This one-sentence demolition of postmodernism is the first and final riposte to a half century of Continental Thought which insists that reality is a construct of language.
AS GOOD AS AN OCTOBER SURPRISE :
Here are two related stories from USA Today :
Bush administration officials have told key lawmakers not to expect a U.S. attack on Iraq before the fall elections, allowing time for
Congress to debate the possibility of war. Senior administration officials gave the assurances in private conversations with senators planning a series
of hearings that begin today into a possible U.S. attack on Iraq. The officials said there would be no "October surprise" &mdash a sudden attack before the
Nov. 5 congressional elections to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The assurances square with Pentagon estimates that it would take until early next year to have the weapons, intelligence and forces in place to take on
Iraq's 375,000-man army. One key factor: U.S. soldiers can't fight in Iraq's summer or autumn heat wearing protective gear against chemical or
biological weapons attack.
Today's Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing is the first of several on Iraq. But the White House has decided it's too early in the
decision-making process to participate and won't send witnesses until the sessions resume after the August recess.
Iraq invasion wouldn't look like '91 Gulf War (John Diamond, Andrea Stone and Dave Moniz, 07/31/2002, USA TODAY)
As his war planners develop a strategy for invading Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been getting a clear message from some architects of the 1991 Persian Gulf War: Don't fight the next war with Iraq the way we fought the last one.
[A] clear set of options has emerged from intensive planning by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and generals at the U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., the military headquarters responsible for the Persian Gulf region. Many of the plans build on lessons from U.S. military actions going back to World War II. Examples:
* An attack should be swift and sudden, as in the surprise 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama that ousted President Manuel Noriega. In 1990, the USA telegraphed its intention to liberate Kuwait five months before attacks by building an international coalition and moving tons of equipment and half a million personnel to the Gulf region.
* The invasion should come from multiple directions, raising the possibility that U.S. forces may try to use neighboring Turkey in the north, Jordan in the west and Kuwait in the south.
* The invasion should rely principally on small teams of special operation forces of the type deployed recently in Afghanistan to root out the Taliban. The goal would be to decapitate Saddam's command and control structure. Key missions would involve assaulting Saddam's more than 50 fortified "palaces."
* To aid a surprise attack, invading forces would use supplies already being pre-positioned, in some cases secretly, in countries in the region. In a nod to political reality, the USA would not acknowledge help from some countries.
* U.S. forces would work to turn the 300,000-strong Iraqi regular army and the population against the Iraqi government. Some strategists think a successful quick strike could induce most of the regular army to sit out the fight or even turn on Saddam. After the war, the United States would mount a psychological operation designed to undercut any residual pro-Saddam sentiment in Iraq.
* A successful invasion would be followed by deployment of a substantial peacekeeping force, as in Bosnia. Pentagon officials are considering an occupation force of 25,000 to 50,000 troops that might stay for as long as a decade.
GO AWAY :
WHITLOCK GETS UP IN OUR KITCHEN :
I'm not sure where Judd is coming from on this one. He gives ten pillars of modern conservatism and gives Bush a 10/10 ranking. I disagree. [. ]
(3) Pro School vouchers
Bush sold us out on this one. His education bill has been passed. I wouldn't expect another overhaul this term. I can't give it to him.
(4) Pro Free Trade
Steel Tarrifs and Farm Bill. On one hand he creates a new tarrif cause the Europeans are subsidizing their steel, then he subsidizes our agriculture. He wants Fast-Track, but is he going to use it? I'm not convinced.
(10) broadly anti-government
7/10. I can't think of the last thing he did to be faily called anti-government since the tax cut, which doesn't count twice.
7 out of 10 is a reasonably impressive score, but hardly a paragon of conservatism worthy of the Pat Robertson comparison Judd makes.
THANK GOODNESS, FOR A SECOND I THOUGHT THEY MEANT ME :
MORE LIKE EUROPE (CONT.). :
Europe's leading far-Right parties have held secret talks at the mountain lair of the Austrian populist politician Jšrg Haider to forge a pan-European movement.
The gathering at Mr Haider's power-base in Carinthia, described as a "private event", included the two leaders of Belgium's Vlaams Blok, Filip de Winter and Frank Vanhecke, and Mario Borghesia, a former Euro-MP for Italy's Northern League.
The talks centred on proposals for a far-Right list for the European Parliament elections in July 2004, copying tactics already adopted by Left-wing parties.
The first meeting went so well that the group plans fresh strategy sessions, with a Belgian summit in December to work on a joint manifesto.
Shortly before the gathering, Mr Haider visited President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, leading to claims that Baghdad has been financing the creation of a"Haider list" as a way of destabilising Europe.
FED, AS IN DEAD :
HERE'S TODAY'S RELATIONSHIP QUESTION :
More than 134 hours into a popular local endurance contest, two hollow-eyed men at a Volkswagen dealership here still had their hands plastered to a pale-green Beetle. Whoever lasted the longest would win the $20,000 car.
THE TWO HAD outlasted 41 other hopefuls who began the competition six days earlier. Then, the morning DJ from Toledo&rsquos K100 radio station delivered a 5:30 a.m. update on the last men standing: &ldquoThis will be the first time since the first Hands-On Marathon that a rookie will win the car!&rdquo
But &ldquoBrian Root of Perrysburg,&rdquo as the announcer introduced one of the two remaining men, is no rookie. Mr. Root, who is actually from Mobile, Ala., is a professional hand-a-thoner. He travels around the country entering competitions.
By his own count, the tall 44-year-old has won or tied for first in 16 hands-on contests, collecting about $160,000. He doesn&rsquot do much else. He lives with his mother and hasn&rsquot held a long-term job since the mid-1980s, soon after he discovered that in one 97-hour span, he could win a truck worth half his annual pay as a produce manager in a health-food store.
TOO BAD HITLER'S DEAD, HUH, JESSE? :
PSSSST, OUR NEIGHBORS ARE BLOWING UP BUILDINGS :
Last week, President Bush called for reexamination of the 1878 law that limits the role of the military in law enforcement activities. This call was echoed over the weekend by Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart, head of a new military command that would direct the Pentagon's response to another terrorist attack at home.
Congressional authority for such a response is already extremely broad, and expansion of that authority would challenge a revered American tradition of keeping the military out of domestic affairs except in the most extraordinary circumstances.
Efforts to further weaken the law--known as the Posse Comitatus Act--are ill-advised and unnecessary.
WE'RE ALL CHUCK COLSON NOW :
LESS MAY BE MORE (DANGEROUS) :
The belief that the government is engaged in a substantial and unjustified curtailment of civil liberties - by monitoring attorney-client phone calls, detaining Muslims on immigration violations, denying Americans who fought with the Taliban access to counsel, etc. - is not a majority sentiment but certainly one that has its adherents, especially in the mainstream media and the legal academy. Just the other today the New York Times opined that "the Bush administration's assault on civil liberties reached a new low." It's a safe bet that the Times will see more "new lows."
What the Times and company typically fail to offer is historical perspective. For that, I recommend an essay by Jack Goldsmith and Cass Sunstein, both professors at the University of Chicago law school. Their paper is "in progress" but thankfully available at www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/goldsmith/resources/60.doc.
Noting the particulars of the civil-libertarian complaint against the administration (but declining to judge them), the authors observe that "compared to past wars led by [Abraham] Lincoln, [Woodrow] Wilson, and [Franklin] Roosevelt, the Bush administration has diminished relatively few civil liberties." If they are right about that, as I think they are, the question arises as to why the civil libertarians are so upset by the administration's war effort. Messrs. Goldsmith and Sunstein offer analysis that helps with the answer.
IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD (AS WE KNOW IT. ) :
The conventional (post-Sept. 11) view holds that we live in a formerly bipolar world increasingly driven, and riven, by passions of faith and tribe, in which the United States may expect to be Enemy No. 1 for the foreseeable future. Batten down everything and get ready for a long, painful, bloody haul.
There is some obvious truth in this. The old order is gone the passions of tribalism and nationalism are resurgent the United States has many enemies, including among its putative friends.
But what if all of this does not represent something near the beginning of a long run of troubles but the chance (at least) for the beginning of a long run of relative peace? What if the market for violence against the United States is not rising but actually bottoming out?
The most obvious and powerful reason why this should be so is that the implosion of the Soviet empire was not, overall, an impetus for destabilization but rather for stabilization.
AND JERRY SHALL LEAD THEM. :
In 1973, during the Arab embargo on oil exports that followed the Yom Kippur War between Israel and Egypt, many Americans had to deal with embargo-induced hour-long lines at gas stations, gas rationing, and various setbacks to the economy. As a result, some called for our abandonment of Israel for the sake of oil.
Those voices were not heard among evangelical Christians.
In fact, in a television broadcast from his church to his many followers, the Rev. Jerry Falwell said that he would sooner give up his car and ride a bicycle than yield to Arab blackmail. Citing Genesis (12:3), he explained that G-d "will bless those who bless the Jews and curse whoever curses the Jews."
Look at who most blesses the Jews and who most curses them, and you decide whether the verse in Genesis has validity.
HILLARY IN '08--PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE. :
Tinseltown may not recover from its Clinton exhaustion until it's time for another Clinton run. Senator Clinton is on the move. She made a boffo keynote speech Monday at the Democratic Leadership Council meeting in New York, bashing the president's economic record compared with her husband's. The Clintons have asked the government to pay millions in legal fees incurred by the Whitewater investigation Hillary sees the reimbursement as a vindication.
She recently got into a rumble with her party's Mr. Clean, the campaign finance reformer Russ Feingold. In Hillary's world, the soft money that Mr. Feingold wants to see banned forever is what elects and re-elects the Clintons. Like Terry McAuliffe, the party chairman and Clinton bagman, Hillary pays lip service to cleaning up the money-in-politics sewer, but knows her presidential ambitions would be sustained by the big checks Mr. Feingold wants to outlaw from Hollywood and Wall Street.
Democratic strategists think Bill has smiled on John Edwards's candidacy because he and Hillary want Mr. Edwards to lose to W. in 2004, thus diminishing him and clearing the way for a Hillary run in 2008.
Hollywood prefers actresses under 40, but doesn't mind women over 40 running studios, Senate offices or the country. In the new futuristic Eddie Murphy movie set in the year 2087, Mrs. Clinton was a beloved president long ago. In space, $10,000 bills have her face on them and are known not as dollars, but as Hillaries.
DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU. :
''The Saudis hold the key to whether the United States wins or loses the war on Islamic militants,'' said Steven Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project, a Washington-based counterterrorism institute.
''Most of the monies for Islamic militants are generated from Saudi Arabia. They could shut them down if they wanted to, or open up the faucet even more.''
The House of Saud funds madrassas and Muslim schools across the world. Many of these preach an extreme and intolerant brand of Wahhabi Islam.
James Reilly, a history professor at the University of Toronto, notes that the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is founded on an 18th-century alliance between the Wahhabi religious movement and the House of Saud.
''The Wahhabi doctrine is the legitimizing ideology of the Saudi family. It has been an important factor in the legitimizing ideology of the Saudi state. And it has been a trademark of the extension of Saudi influence among Muslim communities and countries elsewhere,'' he said.