I have been paying close attention to the recent protests against the government in Bulgaria. Young people showing their loss of faith with the ones in charge. I know that I should be on their side. Yet, for some reason, I am having a tough time picking sides in this fight. It's like, I'm watching the same movie I'd watched a few times, while growing up. I've seen young progressives gather on the streets before. Time and again, protesting against whom they believe to be their enemies, while the real ones quietly stay home, watching the news during dinner, hoping that the unrest would soon be over.
Yes, I am talking about the silent majority that keeps putting the wrong people in charge, with its inactivity and lack of civil courage. An entire generation of people, who would put their meager personal well-being above that of society. People, happy to stay in the cave, out of fear that bright sunlight might be a monster, ready to deprive them of the little they have.
Despite its enormous power, the government is simply a product of silent majority closing their eyes and ears for decades. Yet, unlike the people in charge, you can't fight against silent majority. Those people are probably your parents or mine, and all of them have their perfectly valid reasons for having acted the way they have.
See, for three decades, my country of origin has led a Sisyphean path out of a totalitarian past, and towards a more inclusive, democratic society. It hasn't been an easy one, though, as many outside observers would tell, a lot has changed for the better. But the journey has been brutally exhausting. Somewhere along the way, the progressive youth of the 90s found itself at a crossroad it wasn't prepared for. Many had to grow up and make decisions in the names of protecting themselves and their families first. Decisions, which in one way or another would set the stage for the play that the Bulgarian youth of today has to take part in.
The silent majority is not an enemy one can confront with direct opposition. It needs to be understood and made feel the hope about a bright future it once felt. It needs as many examples as possible of a future where people do things for the common good and reap the benefits of a stronger society. One doesn't need to look far to find those. If the media won't bother showing them around, it's your responsibility to spread the message. Good deeds quickly become viral.
And what about the government? Make it irrelevant by focusing on the things that move society forward. Take care of fixing the rift that's grown between you and the silent majority instead. It will take care of purging the bad apples in the government for you.