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lay down as a partisan in front of the tank

Updated: May 24, 2022

My employer once told me that I was “laying down as a partisan in front of the tank.” When I was very young, as I mentioned earlier, I began my career as a director at a sports center in Sofia, Bulgaria. There was a time when people with guns, expensive armored cars, and security started attending the club. Guns were carried constantly—during workouts, coffee breaks, squash lessons, etc. Slowly but surely, these people occupied the property, leaving no room for others. The club owners were concerned for their property, employees, and customers. Since the club was private property and they had the right to refuse service in case of a disturbance, I started to collect evidence supporting the club owners’ right to protect their business. The problem, however, was that stopping these people from accessing the club was not easy. Guns make rare people speak out or act.

Nevertheless, that behavior was wrong. In their eyes, “we paid so that we could use the club,” but in my eyes, it doesn’t work that way. Physical strength has never been a factor in my worldview. Guards were employed by the owners to deny access to that specific group of people, and I was at the door with the guards to explain why.

Bulgaria is not a safe place for those who dare to grow their business or oppose the norm. I know this firsthand. My father was involved in the metal business, mainly importing metals from Russia and Ukraine to Bulgaria. He supplied metals to many of Bulgaria’s top metallurgical companies. He once refused to sponsor a leading political party and lost all his business. How was this possible, you might ask? Poor people were simply raising money for an election campaign. The answer was quite simple: holding all his funds in Bulgarian bank accounts was a short-sighted decision.

That political party had people in all major positions—executor, judge, prosecutor, tax collector, customs officer, etc. My father’s accounts were seized. He couldn’t pay his duties or contract obligations, and he went bankrupt. He lost everything he fought for his whole life—houses, motor vehicles, family—but the worst part was that he lost faith in goodness.

Before that bankruptcy, I called my father to ask for his wise advice about the gunmen who were denied entry into the club.

“Just stay away,” he said, but I simply cannot ignore something that isn’t right, even if it means sacrificing my life. If not me, who would dare? Guess what? There are never any volunteers.

Chapter 8, One Coin- Two Sides, "Lay down as a partisan in front of the tanks"


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