Thursday, March 03, 2005

Bulgarian Liberation Day

127 years ago this day, a tinny nation re-emerged on the political and historical horizon of our planet, after 5 centuries of quasi non-existence. That small nation was and still is none-other than the tiny Bulgaria. Russia’s Emperor Alexander II declared war to the Ottoman Empire in 1877 and signed a peace treaty in with the sultan in 1978 in a small city close to Istanbul known as San Stefano. Now, being fond of history, I could write a ten page paper on what lead to this war and its consequences on the region and the world in general. I am too lazy though, so I won’t. Suffices to say that Alexander II (probably the greatest tsar of modern Russia, the one who abolished "le servage"), who maintained that Russia was the protector of all Christian Orthodox in the world, used a crushed Bulgarian revolt as an excuse to attack the Ottoman Empire and free Bulgaria, which it wanted to transform into a strong ally in the Balkans, and most importantly, an ally that would have access to the Aegean See (and thus the Mediterranean sea). However, Britain, which was attempting to slow down Russia’s expansion all around the world (and thus the creation of an independent Afghanistan, but here again I am getting off track), quickly organised an international coalition that countered Russia’s initiative of a strong Bulgarian ally in the Balkans, and in July 13 1878, the Berlin Treaty was signed, officially creating an independent but small Bulgaria, and returning much of southern Bulgaria and all of Macedonia to Ottoman rule. Now, we all know the rest of the story. How the Balkans was the troubled region which contributed to destabilizing Europe’s status quo through two quick wars in 1912 and 1913 and how these two Balkan Wars are closely tied to the eruption of the Great War. It is easy to say only if this or only if that when studying history, but I rather look into the future, which appears to be somewhat brightly lit, as Bulgaria is set join the EU in 2007. So happy Liberation Day to all the Bulgarians around the world.

The Cedar Revolution

In some follow up news, it seems that things are moving even faster than expected in Lebanon, after Syria’s president/dictator Assad told the New York Times that Syria does plan to withdrawal from Lebanon. The struggle is far from over though. What a weird beginning of year it has been for the Middle East, new PLO leader, elections in Iraq, the Cedar Revolution, plans for multi-party elections in Egypt. Who knows what’s next.

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