What do Cyrillic Graffiti, Anti-Americanism in Europe and wikipedia edits have in common? Let’s find out.
Sofia, Bulgaria is 12 hours bus ride from Istanbul, a journey which facilitates extensions of 1 x Turkish VISA, a necessary process for foreigners every 3 months. The netcafe which delivered these words, is a dark Soviet styled bunker called “The Matrix”. There are 2 doors to walk through, a photo to be taken, and card to be printed and issued, before a final 3rd door can be entered through. Like most European countries, most young people speak enough English to help direct wandering bug-eyed folk. Unlike most European countries, the Bulgarian language uses not the Roman alphabet, but the cyrillic alphabet, which to eyes unused to it, comes off as some kind of machine-code graf wild-style combo. Wikipedia has more than enough Bulgarian language info to satisfy curious linguists, but precious little about cyrillic graffiti – which is surely the first thought in most minds upon seeing this square funked shaped alphabet. As it unfolds, the streets of Sofia have precious little cyrillic graf either, mostly Bronx alphabetics. There’s a little Bulgarian graf online, and more here ( ÐÑ€Ñ‚Ð¸ÑÑ‚Ð¸ – means ‘artists)but much more Russian around ( which also shares a cyrillic alphabet ). Especially love the otherworldly characters of http://ik.graffitizone.kiev.ua and http://englishrussia.com/?p=799. And for the touring curious,
http://myspace.com/waytorussia notes: “For DJs and bands — we can arrange a gig for you in Russia, especially Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Volgograd.”
Anti-Americanism in Europe?
While the cyrillic graf scene ain’t ain’t exactly setting downtown Sofia ablaze, there’s no lack of visual ‘disapproval’ of one of the United States most unpopular Presidents. Spray paint and stencils stain almost every second wall with the likes of “Bush=War Criminal”, alongside various caricatures and generally demeaning portraits. Not so surprising maybe, given Bulgaria’s proximity to the Middle East where George Bush is hoping to spend an extra USD140-billion if he can get congress to approve his war budget for 2008, or East Europe’s proximity to Russia and the former Soviet empire. Some Americans are aware of this Anti-US sentiment though, as covered in the PBS documentary “The Anti-Americans” which covers attitudes from France, Britain and Poland. British singer Ian Brown ( former Stone Roses singer probably adds himself to that list with his recent single with Sinead O Connor, ‘illegal attacks’, which urges the return of US & UK soldiers currently in Iraq.
One of my favourite wikipedia edits is still the Penny Arcade comic “I have the Power’, which it shows an enemy of He-Man ham-fistedly transforming “He-man is the most powerful man in the universe.” to “He-Man is actually a tremendous jack-ass and not really that powerful”. And with wikipedia entries becoming so dominant in the top of search engine results, the desire to control perception of a nation, individual or company, event etc is becoming increasingly political. Wikiscanner, a site that exposes the digital fingerprints of those who make changes to wikipedia pages, has been in the news a lot recently. There’s plenty of corporations trying to improve their image, and both the CIA and Vatican have been nailed with changing articles. The Australian Government is no exception in this age of “info-war”, flying the flag with notable edits from the Defence department changing details in articles about the â€œ9/11 truth movementâ€, and the Prime Minister’s office who added to an entry on martial arts: â€œPoo bum dicky wee weeâ€. Go Australia~!
This weeks shout-out goes to couchsurfing.com >> the best rad-person locator have found on the internet yet. And to my waycool Bulgarian hosts who brought me along yesterday to an amusing cardboard box ‘flash-mob’ style protest yesterday evening, aiming to draw attention to illegal building currrently happening in protected Bulgarian locations.