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Monday, November 28, 2005

A man of honour - People news

"A man of honour
Petar Kostadinov

COLONEL Petko Yotov has been the head of the National Military Museum since 1989. His impressive figure, the famous old-fashioned moustache and the sincere love for the Bulgarian army and its heroism, have made him a symbol of the honour and pride of the nation.

.....Anyone who thought that Yotov had a place in his heart only for Bulgarian soldiers would be mistaken. He was among the people in 2004 who raised the issue of building a monument for the soldiers of the Ottoman Empire who died in Bulgaria during the 1877-78 Russian-Turkish War when Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman rule. He was highly criticised for this view; some politicians even accused him of betraying the memory of the dead Bulgarian soldiers. “It is all in the past now. We must look to the future and this is a future where the Turks and we and are friends,” says Yotov. That is the only way if we want to have a monument to the Bulgarian soldiers who died in Turkey during the Balkan Wars in 1913. “People just simply refuse to understand that a monument to the Bulgarian soldier is a monument to the Turkish soldier as well, because it takes a hero to become a hero. People are enemies only during combat, afterwards I have heard stories of Bulgarian and Turkish soldiers drinking together.” Yotov is certain that in the future there will be such a monument in Bulgaria, but he accepts the fact that Bulgarians today are not ready for the idea. “A new generation must come to deal with the issue the right way, but it will happen.” He gives the example of the recent 120-year anniversary of the Serbian-Bulgarian War and the training that was happenig at the same time of Bulgarian and Serbian troops. Such training was the first ever for both countries. “This was proof that there are no more enemies in the Balkans,” says Yotov, but adds that at least one generation must change in order for all the quarrels of the past to be forgotten...."

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