Jock Palfreeman : November 24, 2009 Update


    Jock Palfreeman (above, photographed in 2006) is a 23 year old Australian currently in prison in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is undergoing trial on charges of murder and attempted murder after an encounter with a gang of 16 far-right football hooligans.

A few things.

First, sadly, a solidarity demonstration in Sofia appears to have been cancelled out of fears for the safety of participants. At a previous rally earlier in the year — organised by local members of the far right and calling for severe punishment of Jock by the state — a journalist covering the event was threatened; Bulgarian media is uniformly hostile, and is also calling for the maximum penalty to be imposed; his cause is an unpopular one among the general public in Bulgaria, especially as the basis of his defence is that he came to the aid of two Roma men — members of a despised minority group (both in Bulgaria but across Europe generally, especially Central and Eastern).

Wave Of Violence Strikes Eastern Europe’s Gypsies
Eric Westervelt
NPR
September 2, 2009

The Roma minority, known as Gypsies, unfortunately, are used to discrimination and violent attacks. But recent violence in Eastern Europe has reached a new level of ferocity.

Several Roma, including children, have been killed in attacks this year involving firearms, gasoline bombs and hand grenades. Roma activists blame right-wing groups, which appear to have grown in strength as the economic crisis has deepened across much of Eastern Europe.

The latest victim was single mother Maria Balogh, 45, and her 13-year-old daughter Ketrin. In early August, the Baloghs were asleep in their house in Kisleta, a quiet farming village in northeastern Hungary near the Ukrainian border. An unknown number of armed men broke into their house and fired on the women. Maria was killed, and her daughter remains hospitalized with critical injuries…

Secondly, and on the other hand, support for Jock does appear to be growing in Greece, especially among the anti-fascist movement there, and his case is drawing the attention of a wider range of people. (See, for example, ΑΛΛΗΗΛΕΓΓΥΗ ΣΤΟΝ ΑΝΤΙΦΑΣΙΣΤΑ ΑΓΩΝΙΣΤΗ JOCK PALFREEMAN, November 22, 2009 | PAUL “JOCK” PALFREEMAN, THEOULINI, November 23, 2009.) Word is also speading further across Europe, and the ground being laid for whatever comes of Jock’s final court appearances next week: December 2/3.

See also : November 30, 2009 : International Day of Justice for Jock Palfreeman (November 21, 2009).

For Jock

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2019 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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11 Responses to Jock Palfreeman : November 24, 2009 Update

  1. bulgarian-activist says:

    I would like to ask who called-out for demonstration in Sofia, since nobody here was told about that. I follow the Bulgarian activist scene very closely and I have to tell you – noone called out for such a demo, apart from the nazis.

    I saw that idea in a neo-nazi website and I have to tell you that noone here was planning to do something on that date.

    Just for information. I understand your struggle and I think Jock is having much more problems only because he is not Bulgarian. I don’t know if he really wanted to protect Roma people, but it is completely true that if he did he would have been treated like shit in Bulgaria. After all here the Right is in power, it is very racist and nationalistic and so on. So the truth or who is guilty who is innocent here does not matter that much.

    Nevertheless making a demonstration on the case in Sofia, without any campaign going on here to inform the society on what is your struggle, would be totally absurd and would not serve for the cause of Justice in the case of Jock.

    Activism requires thinking. If you have no idea on the political context of Bulgaria and are calling-out for demons in Sofia (probably without even visiting the country) is NOT helping your cause and is effectively aiding the neo-nazi movement.

    I don’t know who you contacted from here, but it is very possible that you have been fooled by neo-nazis, because absolutely noone called out for such a demo (apart from the fascists).

    I would advise you to get in contact with local people who are aware of the situation here and not to act blindly, since this is not helping you at all.

  2. ATHENA says:

    I HOPE JOCK WILL HAVE A FAIR TRIAL…

    KEEP US INFORMED PLEASE!

  3. @ndy says:

    bulgarian-activist,

    Good questions, and sound and sensible advice.

    ATHENA,

    I’ll try to.

    Moar l8r…

  4. slav4o says:

    bulgarian-activist,

    Andy is a journalist, he didn’t “call” for anything in bulgaria, there was talk about jock’s bulgarian friends holding something similar such as london/athens, but the plans were abandoned for the threat you’re actually calling andy stupid for!

    I understand your intentions are good, but your advice is actually already mentioned in the above article and is the reason given for canceling it.

    I’m guessing this is the reason andy gave you a 7 word reply.

  5. bulgarian-activist says:

    Okay if some people from Bulgaria wanted to do a demo that is a different thing.

    But the only place the call-out appeared was in Andy’s blog & bulgarian nazi sites. That makes me think there is noone who is trying to make a demo here. Or if there is it is somebody who has no idea what they are trying to do.

    In that case it is them who should have thought more before plunging into mindless action. If there are people in Bulgaria who would like to help they shouldn’t do mindless demos.

    A sensible alternative would be to contact human rights NGOs (like BHK) for example and try to use them to get a fair trial. To visit Jock regularly in prison to ensure he is okay and so on.

    Effectively now the nazis think they made a big victory against some dark force who got scared. That makes lots of kids (most of street nazis are kids) think the nazis are able to cancel demos if they want to and makes them think they are much stronger.

    but your advice is actually already mentioned in the above article and is the reason given for canceling it.

    No it is not mentioned. The political situation here is totally misunderstood. I doubt anyone who has the slightest idea of what they are doing would call-out for a demo. And I have to say again – there was no information in bulgarian anywhere of an idea for such a demo. Only in the nazi websites.

    That is why I advise Andy to double check his contacts. Because whoever told him about that demo in Sofia is either a nazi or someone who is totally politically illiterate. I am sorry that I have to put it that bluntly.

    My advice would be that if there is anyone who wants to support Jock from here to learn more how the Bulgarian political scene functions first.

    I don’t follow the case but it would be much better to try to work within the legal structures, despite the reality they are also racist, corrupt and shit in general. Good lawyers and so on would be good, maybe that would need too much money.

    If someone wants to change the public opinion they have to try to work with the press first. May be make a website in Bulgarian on the case. Try to get published in some mainstream press. To try to show there are different versions, try to see what is the evidence that really Roma people were attacked and so on.

    My guess is there are many things that could be done if really there are people in Bulgaria who would like to show some support.

    A mindless demo in a country that is very much against Jock would make people even much more against him and the dark forces behind him. I am saying dark forces since people would have no understanding who would do such a demo apart from some evil power or smth.

    What is happening now is that the nazis appear victorious. They managed to cancel some demo (that may be didn’t exist in the first place) and they make themselves to be the sole protectors of the dead Bulgarian kid against the evil powers coming from abroad.

  6. @ndy says:

    bulgarian-activist,

    1. The call-out was issued at about the same time I wrote about it on my blog. The info I received came from the network of Jock’s friends. This is where most of my info comes from. Jock’s friends are located in Australia, Bulgaria, and elsewhere in Europe.

    2. I understand that a range of groups and organisations, in Bulgaria and elsewhere, have been contacted inre Jock’s case.

    3. You write: “No it [the cancellation and the reasons for it] is not mentioned.” I write above: “First, sadly, a solidarity demonstration in Sofia appears to have been cancelled out of fears for the safety of participants…”

    4. I frequently communicate with my contacts. Obviously, this is not always an easy or straightforward process, and sometimes days elapse before I can do so.

    5. There is a legal process currently in train. I’ve been following it for almost two years, updating my blog as often as I can, as circumstances change, and as I receive new information.

    6. I live in Australia. I do not know Bulgarian. My ability to communicate with Bulgarian media is therefore obviously limited. I have, however, tried to make contact with activists in Bulgaria who might be interested in Jock’s case.

    7. I am obviously unable to construct a site in Bulgarian, but agree that this would be a good idea.

    8. There are many (other) things that can be done. I’m making a few efforts, which are almost entirely, and necessarily, directed at an English-speaking audience (primarily in Australia).

    9. I am aware of the hostility in Bulgaria to Jock’s cause. This manifests itself in various ways, not all of which I can disclose publicly.

    10. If you would like to write something in Bulgarian regarding Jock’s case, for the benefit of a Bulgarian-speaking audience, please do. The only other language in which such material has appeared, to the best of my knowledge, is Greek.

  7. bulgarian-activist says:

    I am sorry if I sounded aggressive. I didn’t mean to. I was just angry. I know you said that the soli-action was canceled but putting a call-out and after that canceling it is also a problem.

    I am glad it wasn’t the nazis who told you that there will be demo in Sofia, because here it really looked like that.

    Generally I do think what you are doing is great, even [though] I am not really aware of what is the case exactly. I think it is good because it is very possible that Jock is not going to get a fair trial because 1) he is not Bulgarian 2) he claims he wanted to protect Gypsies.

    As for information in Bulgarian. I have a lot of work now, so can’t find time to read everything on the case so that I would be able to write down some stuff. That’s why I assumed that his Bulgarian friends might set up a blog or something that would be pretty easy. Maybe in a few weeks I will be able to do that, but can’t promise anything yet. Still if there are Bulgarian people who follow the case closely they would be more prepared to do something like that.

    Cheers.

  8. Pingback: Two Cries of Freedom « Poumista

  9. slav4o says:

    bulgarian-activist,

    I think it’s you who doesn’t understand here! You’re right, it was and still is a victory for the nazis, that’s because they’ve been winning for a long time, and will continue to win for a long time to come.

    You can’t be angry at us for giving a victory to the right? It’s not us who have let us down, it’s the majority of the left including the so called fab who refuse to fight fascism either out of pure cowardice or as they’re in collaboration with the fash!

    Solidarity,
    drugar slav4o

  10. bulgarian-activist says:

    You can’t be angry at us for giving a victory to the right?

    You have a good point here. but i was not angry at taking some action. I was angry at taking action that is not well planned. I think there are many things one can do against the nazis, but exactly this was doing something for the nazis. It doesn’t really matter now.

    And importantly I had no idea that there is anyone who is involved in the support of Jock in Bulgaria. If you know the guy and you are familiar with the case why don’t you set up a blog in blogspot and put all the information in Bulgarian. I don’t mean you personally, but if there are people who are informed on the case and so on. I will stop repeating that now 🙂

    The nazis haven’t been winning for a long time and it is not that sure that they will be wining for a long time. It’s been a few years since they became mainstream and maybe this will change.

    As for FAB – they are a JOKE! They don’t collaborate with the nazis of course, but that don’t make them any good.

    As for the left. There is NO left in Bulgaria. Yeah there are many communist parties in Bulgaria, but their politics is right-wing, nationaist, conservative, sectarian, Stalinist and completely marginalized. It is true that there are communist parties that collaborate with nazis. Also the so called “Bulgarian Antifascist Union” collaborates with the nazis as well, there are many members of the largest extreme-right nationalist party (ATAKA) that came from the so called “Antifascist Union” and to this day they collaborate, on some cases they collaborated even with street nazis (on anti-Israel actions for example).

    Basically the communists and the so called “socialists” are the ones who produce the nationalistic ideologies in the first place.

    So long for the “left”. It doesn’t exist here. That is why I got angry, because such a demo simply cannot happen in that proto-dictatorial situation. That is why the only effective possibility would be to try to collaborate with liberals or possibly minority NGOs (even though it is possible that the latter makes the things worse, not least because those NGOs are totally fucked up).

    But if indeed there is a group of people who are friends of Jock there are things they can do. I just don’t think such a group exists.

  11. slav4o says:

    bulgarian-activist

    I agree with everything you said, except for your view on the fab, i have good testimonial evidence from ex members that the reason for them leaving was exactly as they were working with certain nazi outfits, one ex member even told me the security guard for their car park was nazi.

    The bulgarian website was a screw up, we couldn’t get organised, it was MEANT to have happened LAST YEAR! but there was bulgarian on the freejock.net site. It’ll be back soon and most probably better.

    But the biggest problem with your issues, is that it wasn’t any ” left ” friends or groups in bulgaria who were talking about it. They were/are just normal friends of jock. He lived/worked here for almost a year in 2006, hence his return for christmas when he saw the racists beating the roma.

    There was no mention of it being left from jock’s corner.

    Drugar slav4o

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