Page 143 - MIGRATION

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141
MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
chronological time-frames. Memory and commemorations are a look behind to past events that
have marked the individual biography or the history of the group; they are an act of identifying
closeness and affiliation to these events, as well as also attitude and evaluation; they recreate their
logic and meaning and – parallel to that, they testify to the accommodation of the interpretative
angle to the demands and policies of the present. Thus, memory is always a re-inscription, a
transfer in a new interpretative key, a discovery of new images and meanings at every separate
case of return. If this is generally valid for the private recollections, the memoir testimonies, and
the recreated traces in memory, this is even more palpably outlined when the return is not only
across the distance of time, but involves also a spatial removal; when not only chronological, but
also geographical, political and state boundaries are crossed. In other words – when the return
back to the past is intertwined with a returning back to already distant spatial locations, when the
alienation to the past is complemented by the viewpoint of the “resettler” – of the individual who
returned to commemorate events that has led to his or her spatial displacement and distance.
This understanding of memory and
commemoration as a “return” and “revisit”
offers and important line of interpreting the
commemorative meetings about the “Revival”
process in Bulgaria and the accompanying
politics of memory over the last two decades.
Another important point that needs outlining
here is the fact that the “Revival” process was
among the first and most direct resources of
memory in the politics of commemorating the
victims of the communist regime in Bulgaria.
If the protests of Bulgarian Turks were the first
and most massive forms of overt disagreement
with the communist regime in the end of 1980s,
the commemorations about the victims of the
“Revival”processwereamongthefirstorganized
rituals honoring the people repressed by the
communist rule, and the memorial signs that
were unveiled at such occasions, were in fact
the first anti-totalitarianmonuments in Bulgaria.
In 1992, the first monument to the victims of totalitarianism of the period between 1944 and
1989 was built in Momchilgrad.
4
Thought initially as a memorial sign of the assimilationist politics
against Bulgarian Turks, it inscribed also the names of several victims during the destruction of
the political opposition in the end of 1940 (Photo 1). The unveiling of the monument took place
on 27 December – the date when eight years earlier, the last victims of the “Revival”process died.
5
4 See
Demokratsiya
, 123, 25.05.92.
5 See
Otechestven vestnik
, 14092, 28.12.92.
Photo 1
. Monument to the victims of totalitarianism in the
period of 1944–1989, Momchilgrad (2008, N. Vukov)