Page 148 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
mutual accusations and search for support both from the local citizens and from resettlers that
have come especially for the commemorative meeting. And whilst the supporters of Kasim Dal
raised the appeal not to allow to the stage of the celebrations people who once belonged to
the State Security system (hereby envisioning Ahmed Dogan), the central point for the leader
of DPS (e.g. his speeches in Djebel, Byal Izvor, Demir Baba Tekke, etc.) was that the assimilation
campaign against the Bulgarian Turks has not ended, that there was a danger to have it repeated,
but that DPS would not allow it.
13
Thus, many of the slogans that accompany these events include
the text “No to the Revival Process,” this being outlined also as a motto to the commemorative
ceremonies in 2011. In this respect, the pathetic speeches – that the commemorative occasion
has as its goal to remember the tragic events, so that not to permit their repetition – follow also
a direct political purpose. It is part of the strategy to consolidate the support to the leadership
of DPS, hence also the assertions that this political party has been a guarantee for the solidarity,
peace and democracy in the country.
14
At the background of this political framework of interpreting the commemorative event,
the role and functions of the returning resettlers receive a particularly interesting expression – on
theonehand, as seemingly declaringa symbolic support for the thus carriedout political discourse,
and – on the other, as individuals, whose
biographies were marked by the resettlement
and whose returning testifies of the dramatic
events two decades back in the past. As visiting
guests, the resettlers have a very well outlined
presence in these commemorative gatherings,
and their meetings with kin and friends are a
visible element in the organization of these
events (Photo 5). To a large extent, the gathering
is made as if for them – to master up the broken
kin relationships, to collect back the people
from the village that have been dispersed
abroad. As some of the respondents noted, the
return of the resettlers takes place mainly on
big holidays and – for Karamantsi – this is most often the village fair, which also notes the events
that have once led to the resettlement.
15
Of course, the personal narratives outline also a series of
other aspects of the migration to Turkey and the life of resettlers in Turkey – their travels back to
13 It is interesting for example that the proclamation that the DPS leader Ahmed Dogan made in Djebel on
20 May 2011 – that the “Revival” process would apparently continue – was made several hours after the clashes
between Bulgarian nationalists and Muslims in front of Banya Bashi mosque in Sofia, and this was followed by
new denouncements in subsequent commemorations – with the overtones of preventing the attempts for a new
assimilation campaign.
14 This is a major theme in the speeches pronounced during the commemorative meetings and it can be found
also in many of the reports on the website of DPS about political activities of its members – see http://www.dps.bg
15 ConversationswithА.P. (25-30 years of age, abusinessman) andB.R. (70 years of age, apensioner) –Karamantsi,
7 May 2011.
Photo 5.
Commemorative meeting, Karamantsi – festive lunch
(2011, N. Vukov)