Page 171 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
are all here, so as to feel again their life, to feel both their hardships and their happy moments”
(A. A., Svilengrad). There is preliminary preparation before every trip which they even refer to as
an expedition. Those who embark on it do preliminary research, using maps, into the new names
of the villages, often aided in this by the local Turkish authorities. When on site, they use material
markers from the memories shared by their relatives to find their bearings. With regard to the trip
of people from Yasna polyana to the village of Chongara (nowadays Cevizköy), in the region of
Lozengrad (Kırklareli), S. Y. shared the following:
The mulberry tree, the 300 year old mulberry tree, about which Todor Kirov from Yasna
polyana, now 75, says, ‘I heard it from my father – if I can’t go, but some day you go, this is
how you will know where you are, when you see the mulberry tree.’ This is how we found our
bearings, we saw the mulberry tree. Old Todor went to the tree, placed his hand on it and said,
‘Now from here – this is the house of Ilia’s, up there used to be the house of Vassil’s, and over
there at the back is the house of Dobrovolov’s. As for these stones here, my father used to tell
me, they had a mill, this is the mill.’ How they find this, how they touch each other! So, you see,
not only the name of the village, but the stone, the stone itself, moves our people.
Every aspect of the behavior of the group and its leaders is shaped by the previously
articulated significance of the event. The overall leading idea and motivation underpinning the
making of this trip in memory of and in honour of ancestors shapes every act of the participants in
it. In this way an informal ritualized scenario is created, played over and over again with different
players and variations in its execution in terms of specific actions and words. What follows is
the personal interpretation of such behavioral dispositions on behalf of a female descendant of
Thracian refugees, K. K., from Kazanluk, in a speech:
There is no country of birth without familial memory, without familial roots, without
familial soil, to which we will always return so as to touch it and gain from its power.
Nashata Trakia e medena pita,
Deto brazdite ni plodni zari,
Mama ya mesi v zveszdno korito,
Baba ya rusi s gorchivi sulzi!
1
Here is yet another example of behavioral reactions as a result from the emotionally
charged connection with the long gone real world of ancestors:
First, when we went there, we saw a dried out water fountain and I told myself, ‘Here,
here it is – the dry drinking fountain!’ The minute I beheld this dry water fountain, the thrill I
1 This spontaneous poem is transliterated so as give the reader the opportunity to experience its melody. The
verses run as follows: Our Thrace is a honeycomb bread // Burning bright in the fertile furrows of ours // My mother
kneads it in a starlit pail // My grandma quells it with bitter tears! Translator’s note.