Page 36 - MIGRATION

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34
MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
of authentic patriotism.”
13
UTSB declares itself one of the few institutions in the country that
consistently defend the national interests and have an unambiguous position on the National
problem.
14
The Day of Thrace, 26
th
March, the day of conquering Edirne in 1913, is an emblematic
case in point. For Thracians, the date symbolises two momentous events: the battlefield glory of
the Bulgarian army and the attempt of Thracian Bulgarians to achieve freedom and rejoin the
fatherland (Information Agency BGNES).
15
In the discourse of the Thracian leaders, the day is a
holiday for all Bulgarians. The UTSB and the local Thracian societies organise commemorative
ceremonies and events to mark the day. Political figures, the Bulgarian army, the Bulgarian
Orthodox Church, and civilians join in to pay their respect. The active role of the Thracian societies
is interpreted by the leaders as providing Bulgarians with an example as to how the significant
days and events in our most recent history are to be celebrated (Karamitrev,
Trakia
newspaper,
10, 2011).
The strategic goal of UTSB “to safeguard Bulgarianness and Orthodox Christianity” has its
expression in the project“to resurrect distinguished Bulgarians who have been forgotten”in order
for them“to take their venerable place in the pantheon of our national heroes.” Paying respect to
the figures of Thracian origin is a priority. The cultural events of 2009 are marked by celebrating
the 165
th
birthday of Petko Kiryakov Kaloyanov, known as Kapitan Petko Voivoda [Captain Petko,
the Chieftain].
16
With the help of Thracian organisations, more than thirty monuments have been
built to commemorate him. The year 2010 was dedicated to 140
th
anniversary of the Bulgarian
Exarchy and was declared the year of Exarch Antim I, “a great Thracian Bulgarian, a symbol of the
spiritual resurrection of the Bulgarian state, the Bulgarian nation and the Bulgarian Orthodox
Church.” The cultural events of 2011 were marked by Captain Petko, Antim I, and
Strandzha
, the
Varna society. The acts of raising the monuments are ways of purposeful appropriation of space,
building a specific memory landscape. They transcend the national borders and appropriate
foreign national space.
17
The awareness that UTSB expresses national interests is encoded in
official addresses to the government on the topic of a state protocol regulation of paying respect
at those sites of memory.
18
13 Thephrase isK. Karamitev’s, achairmanofUTSB in1989–2011, and itwasused inhis reportontheachievements
of the organisation (the
Trakia
newspaper, no 10, 2011). In May 2011, Kr. Premianov was elected chairman of UTSB.
14 “Our movement is the only one that has the right to claim it has a complete, explicit and unambiguous
platform on the National problem. We take the responsibility and the duty to defend the Bulgarian national cause,
especially with reference to the southern borders of the country!” (Kostova et al. 2008:10).
15 The tradition of celebrating 26
th
March dates back to 1914. In 1934, the Day of Thrace was banned. Since
2006, with a decision of the Council of Ministers, the day has had national recognition.
16 Awell-known protector of the Bulgarians in the Aegean region. He was born in 1844 in Doğanhisar, Dedeağaç
region, and he died in 1900 in Varna. He organised a revolutionary resistance group (
cheta
), which later became
a revolutionary military force (First Bulgarian Rhodope Group), he fought with Garibaldi in the Cretan Revolt, he
established the first Thracian society,
Strandzha
, in Varna, etc. A lot of folk songs, works of literature, and studies are
dedicated to him; there is also a biographical television series. A peak on the Livingston Island, Antarctica, has been
named after him.
17 Monuments of Captain Petko exist in Doğanhisar (nowadays Άισυμη), Greece, in Rome and in Kiev. A
monument of Exarch Antim I was built in Edirne.
18 N. Premianov met prime minister B. Borisov in January 2012 and insisted on including the laying of wreaths
at the monuments of Captain Petko in the programme of state delegations to Italy and the Ukraine.