Page 42 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
generation. And there is nothing surprising in it. An organisation can attract and involve the
young with the power of its ideas, with the magnetism of a cause coming from the past, or
rather resurrected from the past, but only if it is striving towards the future, with clearly stated
goals that can conquer the minds and the hearts. Otherwise, it is useless to flatter ourselves
with the thought that the Thracian movement is a wide-spread movement of the people (who
are actually getting older). Because the imposing national celebrations on days of tribute,
the magnificent folk fests, the unveiling of a range of monuments built with heroic efforts
(when are we going to invest in people?) – all these are only fleeting mass culture events,
which cannot compensate for the lack of a permanent dynamic patriotic policy (not only
with declarations on paper), of genuine understanding of social and national issues
(cf. www.
forum.bg-nacionalisti.org).
It is an entirely different issue that these expectations express another set of hardened
frameworks and images, which in their nature limit thinking in the blueprints of the national and
reproduce familiar stereotypes of the enemy on the other side of the border.
Social networks and the border
Maintaining social networks through the symbolic capital of the heritage of Thracian
Bulgarians is an important prerequisite for the living energy of the Thracian organisation,
which cannot secure continuity between the generations. The perspective to look at heritage
“with new eyes” (to borrow Bourdieu’s phrase) reveals the topical issue of compensations for
the Thracian properties left behind in Turkey. The movement for finding the evidence of having
owned property is a prerequisite for a re-evaluation of the significance of the ‘Thracian roots’, for
joining the social network and assessing the Thracian link as symbolic capital.
An actual step towards restoring and maintaining a network are the meetings of the
fellow villagers. Such a meeting under the slogan “Back to the roots” has been organised for
three years in a row, at the end of April, by a descendant of Thracian refugees in Sliven. The event
brings together the descendants of refugees from Eastern and Western Thrace, predominantly
from the villages in the region of Keşan и Uzunköprü. Apart from the descendants, the meeting
welcomes representatives of the leaders of UTSB, experts from the Central State Archive, media
figures, researchers, etc. The event includes both organised and spontaneous initiatives. In
2011, the preliminary agenda listed: paying tribute to the victims and heroes (laying wreaths
at the Thracian chapel plaque), visiting the
SHARED THRACE
exhibition,
25
showing stop-frames
from the
1913 Refugees
and
To the lands of our ancestors in Western and Eastern Thrace
films (the
latter made in the summer of 2010), meeting the presenter of “Driven away from their native
lands” (a show on SKAT television), listening to the speeches of experts from the Central State
Archive in connection with a project entitled “The properties of Bulgarian refugees from Eastern
25 The photo exhibition presented the observations of the team of the research project. The authors, V. Ganeva-
Raycheva and N. Rashkova were specially invited by the organiser of the feloow-villagers meeting.