Macedonia and Bulgarian National Nihilism
Ivan Alexandrov


The fourth question concerns the insurrections of the Bulgarian-Macedonians. We consider our two main rebellions, the Kresna-Razlog (1878) and the Ilinden-Preobrazhenski (1903) as continuations of the April rebellion in 1876, and as magnificent protests against the unjust decision of the Berlin Congress. Naturally they form part of the heroic episodes of Bulgaria's history. But of the other two rebellions instigated by the same population, the Tikveshkoto and Ohridsko-Debrskoto (1913), in which over 3000 perished in a spontaneous uprising against the occupation of Macedonia by Serbia, and against the terms of the Bucharest Treaty (10th August 1913), nothing was said in our history, until very recently. Neither have we ever celebrated their anniversary. They remain unacknowledged in Skopje's history of the "Macedonian people". These rebellions were the work of IMRO, and thus Bulgarian insurrections. Our silence acts in unison with, and directly supports the foreign falsifiers of Bulgaria's history. The only text where the two rebellions are described in any detail, and as the actions of Bulgarians-Macedonians and some Albanians against the new oppressors, is that of assistant Professor Dimiter Gotsev entitled "The National-Liberation Struggle in Macedonia 1912-1915" published 1981.

Another factor which contributes to our silence on these rebellions stems from an incorrect appraisal of the Inter-Allied War (1913), where we confused the misadventures of the Monarch with the justified struggle of enslaved Bulgarians to prevent partition of Macedonia and unification with Bulgaria. Surely the time has arrived when we must pay our respects and suitably acknowledge the self-sacrifice of all those who died or participated in the quest for national liberation and unification? Only then may we truly distance ourselves from all the foreign distorters of Bulgarian history.

The liberation movement in Macedonia spanned some 50 years, but we have literally reduced it to only 10-20 years, that is until the Balkan Wars during 1912-13. That is why rebellions by Bulgarian-Macedonians against the Serbians have largely remained unacknowledged. Even after the 1913 uprisings there were many more by the same people. Bulgaria must be the only country in the world whose fallen patriotic fighters are either ignored or their sacrifice denigrated! Perhaps within the new Bulgarian framework the 2nd of June could be named "Day of Botev and the Fallen for National and Social Liberation of Bulgaria", affording us a way to honour and revere all those who gave their lives in the just wars - in the struggle for national unification.


With respect to the memory of those who fell in battle, one notices some truly puzzling and contradictory behaviour. For example, when we celebrate Ilinden-Preobrazhenski, it is quite bizarre how we fail to acknowledge all of the leaders of the rebellion from both the main coordinating group and the revolutionary districts. Yet when we discuss the April Uprising it would be unthinkable not tc mention George Benkovski (1841-76), Panayot Volov (1838-76), Todor Kableshkov (1851-76) and many other prominent leaders. Similarly, discussion of the September Uprising requires recognition of the leading roles of Vasil Kolarov, Georgi Dimitrov, Gavril Genov and many more. Why then for the Ilinden-Preobrazhenski Uprising do we disregard the contribution of Boris Sarafov, Hristo Matov, Ivan Garvanov and many other leaders of the MLM? It is time we stopped denigrating the memories and deeds of those who were an integral part of our national-revolutionary history, through use of derogatory terms such as Sarafovsti, Matovtsi, Garvanovtsi, while we simultaneously honour and pay homage to confirmed traitors of the MLM. Every individual who took part in the revolutionary struggle should be afforded a place in our national history.

IMRO was the most capable Bulgarian Liberation Movement in our history. But in the end it was compelled to wage battles on many fronts - against the Ottoman authorities, the Greek religio-cultural propagandists, the Serbians, then against a joint Serbian-Greek alliance and finally even against the dissidents within IMRO itself. However, as a sad but vivid indictment of Bulgarian national mentality, in the film "Measure according to Measure" (Mera Spored Mera), IMRO and its struggles are cruelly belittled. This can only cause consternation and indignation to those viewers who justifiably want to see an appropriate portrayal of a heroic and patriotic national revolutionary struggle.

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