Freedom or Death. The Life of Gotsé Delchev

Mercia MacDermott

 

CHAPTER XXV

O little bird, O nightingale,

Sing me, oh, sing me a little song,

That will be heard, far, far away.

Far, far away, o'er the Vardar.

 

That will be heard, far, far away.

O'er the Vardar, in Veles town,

From Prilep town to Krushovo.

 

To Krushovo and to the woods,

Beyond the woods stands the Bear's Rock –

A hero bold is fighting there,

A hero bold – Pitu Guli.

 

Harken, O ye of Krushovo,

Why are ye so sad and dismayed,

With all your homes burnt and destroyed,

And with your guns useless and spoilt?

 

Harken, O ye Macedonians,

Do not shed tears, do not lament,

Freedom cannot be built without

Blood sacrifice by the people!

    Folksong

 

 

Did we think victory great?

So it is – But now it seems to me, when

                        it cannot be helped,

That defeat is great,

And death and dismay are great.

   

    Walt Whitman

    (To a foiled Revolver or Revoltress)

 

Thus Gotsé never saw the rising which had been to him both dream and nightmare, lodestar and spectre, and there were those among his comrades who deemed it fortunate that he was spared the ordeal of witnessing the confirmation of his worst forebodings.

 

And yet the rising was as much a part of Gotsé's life as if he had actually been present in the ranks of the insurgents, for in it the Organization - his Organization - was weighed in the balance and assayed. The true significance of the rising is not that it achieved nothing but bloodshed and ashes, but that, in the course of it, the Organization demonstrated that it had indeed carried out a 'revolution in men's minds', and that, faced with the acid test of power, its members were not found wanting. The humanity, idealism and internationalism displayed in the moment of initial victory by those whom the Organization had trained to lead and rule were, and still are, an example that should excite the admiration and emulation of all who believe in the brotherhoood of man.

 

 

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Immediately after his lengthy discussions with Gotsé, Damé Gruev left Salonika for Smilevo where the delegates of the Bitolya Revolutionary Region were to discuss the forthcoming rising. The choice of this proud mountain village as a venue for the regional congress was a happy one: not only was Smilevo fanatically loyal to the Organization, it was also Damés birthplace, and the entire population, together with the congress delegates, turned out to greet the returned exile, who was at one and the same time their revered leader and their nearest and dearest. Young and old, great and small, the chetnitsi with their highly polished weapons, the local women in their beautiful national costumes ablaze with heavy scarlet embroidery and swaying tassels - all combined in a noisy, colourful flood that swept him up on the outskirts of the village and escorted him home in triumph.

 

It was natural that the arrival of Damé - local boy, founder of the Organization and envoy of the Central Committee - should have caused the greatest stir among the inhabitants of this quiet secluded village, but there were also many other visitors, the presence of any one of which would normally have been considered an event in itself. There was Boris Sarafov, as picturesque and effervescent as ever, with an entourage recruited in the Principality; there were top-ranking delegates from the Bitolya Regional Committee, and there was a host of voivodi and local leaders, representing all nine districts of the Region, and including such experienced veterans as Pando Klyashev, Vasil Chekalarov, Slaveiko Arsov and Nikola Petrov Rusinsky. In addition, there were numerous chetnitsi, who assisted the local members of the Organization to patrol not only Smilevo, but all the roads and neighbouring villages so that there would be no possibility of the delegates being surprised by the Turks. All these dangerous and exotic visitors found safety and hospitality in the solid, white stone houses built by Smilevo's celebrated master masons, and the Congress itself was held in the spacious home of Georgi Churanov, Chairman of the local Committee.

 

Unlike the hasty, hole-and-corner 'congress' in Salonika, the Smilevo Congress of the Bitolya Region was as democratic and fully representative a gathering as was possible under the circumstances. Thirty-two delegates attended the opening session and, in the course of the next few days more arrived, so that by the end of the Congress, which lasted a week, their number had swelled to nearly fifty.

 

The first item on the agenda was the reports on the situation in the various districts. Few were even tolerably well armed, and the majority of delegates were against an early rising. Lozanchev, who had been the Region's sole representative at the Salonika Congress, came in for a great deal of criticism for having spoken and voted in favour of a rising without prior consultation with the other regional leaders.

 

 

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Finding himself in a very uncomfortable position, Lozanchev tried to wriggle out of it by saying that he had been pressurized into supporting the Salonika decision, when, in actual fact, the boot had been on the other foot. Finally, Dame, the unanimously elected chairman of the Congress, intervened and told the delegates not to waste time discussing whether or not there should be a rising. The question had been decided, there was no going back, and the matter before the Congress was the actual conduct of the rising. [1]

 

The extent to which insurgent fever had already gripped the people was reflected in the games being played by the children of Smilevo. While the Congress was in session, two hundred of them divided into two armies and began a full-scale 'battle' with stones, catapults and wooden swords on hills around the village. Soon the delegates were craning their necks to watch through the windows and were paying no attention at all to what was being said. Damé rang his bell and called them sternly to order, but when he himself looked out of the window, he, too, became so absorbed in the 'battle' that he adjourned the Congress for ten minutes. [2]

 

When the very children were singing 'We want to fight, to fight, and to defeat the foe' and other such songs, there was indeed no going back, and the Congress settled down to the practical tasks of setting up a General Staff, appointing local commanders, training, drawing up rules, stock-piling supplies, determining tactics, etc. It was decided that the rising should be partisan in character, and that cheti of between 30-50 men should be formed in every area, while the non-combattant population remained passive in their homes. Careful consideration was also given to the question of how the insurgents should behave towards the Turks. It was agreed that, while beys' towers, army barracks and all military units, whether regular or bashibozouk, were to be attacked wherever possible, all peaceful Turkish villages were to be respected and spared, unless there was wide-spread burning of Bulgarian villages by Turks. No atrocities were to be committed under any circumstances, and no Turkish woman, child or elderly person was in any way to be harmed.

 

The decisions regarding Turkish civilians were strictly, honourably and quixotically obeyed by all the insurgents in victory and in bloody defeat, to the bitter, bitter end...

 

After the Congress, the delegates dispersed to their districts and preparations entered their final and most feverish phase. The whole country was gripped with revolutionary enthusiasm. Additional guns and cartridges were purchased from Turks, whose poverty and apathetic attitude to their state led them to indulge in this strange trade without much thought for the possible consequences. Peasants fearlessly appeared in their hundreds for military instruction at dead of

 

 

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night, and, in some areas, including the one in which Sarafov was working, large scale manoeuvres with mock battles were even included in the scheme of training. [3] Everywhere bullets were being cast, rusks were being baked and supplies were being purchased and stockpiled. Even before the Smilevo Congress, James McGregor, the British Vice-Consul in Bitolya, had reported an unusual and sinister demand for petroleum, although the days were getting longer, [4] and now the markets throughout the region were doing a roaring trade in moccasins, belts, jackets, vests, water-bottles and other items necessary to equip a warrior. Although it was the leanest time of the year, with several weeks to go before the harvest could be brought in, secret caches of grain, salt and medical supplies were being established at strategic points, and the Organization was giving financial and material aid to some poorer mountain villages already on the verge of starvation, so that they could lay in adequate quantities of grain. Last, but not least, blood-red silk was being fashioned into banners by the skilled fingers of chosen women, who proudly, lovingly, hopefully embroidered them with the words Freedom or Death...

 

The Smilevo Congress had set no date for the rising, and the choice had been left to the General Staff, consisting of Damé, Boris Sarafov [5] and Lozanchev, who had to take into account two mutually incompatible considerations. One was the impossibility of keeping such extensive preparations secret for any length of time, and the other was the persistent indications that the new Bulgarian Government of Racho Petrov would support the rising if it was postponed until after the delivery of certain essential arms supplies ordered abroad. [6]

 

In the end, the first consideration outweighed the second, and, after various postponements, the date was finally fixed for July 20/ August 2, the feast of the Prophet Elijah, or, as the Bulgarians call it, Ilinden, the day of St Iliya. [7] The choice was an appropriate one, for St Iliya, who rides the sky in a thundering chariot, bringing welcome rain to the parched and thirsty land, was in reality the pagan deity Perun, thinly disguised in Christian vestments - Perun, lord of the lightning and stormy sky, to whom the ancient Slavs sacrificed bulls, and sometimes even human beings.

 

The bulls had already been sacrificed, for everywhere the peasants were selling their precious oxen to buy guns. Now the other sacrifice had to be made, and, from Ohrid to the shores of the Black Sea, from Shar and Rila to the Gulf of Thermai, there were people ready to make it. Only a signal from the Organization was required.

 

On July 28 (new style), mounted couriers were despatched to all the districts in the Bitolya Revolutionary Region, with detailed last minute instructions to the commanders and hectographed proclamations to be read to the people.

 

 

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Ilinden, 1903, was neither longer nor more sultry than any comparable summer's day, but to those who were impatiently awaiting the night, it seemed interminable, as though the sun stood stationary in the white-hot sky. Towards evening, on a mountain meadow above Smilevo, in the presence of Damé, Sarafov, Lozanchev and all the local insurgents, the red banner of the General Staff was solemnly consecrated by the village priest. Then, one by one, the men who composed this motley assembly of teachers, peasants, artisans and officers united by a single aim and bound by a single vow, approached the silken symbol of their struggle and paid it homage. There were congratulations, good wishes, blessings, embraces, kisses and joyous tears.

 

And all over the Bitolya region, the same scene was being repeated...

 

At last the heat-haze ceased to shimmer over the scorched red soil; the sun dropped down behind the mountains, and the full moon took its place.

 

Then Macedonia exploded. The stillness was rent by rifle-fire, first single shots, and then a cannonade. The shadows were torn aside as blazing hay-ricks, towers and barracks carried the news from ridge to ridge, from valley to valley. The severed wires of the Sultan's telegraph service remained silent, while the bells of the Bulgarian churches rang out at midnight as though it were Easter and not Ilinden. The rising - longed for, dreaded, inevitable - had begun.

 

The world at large was informed of the true nature of the rising and of its own responsibility in the following Declaration which the Central Committee, through its representatives in Sofia, sent to the Governments of the Great Powers and to the Bulgarian and foreign press:

 

 

'The unpunished violence of the Muslims and systematic persecution on the part of the administration has driven the Christians of Macedonia and the Adrianople Region to the necessity of resorting to mass armed defence. They have embraced this extremity after exhausting all peaceful means for forcing Europe to intervene in the spirit of the Treaties which govern the state of these populations. This intervention still remains the only means for eliminating the evil and stopping the bloodshed. Since the ineffective steps hitherto taken by the Concert of Europe to improve the Turkish regime with paliative measures have led only to an intensification of Muslim fanaticism and state coercion, it has become obvious that such intervention will be effective only if it were to have as its intended and immediate result: 1. The appointment, with the agreement of the Greater Powers, of a chief Christian governor who has never belonged to the

 

 

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Turkish administration and who will be independent of the Sublime Porte in the fulfilment of his duties. 2. The establishment of international control, collective, permanent and possessing wide sanction rights.

 

In making known the reasons which have provoked this desperate act on the part of the insurgent populations, as well as the measures which can halt its consequences, the Internal Organization rejects all responsibility, and declares that it will continue the fight until its final aim has been achieved, drawing strength from its consciousness of its duty and from the sympathy of the civilized world.' [8]

 

 

To keep 'the sympathy of the civilized world', everything possible was done to prevent the shedding of innocent blood. On the eve of the rising, the General Staff sent the following letter to the Director of Railways:

 

'Mr Director,

 

The General Staff of the Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Committee has the honour to inform the Respected Management of the Eastern Railways that it has decided to begin today the rising in the name of the freedom of the Christian population in Macedonia and the Adrianople Region against the Turkis1 which for five centuries not only has not recognized the most elementary human rights, but has not shown or given the slightest guarantee for the life, property and honour of the Christian population, which, as a consequence of this regime has reached the end of its tether and finds it necessary to proclaim the struggle against its bloody enemy with the cry: "Freedom or Death!"

 

'Since the rising will of absolute necessity involve some dynamiting of the railway lines, the above-mentioned General Staff, in human duty bound, warns the Respected Management to be prudent and not to permit the inhabitants of the country to travel on the Eastern Railways, so that there will be no innocent victims. 'We beg you to accept, Mr Director, an assurance of our deep respect.'

 

The letter was signed by Damé, Sarafov and Lozanchev, and, on receiving it, the Management of the Eastern Railways immediately announced that it could not guarantee the safety of passangers travelling between Salonika and Bitolya. [9]

 

Lest any insurgent forget himself in the heat of the moment and be tempted indiscriminantly to repay the Turks in kind, the General Staff issued the following proclamation:

 

'We have taken up arms against tyranny and inhumanity. We are fighting in the name of freedom and humanity; therefore our cause stands above all national and racial differences. For this reason we consider as our brothers all who suffer in the dark realm of the

 

 

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Sultan. Today, all the Christian populations are suffering, so are the Turkish peasants themselves. Our only enemy is the Turkish Government and he who takes up arms or informs against us, or attacks defenceless old people, women and children, instead of us-with him we shall fight, on him we shall take revenge.' [10]

 

 

All over the Bitolya Region, on the first night and the days that followed, barracks and police stations were attacked, bridges were blown up, telegraph wires cut and beys' towers were set on fire. Regular Turkish troops were defeated and put to flight by ill-equipped, numerically inferior peasant squadrons richer in visions than in guns, and where villages and whole areas were temporarily liberated, these visions became reality. No one seemed to worry if, in the vicissitudes of the struggle, he and his family were rendered destitute. In Smilevo when there was a danger of the Turkish soldiers entrenching themselves in the historic congress house, which occupied a commanding position in the village, Churanov himself consented to its being burnt, and, while Sarafov and two others crept under enemy fire to sprinkle it with kerosine, he began to sing:

 

We are not seeking riches.

We are not seeking gold,

For what we want is freedom

And human rights for all.

 

The ordinary people shared the exultation of their leaders, and reacted with cheerful stoicism to the burning of their villages. 'Just as long as we're alive, we'll build ourselves finer houses,' the people of Bolno told Slaveiko Arsov, 'there were illuminations in the village, but can anything be achieved without burning?' Only one woman in Bolno cried and that was over her beehives full of honey and not over her house. [11] The people of Kosinets, who were fleeing from their homes after the neighbouring village of Dŭmbeni had been burnt by Turkish soldiers, expressed similar sentiments to Ivan Popov, one of the Kastoria voivodi. 'To hell with the village,' they said, 'as long as you're alive, when we're free we'll build better houses.' [12] This procession, which struck Popov as optimistic and gay, was led by the village schoolmistress, who had a dagger in her belt. She was Victoria Mihailova, who, as a shy school-girl had burned the eggs when Gotsc visited her uncle's house in Bitolya. [13] Among those who accepted with equanimity the burning of their homes was Shefki, a Turk from the village of Elha (Resen district), who had whole-heartedly thrown in his lot with the insurgents. It was right that this house should be burnt, he said, for it had been built with tainted money. [14]

 

Where villages were cleared of Turkish troops, the liberation was celebrated with meetings, feasts, songs and the traditional horo, and

 

 

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local committees were set up to administer the areas. Everywhere the people were seized with a new spirit of community and brotherhood. In many liberated areas, the fields were reaped collectively and the cattle became common property, not by order, but spontaneously. 'We rested and filled our cartridges. The harvest began collectively - communism, without anyone asking what was mine or thine - later, each farmer would thresh his own.' [15]

 

In the small Vlah township of Neveska, one of the highest mountain settlements in Macedonia, the Vlahs and Bulgarians held a banquet at which they spent the whole night feasting and talking about their future coexistence under autonomy. Earlier, after one of the Lerin voivodi had explained the aims of the rising, the local Vlahs had collected 85 liri in support of the insurgents, who had distributed to the poor the food supplies captured when the combined Lerin and Kastoria cheti had stormed the Turkish barracks.

 

In Ohrid, the Organization had plastered the town with posters in Turkish, calling on the Turkish inhabitants to remain neutral since the rising was directed not against them but against the tyranical government. The posters roused some of the more narrow-minded Turks to a frenzy of fanaticism, but they caused the more educated to think. The kaimakam - an enlightened Albanian - sent for the Greek Metropolitan Bishop, and, showing him one of the posters, said that he had been forced to revise his earlier opinion of the Bulgarian 'bandits', and wanted the Bishop's co-operation in maintaining order in the town. He also took steps to curb the more rabid elements, so that Ohrid itself remained quiet throughout the rising, although some of the bloodiest fighting occurred in the surrounding countryside.

 

In the fire of battle and the joyous anticipation of freedom, many old enmities were temporarily forgotten. In Pirin, Supremist cheti fought side by side with those of the Organization; inveterate foes, like Yané Sandansky and General Tsonchev, shook hands and kissed each other, and even Doncho and Koté [16] were received back into the fold.

 

At the opposite end of the Organization's territory, on the shores of the Black Sea, the population entered the struggle equally inspired by visions of a new world based on brotherhood and tolerance. The Adrianople Region held its preparatory congress somewhat later than Bitolya, on June 28/July 11, 1903. Forty-seven delegates - including representatives of the Central Committee, the Regional Committee and the district committees, together with most of the voivodi - guarded by several hundred armed men, met for four days in the open air on Petrova Niva (Peter's Field) near the village of Stoïlovo in the Strandzha Mountains. Excitement ran high as the delegates assembled, and they sang and danced in the moonlight like the

 

 

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woodland fairies of the folk songs. As soon as the Congress opened with an act of homage in memory of Gotsé, everything became coldly serious, as the delegates discussed the central question - to rise or not to rise. All were agreed that they were not ready, and yet, out of solidarity with their Macedonian brothers, who were already committed, they decided that they, too, must rise, so that the full strength of the Turkish Army could not be concentrated against Macedonia. [*]

 

In the days that followed the Congress, communes came into being as the peasants pooled their energy and resources of their own volition. The harvest was reaped and threshed collectively. The lands and the cattle became the joint property of the people and the Organization, and grain from the common store was ground to provide both reserves for the insurgents and bread for the people. [17] To allow as much time as possible for preparation, albeit still hopelessly inadequate, the leadership fixed the date of the rising for August 6/19, the feast of the Transfiguration. [18]

 

It was a strange night, for coincidence had brought a Russian fleet to anchor off the port of Eniyada (Igneada) and its searchlights swept the coast, intermittently illuminating the secret places of Strandzha where the insurgents had assembled to begin the rising. The arrival of the Russian fleet was intended as a protest against the murder by a Turkish soldier of the Russian consul in Bitolya, but inevitably it was interpreted by the peasants as a sign that 'Grandfather Ivan' - the traditional protector and liberator of the Bulgarians - was preparing to come to their aid. This illusion lent wings to the concerted whirl wind attacks which brought the rebel ml nitial victories. All over Strandzha, garrisons were attacked and put to fight, telegraph wires were cut, and selected targets, including the lighthouse at Eniyada, were dynamited.

 

As in Macedonia, so also in Thrace, the Organization attempted to make its revolution multi-national. Many of the Gagauzi - a small scattered people speaking Turkish but professing Christianity - had already been won for the Organization. [19] During the rising, strict orders were given not to molest peaceful Turks, although in view of the wholesale burning of Bulgarian villages in Macedonia it was decided to permit the burning of Turkish villages in Thrace, especially those inhabited by muhadzhiri - refugees from areas of the Ottoman Empire which had already gained independence, who were armed and often tormented Bulgarian villagers. Nevertheless, considering the circumstances, the rebels behaved with great restraint and humanity towards the enemy. After capturing the garrison village of

 

 

*. Only one delegate actually voted against the rising, although many others accepted his arguments and shared his fears.

 

 

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Tsiknihor, for example, the rebels gave wounded Turkish soldiers first aid and then set them free.

 

On the first day of the rising, rebels under Mihail Gerdzhikov stormed the little coastal town of Vasiliko (now Michurin), which was mainly inhabited by Greeks. Here, too, captured Turks were treated with exemplary kindness. Gerdizhikov himself addressed them and explained the reasons for the rising: The Sultan's regime is ruinous for all Turkish subjects, and the lack of security is the same for both the Christians and for all Mohamedans who want to live by peaceful and honest labour. This is why the Young Turks, [*] who also claim to be fighting for the radical reform of the Empire, should be acting shoulder to shoulder with us... We are treating you like captured opponents, and we cannot dispose of your lives, even though, had we fallen into your position, we would already have been torn to pieces a hundred times over.' [20] He then set them free to go to Burgas as was their wish, and even gave them money for the journey. 'You are very merciful,' said a captured officer, and added, 'If you ever fall into Turkish hands, rely on me, 1 will help you to the limit of my powers.' [21]

 

In Vasiliko, Ahtopol and other liberated Greek settlements, the Bulgarian leaders explained the aims of the rising, and then handed over the administration to a 'Provisional Government' chosen by the Greeks themselves and responsible to the revolutionary command. Much amazed by such national tolerance, the Vasiliko Greeks sent a delegation bearing gifts to inquire of Gerdzhikov what flag they should raise over the port. When he replied that they could raise any flag they pleased, they were even more amazed and decided to leave the flag pole empty, just in case.

 

For three glorious weeks, the rebel-held area of Strandzha was indeed transfigured and became a miniature republic, based on the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. The Turkish tax-registers were burnt. Each village arranged its own affairs by common consent, and the Greeks and Bulgarians forgot their ancient feuds and found themselves able to co-operate. The peasants continued to work the land in common, and both chetnitsi and non-combattants were supplied with food from common stores. The poorest peasants were, in fact, much better off than before, when their plot of land and few beasts could be snatched from them by money lenders. Now they and their modest property belonged to the Organization, and as long as there was food for all, there would be food for them, too. [22]

 

Nowhere, however, was the moral stature of the Organization so clearly manifest as in the short-lived 'Krushovo Republic'. Nowhere was the true meaning of autonomy so triumphantly demonstrated as

 

 

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during the ten days when the insurgents ruled this eyrie of a town, with its multiplex population.

 

Krushovo is the highest town in the Balkan Peninsula, the last stop on a road that leads to nowhere, a road that streaks like an arrow across the plain from Prilep and then toils up the mountain side in a tangle of hairpin bends. Here, at an altitude of four thousand feet, Krushovo nestles in a sunlit hollow overlooking the world, with only the sky above. The houses rise amphitheatrically, solid two-and three-storey buildings, roofed with stone, yet light and airy in appearance, with their walls painted white or azure blue, and their upper storeys sparkling with windows and gay with coquettish wrought-iron balconies.

 

The mixed population of Bulgarians, Vlahs, Greeks, [*] Graecomanes, and Albanians had originally come to Krushovo seeking a measure of peace from the tyranny and disorders that bedevilled the Sultan's realm. Many of the Bulgarians were master-craftsmen - masons, carpenters, woodcarvers and ikon-painters - who travelled far and wide to earn a living, while the other nationalities occupied themselves with cattle-breeding and trade. The Turkish element was very small indeed, and, apart from the garrison of sixty soldiers, it consisted of a handful of civil-servants and their families.

 

At the Smilevo Congress, Krushovo's representative, Nikola Karev, [23] had argued vehemently for a postponement of the rising, but once the question had been decided, Krushovo flung itself wholeheartedly into secret preparations. On Ilinden, while the townsfolk worshipped in their several churches - Bulgarian, Greek and Vlah - and attended wedding feasts, the armed insurgents, organized in eight detachments, took up their positions around the town. At midnight, when the first shots rang out, and the church bells began to peal, even those who were not privy to the conspiracy understood what was happening. Lights appeared in all the windows, and the whole population went out onto the streets, embracing each other, kissing and crying in several languages: 'Christ is risen! Blessed be our freedom!' The Government offices were soon captured, but it took several hours of heavy siege to dislodge the garrison from the barracks, and fighting continued around the town until the regular troops and bashibozouks who had attempted to reoccupy it were driven off.

 

The first day and night of freedom were spent in celebrations, and every family vied with its neighbours in preparing tastier dishes and richer banitsi with which to entertain the insurgent detachments,

 

 

*. The genuine Greeks were very few, and most of those who called themselves Greeks were, in fact, people of other nationalities who had fallen under Greek influence and were Patriarchists.

 

 

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which were mostly composed of peasants from the surrounding district, plus some of the town's young intellectuals. At dawn on the first day, the most colourful of the rebel leaders, Pitu Guli, had ridden into town at the head of his men to reinforce the besiegers of the garrison. Pitu Guli was a Vlah, the son of a shepherd from the Gramos Mountains, [24] wild, proud, hot-tempered and generous to a fault. He rode in on a grey stallion, dressed like a fairy-tale hero in a red Circassian clothes, richly ornamented with gold thread, and with a black fur hat perched precariously on top of his thick, unruly curls. His detachment had been given the honour of bearing the town's rebel standard, and now it was displayed to the admiring citizens, who, weeping for joy, came in such numbers that it took two hours for them to pass under its golden fringes and kiss the scarlet silk embroidered on one side with a cross and on the other with the words Freedom or Death.

 

On the second day, August 4, when the Turkish forces had again been successfully repulsed, Nikola Karev called sixty of the most prominent citizens together, and asked them to set up a 'Provisional Government' [25], which would be responsible for justice, public order, supplies, production, finance, health, etc. The 'Government', consisting of a Greek, who acted as chairman, three Bulgarians, an Albanian and a Vlah, immediately began its work in the large Greek school, while the Bulgarian school was turned into a hospital under the direction of a Vlah doctor. The 'Government' also organized the production of moccasins, bandoleers, bullets, etc., and brought in adequate supplies of flour, which was distributed free of charge to needy citizens. The wives and children of the former Turkish civil-servants were well cared for by the 'Government', who installed them in a special house, supplied them with food and set a sentry at the gate to ensure they were not molested, Later, when the 'Republic' was drowned in blood, a delegation of these same Turkish women went to Bahtiyar Pasha, the Turkish Commander, to tell him of the kindnesses which they had received and to beg him to show similar mercy to the defeated insurgents.

 

The insurgents also sent letters to the surrounding Mohammedan villages, explaining the aims of the rising and assuring the civilian population that they had nothing to fear. Three hours after these letters had reached the elders of the Turkish village of Aldantsi, the rebels received the following answer from the mayor:

 

'From your letters we have understood that you are not bad people, and that you have left your homes not to attack peaceful people (like ourselves) but that you are against bad people and the Government, which protects them. But those whom you seek are not amongst us, but have fled to the towns. As for us, we promise

 

 

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to remain peaceful. If you want to kill innocent people, come. God will help the side that is seeking justice.

 

'We have sent the other letters to the neighbouring villages, which also agree with us.' [26]

 

The insurgents were not content with verbal statements only. When Nikola Karev heard that one of his men had seized some Turkish shepherds together with their flocks in order to provide food for the 'Republic' and its 'army', he told the man that this was precisely the kind of thing that they had risen against, and he ordered him to apologize to the shepherds and to release both them and their sheep. Ali, the commander of the Krushovo garrison, who had fled to Aldantsi, was so much encouraged by the attitude of the insurgents, that he sent them a letter, praising their courage and asking them to forward the clothes which he had abandoned in his flight. [27]

 

On the first Sunday of the 'Republic', July 27/August 9, solemn liturgies, attended by the members of the 'Provisional Government' and the General Staff, were held in all three churches. In a splendid gesture of tolerance and unity, the Bulgarian Socialist, Nikola Karev, attended the service in the Greek church, while one of his Bulgarian lieutenants joined the Vlahs in theirs. Afterwards, all three congregations walked together in procession to the cemetery to hold a memorial service, to lay wreaths on the graves of those who had died in the rising, and to hear an address by Nikola Karev.

 

For ten days, the red banner of the Krushovo 'Republic' streamed across the cloudless summer sky. For ten days all that the Organization had taught found full expression in public life. There was racial harmony, good government, justice and security. No one went hungry, no matter how destitute they had been before. Even such negative phenomena as drunkenness, quarrelling and pilfering vanished, as the whole population was gripped by the wonder of the new life and tried to be worthy of it.

 

For ten days the sun shone upon Krushovo, 'not just any sun, but the sun of freedom', and the hearts of the people sang like the nightingales in the woods that ringed their town. And then the sun was darkened as Bahtiyar Pasha marched against the 'Republic' with twenty thousand men supported by artillery. Desperate resistance was offered by the 'Republic's' twelve-hundred strong 'army'. Forty of them, under Georgi Stoyanov from the nearby village of Arilevo, fought to the last bullet in trenches at a place called Sliva, where Stoyanov's family had a field. When the ammunition was exhausted and the Turkish flood still flowed inexorably towards their positions, the surviving rebels kissed each other, put their revolvers in their mouths and shot themselves with their last bullets. Silence fell upon Sliva, and when the Turks cautiously approached the trenches and

 

 

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realised what had happened, the officer-in-command was so impressed by the heroism of the dead rebels that he ordered his men to fire three volleys in salute.

 

When Krushovo was already on fire, the General Staff, supported by the 'Provisional Government', decided to withdraw its forces in order to conserve them for future struggle, and in the hope of saving the town from unnecessary slaughter and destruction. Only Pitu Guli refused to listen to these long-sighted counsels of prudence. His fierce, romantic soul interpreted the slogan Freedom or Death quite literally: if there was not to be freedom in Krushovo now, once and for all, then he would die there, there and then. He left the meeting, and took his banner and his detachment of three hundred and seventy men to Mechkin Kamen - the Bear's Rock - a rocky plateau to the south of Krushovo. There they defied the Turks from ten in the morning until nightfall, when the survivors vanished into the forests, leaving Pitu Guli and forty of their comrades dead.

 

For three days Bahtiyar Pasha allowed his men to run riot through the town, beating, killing, burning and raping. A hundred and seventeen people were killed, a hundred and fifty women and girls were raped, and a hundred and fifty-nine houses and two hundred and ten shops were burnt. For days the bodies lay unburied, stripped of their clothes by the Turks, gnawed by the dogs and pigs, and smelling to high heaven in the summer heat. [29]

 

Everywhere the dream ended in horrors worse than anything anyone in the leadership of the rising had ever imagined. Not even a thousandth part of the humanity universally displayed by the insurgents in their hour of victory was reciprocated by the 'pacifying' Turkish forces when they gained the upper hand, [30] as inevitably they did. The Turks had a modern regular army of between two and three hundred thousand men, armed with the latest weapons; they had cavalry and they had artillery. The Organization took the field with between fourteen and twenty-six thousand combattants, [31] armed with obsolete rifles, knives, cudgels, axes, pitchforks, and such like. Krushovo had, in addition, several home-made cannon fashioned out of cherry-tree trunks - and faith. Only in the Bitolya Region and in Strandzha was the rising mass in character. Elsewhere, for various reasons - planned and unplanned - participation was limited and sporadic. Even where the rising was mass, many mistakes were made: in spite of the Organization's internationalism, not enough had been done to win the active support of other nationalities, including the Albanians, who were very numerous in the Ohrid area; the strategy was not sufficiently offensive; contrary to the advice given by the officers on the General Staffs, major towns were not attacked; there was insufficient co-ordination and an absence of overall command;

 

 

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in the liberated areas, where so much loving attention was given to the building of a brave new world, not enough was done to consolidate military successes and to protect the revolution, and, in general, not enough attention had been given to the problem of what was to happen after the carefully planned initial operations.

 

This lack of thought for the future was due in part to the deep-seated but erroneous belief that once the rising had started, the Principality would help them and the Great Powers would intervene. Even at the Smilevo Congress, Saratov had soothed the doubters with assurances based on a conversation he had had with the Bulgarian Minister of War, that a vast army was ready to march to their aid as soon as the first shot was fired. [32] In fact, nothing had ever been properly discussed or agreed, and the Bulgarian Government neither told the leaders of the rising that no aid would be forthcoming, nor took any steps to be ready to help. Ferdinand was abroad when the rising started and made no effort to hasten home. When he did return to Sofia, his first act was to dissolve the National Assembly, a clear indication that the Principality was not contemplating any drastic action. He also ordered the closing of the frontier between the Principality and Turkey in the Strandzha area, thus blocking the road for any unofficial aid. [33]

 

On September 9/22, Damé, Boris Sarafov and Lozanchev met to discuss the situation, which already seemed to be hopeless, and they drew up a statement which they sent to the Bulgarian Government. After describing in concise, unemotional language the plight of the people - the threat of famine, the desecration of churches, the closing of all schools, the burning of villages, the killing and ill-treatment of civilians, the united attempts of the Turks and Greek bishops to persuade the Exarchist population to recognise the Patriarch in exchange for free pardons - they made this final appeal:

 

'After all this, we wonder how the respected Government, which directs the interests of the Bulgarian people, can continue to look so cold-bloodedly upon the systematic extermination of the Bulgarian population and the loss of our Bulgarian fame and honour before the world.

 

Being placed at the head of our national movement, we appeal to you in the name of the Bulgarian slave to hasten to his aid in the most effective manner- through war.We believe that the response of the people of free Bulgaria will be the same.

 

Awaiting your patriotic intervention, we are pleased to inform you that we are holding in readiness the armed forces which we have so far spared.' [34]

 

Ten days later, on September 19/October 2, the General Staff took the decision to stop fighting and to disband all but the permanent

 

 

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cheti. Nothing but disaster and demoralization could result from prolonging the struggle now. All that could be done had been done. It was now up to the Bulgarian Government and the Great Powers.

 

The Bulgarian Government contented itself with a note to the Great Powers, protesting against the massacres in Thrace and Macedonia, and threatening unspecified action if there was no amelioration of the situation. And there, in spite of the protest meetings, processions, appeals and prayers organized by the Bulgarian people, the Government's activities in this direction ended.

 

The Great Powers played a waiting game, with each trying to wrest some benefit from the situation without significantly changing the status quo. Austria and Russia produced a new set of reforms, [35] which, as usual, fell far short of what was required and were never properly implemented.

 

And that was all...

 

The rising had lasted two months and it cost the rebels a total of 994 combattants and 4,694 civilians killed, 201 villages burnt, 12,440 houses destroyed, 3,122 women and girls raped, and 176 kidnapped, and nearly 70,000 homeless. [36] Statistics, however, are intrinsically incapable of conveying what they are intended to convey in human terms, for they turn people into ciphers and destroy individuality by amalgamation. To understand the true meaning of these statistics it is necessary to extract some of the impersonal numbers from the mass and turn them back into people. Among the civilian dead, for example, was a girl, from the village of Mramorets (Kichevo district), who was raped by some fifty Turkish soldiers before being killed. [37] After a battle near Lake Prespa, a chetnik named Nikola Topalov was blinded and flayed alive by his Turkish captors. [38] In Krushovo a girl's earrings were torn out of her ears and her hand was cut off in order to enable her assailants to take her bracelets. [39] When the Turks arrested Lozan Spasov Samardzhiya, a leading citizen of Krushovo, they sprinkled him with petrol and burnt him alive. [40] Maria Traikova, whose husband had been killed only a few days previously, ran back into the burning village of Buf to search for her only child; she found him, but they were both caught and hacked to pieces by Turkish soldiers. [41] Behind each and every digit of the statistics there is a similar story of horror, grief and suffering.

 

Thirty thousand refugees fled into the Principality over mountains already white with snow. On the way they lived like animals, eating berries, fruits and roots, and the survivors arrived in pathetic groups: children without parents, parents without children, dishevelled, naked, or in rags, half of them without shoes, their feet horribly raw and swollen. Many had festering wounds and burns, and some had lost their reason. In a dispatch describing his encounter with such refugees,

 

 

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the Daily News Special Correspondent wrote: 'I will try and tell this story coldly, calmly, dispassionately. There is no need for any man's painting. Rather must one tone the horrors down, for in their nakedness they are unprintable. There is no variety in the colouring: it is all red and black, red with the blood of foul, unholy murder, black with the smoke of burning homes, and blacker still with the crimes committed upon womanhood.' [42]

 

Public opinion in Britain was much stirred by the events in Macedonia. There were meetings, demonstrations, letters to the press, services of intercession, collections in aid of the refugees, and special sermons with the text 'Come over into Macedonia and help us!' Among those who raised their voices in protest were H. H. Asquith MP, Herbert Gladstone MP, James Bryce MP, Noel and Charles Roden Buxton, the archaeologist Arthur Evans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of Rochester and Worcester, James Bouchier and many other journalists, politicians, trade-unionists, churchmen and ordinary citizens. Balfour's [43] statement in the House of Commons that 'the balance of criminality' lay not with the Turks but with the rebels was indignantly rejected. ' "The balance of criminality" is surely here in our own land,' retorted a reader of the Daily News, who pointed out that Britain had allowed the revision of the Treaty of San Stefano, knowing that 'Ottoman rule was synonymous with cruelty and tyranny', and that by adopting a 'laissez-faire attitude at the present juncture', she had become 'a consenting party to all the ghastly murders and massacres' that had taken place in Macedonia. [44]

 

Britain's special responsibility for the position in Macedonia, in view of her role at the Congress of Berlin, was the leitmotif in the flood of protests that flowed from pulpit, platform and pen.

 

Especially eloquent under the circumstances is a letter written by Miss Stone from Boston to a friend in England:

 

'I confess I was not so sorry to read this morning of Chamberlain's [45] accepted resignation as I should have been had he not taken such a cold-blooded position relative to our terribly suffering Macedonians. Can he not understand that the letters of special correspondents in Macedonia which have been published for months past in "The Daily News" are the true accounts of people struggling against fearful odds for the bare right to live and be free? I am no apologist for rash and outrageous acts by whomsoever committed but I know that when done by the Christians of Macedonia it has been from the frenzy of their desperation at seeing all Christian (?) Europe standing passive, telling the Turk he has a "free hand", another word for inconceivable cruelties, to put down the insurrection. Would to God that Great Britain, who is so largely responsible for the terrible sufferings and loss of life in Macedonia, as well as in

 

 

382

 

Armenia, for the last twenty years, would unite with France and Italy, and put down this blot upon history's fair pages, in this third year of the twentieth century. Prayer is our one resort.' [46]

 

Prayer is our one resort...

 

The Organization did not agree. Before the blood was dry or the ashes cold, it began to rebuild its shattered committees and to restore its severed communications. Many of the leaders, including Damé Gruev, Peré Toshev and Gyorché Petrov, chose to remain in the 'red, red hell' that was Macedonia, and the people - bereaved, homeless and destitute - neither blamed nor foresook them. [47]

 

And so the struggle and the agony continued unabated. Far from being the calculated horror which would end all horrors, the rising had proved to be only another landmark, a towering cairn of horrors, on an interminable road of horrors without end.

 

In the years that followed, the movement was bedevilled by splits and conflicts of ever-increasing ferocity and spite, and the Greeks and Serbs not only stepped up their propaganda but also sent cheti which clashed with those of the Organization until the whole land sizzled with racial and factional hatred.

 

There was a brief interlude of hope and reconciliation during the Hurriyet - the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, when the Sultan was overthrown by his own officers, and many old scores were forgotten in the euphoria that ensued. One of the most moving episodes of this strange oasis in Bulgarian-Turkish relations was the wedding of Gotsé's youngest brother, Hristo, [48] the last of the Delchev boys. Among the guests who crowded the Delchev home were many Turks, who came, loaded with wedding presents, to pour silver coins in front of the bride and to dance and feast with the Bulgarians amid cries of Yaşasun Hurriyet - Long live freedom! Another memorable display of internationalism came from Yané Sandansky, who led his men down from Pirin to Salonika and then to Constantinople itself to support the Turkish Revolution. Turks and komiti embraced and banqueted together, talking of a brave new world of reform and brotherhood.

 

This dream, too, turned sour, and in 1912 the three Balkan states - Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia - banded together in order to redeem through war those territories inhabited by their fellow-countrymen which still languished under Ottoman misrule. [49] Acting, for once, in concert, they won a brilliant victory, and Turkey was obliged to cede all her European possessions west of the Enos-Midia line. Almost immediately, however, the Balkan allies fell out over the division of the spoils. In an atmosphere charged with jealous nationalism, Serbia laid claim to more than had been agreed as her share, and Ferdinand, who in 1908 had acquired the title of Tsar, committed the crowning

 

 

383

 

folly of his baneful career by ordering his army to attack his former allies, without waiting for the Russian arbitration previously agreed upon. This act of criminal lunacy - sanctioned neither by the Bulgarian cabinet, nor by public opinion - ended in total disaster. Bulgaria lost the war and all of Macedonia except the Pirin and Strumitsa areas. Serbia occupied not only the disputed zone, but also those areas that even she had agreed were indisputably Bulgarian.

 

The nightmare that, from the very beginning, had haunted the leaders of the Organization had become reality. Not merely Serbian and Greek propaganda, but Serbian and Greek rule had come to lands where the Slav population was pure Bulgarian. Macedonia was neither to become autonomous, nor was she to be reunited with the Principality. She was doomed to be torn apart, so that instead of becoming a land in the image of the Krushovo 'Republic', she became a cesspit of hatred and gall, a breeding ground for everything that Gotsé most abhorred.

 

It was in the Second Balkan War that Kukush perished. On June 19/July 2 1913, most of the women and children left the town, with picnic baskets and little else, to avoid being hit by stray Greek shells. They imagined that they would return home in a matter of hours, after the Bulgarian army had thrown the Greeks into the Aegean. They never saw their homes again. On June 21/July 4 1913, the Greeks entered the almost empty town and systematically burnt it to the ground. [50] Thus, in a single day, Kukush vanished from the face of the earth - Kukush, purely Bulgarian Kukush, with all its proud traditions of struggle against the Phanariot Greeks - and over its ashes there arose a new town named Kilkis, exclusively inhabited by Greeks.

 

From the hills where they had taken refuge, the people of Kukush saw the glow in the sky, and, with breaking hearts, they began the long walk north to the Principality... With them went old Nikola Delchev, leaving behind him not only his blackened home, but the graves of his wife, Sultana, and his three sons, Gotsé, Mitso and Milan. [51]

 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

 

The tragedy of Macedonia did not end there. It continued in a sickening chronicle of blood and venom through two world wars and years of so-called 'peace' that were stained with civil strife and fascism. j Most of it need never have happened, and the moral responsibility for the dreadful events in Macedonia - the 'balance of criminality' - lies not with the immediate personae dramatis, but with those Great Powers who, for their 'own sake's sake', spurned the good seed of San Stefano and sowed the dragon's teeth of Berlin.

 

 

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It was they who gave Macedonia her evil name, and made her the 'powder-keg of Europe' and the poisoned 'apple of discord'. It was they who forced even her saints to sharpen their daggers and fashion bombs. And today, a hundred years later, when the empires to whose greater glory Macedonia was sacrificed, are already 'one with Nineveh and Tyre', the fall-out of Disraeli's 'peace with honour' still lingers in the atmosphere and insidiously contaminates men's souls.

 

Time will assuage the bitterness and grief, and future generations will see the frontier markers - if indeed they still exist - merely as palings around a neighbour's garden, and not as stakes driven through living hearts. They will marvel, perhaps, how the epithet 'great' could ever have been bestowed upon Powers whose claim to 'greatness' rested upon their dominion over subject peoples and their ability to bully weaker states. For greatness is not to be equated with strength or size, but with humanity. It belongs not to the strong, but to the creators of beauty and to those who in divers ways have brought comfort and progress to mankind. It belongs to those who try, however unsuccessfully, to make a heaven out of hell; to those, who, trapped in a welter of hatred and slaughter, cry out that all men can and shall be brothers. And the greatness of these is eternal.

 

To the end of time, the eagles of Macedonia, wheeling through sunlit skies of matchless blue, will scream in dizzy exultation 'Freedom or Death', and the mountains will reply 'So be it'.

 

To the end of time, the nightingales of Krushovo will sing of a moonlight night when the slaves arose, not to take vengeance, not to dictate, but to share their freedom with all.

 

To the end of time, the great pines of Pirin, stirring in the wind, will whisper the names of the men who foresook their homes and sweethearts for the sake of a high ideal. And the oaks of Strandzha, hearing, will repeat the sacred roll.

 

No one is forgotten. The land remembers every one, even the murdered unborn babies who have no names.

 

And the people remember, too, but less distinctly, enshrining their memories in symbols and a pleiad of chosen names. The heroes and martyrs are as the stars of heaven, but all of them are remembered when the people sing of Gotsé - Gotsé, the 'conscience' and the 'soul' of the Internal Organization; Gotsé, who challenged the powers of darkness in the world and in men's minds; Gotsé, who, against all odds, persisted in his belief that love and mercy are stronger than terror and force; Gotsé, for whom all men are brothers, and nationality merely the difference between flowers in a garden; Gotsé, who understood the world 'solely as a field for cultural competition between the peoples', and who deemed it 'no small thing to be just a human being. '

 

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NOTES

 

1. See Memoirs ot Pando Klyashev. Materiali Vol II, pp. 114-115. According to Georgi Pophristov, one of the Bitolya Regional Committee delegates at the Congress, Damé himself considered the Salonika decision to be premature and ill-advised. He had, however, reluctantly recognized that things had already gone too far for the decision to be rescinded (See Materiali, Vol IV, p. 40) Another factor which carried considerable wight was the belief that Bulgaria would, in fact, intervene militarily once the rising had begun.

 

2. Memoirs of Nikola Petrov Rusinsky. Ilindensko-preobrazhenskoto vŭstanie 1903-1968. Sofia 1968. pp. 177-178.

 

3. See Memoirs of Boris Sarafov, Materiali, vol V, p. 91.

 

4. See Foreign Office reports (Public Records Office). F.O. 195 2156 p. 363 (dated April 4, 1903).

 

5. Boris Sarafov had been appointed to the General Staff as much to keep him under surveillance as to profit from his military knowledge. He would otherwise have to have been given a district, where, like the other voivodi, he would have had more freedom of action than was considered advisable in his case. See Memoirs of Slaveiko Arsov. Materiali... Vol I, p. 84.

 

6. See Memoirs of Boris Sarafov, Materiali... Vol V, p. 92.

 

7. The decision was made on July 1/14, and the Central Committee in Salonika and the district commanders were duly informed. The date of the rising gave it its name – the Ilinden Rising.

 

8. Makedonia i Odrinsko. 1893-1903. Memoarna Vŭtreshnata organizatsia. 1904. Sofia, p. 119.

 

9. See Silyanov, Osv. borbi... p. 357.

 

10. Memoar... p. 118.

 

11. Memoirs of Slaveiko Arsov. Materiali... Vol I, p. 108.

 

12. Memoirs of Ivan Popov. Materiali... Vol VI, p. 38.

 

13. Ibid., p. 39.

 

14. Memoirs of Slaveiko Arsov. Materiali... I p. 106-7. and 116.

 

15. Memoirs of Luka Dzherov. Materiali... Vol IV, p. 17.

 

16. Koté very soon reverted to his old life of crime. He also acted as an agent for the Greek Archbishop of Kastoria. One of Koté's worst crimes was to kill the wounded insurgent Lazar Traikov, who had innocently sought sancturary with him. Lazar's head was cut off and sent to the Archbishop, who not merely paid the murderers fifty gold pieces, but had the head photographed. The photo hung on the wall of the room in which the Archibishop received the British relief worker, H.N. Brailsford, who was in Macedonia during the winter of 1903-4. See Silyanov. Osv. borbi, p. 380. Also H.N. Brailsford, Macedonia, Its Races and Their Future. London 1906, p. 193.

 

17. Silyanov. Spomeni ot Strandzha. Sofia 1934, p. 47.

 

18. Although the rising in Thrace was an integral part of the Ilinden Rising, it is known to Bulgarians as the Preobrazhensko vŭstanié - the Rising of the Transfiguration.

 

19. Memoirs of Gerdzhikov. Materiali... Vol IX, p. 44. Here Gerdzhikov speaks of Gagauzi villages between Lozengrad and Adrianople.

 

 

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20. Silyanov. Spomeni ot Strandzha. p. 75.

 

21. Ibid., p. 76-77.

 

22. See Petko Karadelkov, Strandzhanskata komuna in Ilindensko-preobrazhenskoto vŭstanie. 1903-1968. Sofia 1968. p. 122.

 

23. Nikola Karev came from a very poor family. He left school early and went to work first in an inn in the Kichevo district, and then as a carpenter in Sofia, where his employer was the Socialist Vasil Glavinov from Veles. Karev joined the Socialist group led by Glavinov, and, through him, made acquaintance of Dimitŭr Blagoev, Gotsé Delchev, Yavorov and other Socialist. He returned to Macedonia in 1898 and eventually became a teacher in a village near his native Krushovo.

 

24. Pitu Guli's family had fled the tyrrany of Ali Pasha, Lord of Yanina. Pitu himself had worked for a time in Sofia in a little restaurant which he ran jointly with his cousin.

 

25. See G. Tomalevsky. Krushovskata Republika, Sofia 1935, pp. 57-58.

 

26. Memoar… p. 125.

 

27. N. Kirov Maisky. Krushovo i borbité mu za svoboda. Sofia 1935, pp. 57-58.

 

28. Silyanov, Osv. borbi... p. 374.

 

29. See Daily News, August 25 1903.

 

30. One notable exception was the action of Niazi Bey (later a leader of the Young Turk Revolution). In the village of Dŭrmeni, which had a mixed population, he was about to burn the house of the rebel voivoda Spiro Olchev, when the local Turks begged him not to, saying that they had experienced only good from the voivoda, who had even recovered some sheep of theirs which had been taken by a cheta. Some good also came of the intercession of the Krushovo Turks, but only after much of the town had been sacked and many women raped.

 

31. The Memoar, published by the Organization in 1904, gives the relative strenghts of the combatants as three hundred and fifty thousand Turks against twenty-six thousand rebels, while Silyanov gives the figures of two hundred thousand and fourteen thousand respectively (Osv. Borbi… 1933, p. 443 and 442).

 

32. Memoirs of Nikola Petrov Rusinsky. Ilindensko-preobrazhenskoto vŭstanie. 1903-1968. p. 177. Damé Gruev also mentions Sarafov's assurances (See Materiali... Vol V, p. 24). Sarafov himself says that he discouraged the belief in aid from the Principality but that Peré Toshev had received some assurances and so had Hristo Matov (See Materiali... Vol V, p. 92).

 

33. From the beginning of the rising the Great Powers had been putting unprecedented diplomatic pressure on the Bulgarian Government to prevent it from sending military support to the rebels.

 

34. See Silyanov. Osv. Borbi... pp. 434-435. The statement was forwarded to Sofia by Dr Kozhuharov, the Bulgarian agent in Bitolya, with his report No. 441 dated September 17, 1903.

 

35. The Mürzsteg Reforms (October 3, 1903). It was suggested that two civil agents be appointed to supervise the implementation of the reforms under Hilmi Pasha, that the Turkish Gendarmerie should be remodelled with the help of foreign officers, that Christians should be allowed to serve in Gendarmerie, that the Turkish Government should rebuild the ruined villages and schools, and should disband the bashibozouks.

 

36. Memoar... p. 250. These statistics cover a two-month period: July 20 to Sept. 18 (old style) for Bitolya and Adrianople, and up to October 3 (old style) for the Salonika and Skopje vilayets. The figures given here are the total of all four vilayets. H.N. Brails-

 

 

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ford, who was in Macedonia during the winter of 1903-1904, acting on behalf of the British Relief Fund, does not regard these figures as in any way exaggerated, and mentions that some of the figures given in the Memoar for the Bitolya area are less that those he himself collected in the course of his relief work. See Brailsford, Opus Cit., p. 166.

 

37. Memoirs of Lazar Dimitrov, Materiali... Vol IV, p. 128.

 

38. Materiali... Vol IV. p. 73

 

39. Daily News. August 26, 1903.

 

40. Maisky. Opus cit. p. 78.

 

41. Memoar... p. 186.

 

42. Daily News. October 21, 1903. The Special Correspondent is A.G. Hales.

 

43. Arthur Balfour was then Prime Minister.

 

44. Letter from Percy Alden. Daily News, September 14 1903.

 

45. Joseph Chamberlain resigned from Balfour's cabinet over Tariff Reform.

 

46. Daily News, October 28 1903. The letter itself is dated Sept. 17.

 

47. The absence of recriminations, blame for the Committee and regret for wasted efforts made a strong impression on Brailsford. See Brailsford, Opus cit. p. 166.

 

48. Hristo had long ago wanted to join a cheta, but the Organization had refused to allow him to do anything so dangerous on the grounds that the family had sacrificed enough and that someone must remain to support Nikola and Sultana in their old age.

 

49. In February 1912 Bulgaria and Serbia signed a treaty with a secret clause providing for the division of captured territory. Macedonia was to be autonomous, or, if that was not possible, it was to be partitioned. Certain areas were regarded as indisputably Serbian or Bulgarian, leaving an area in northern Macedonia (Kriva Palanka, Kumanovo, Skopje, Tetovo, Kichevo and Debur), the ownership of which was to be determined after the victory, with the Russian Tsar acting as arbitrator. The areas which the Serbs recognized as indisputably Bulgarian included the towns ot Veles, Prilep, Bitolya, Resen, Ohrid, Shtip, Kochani, Strumitsa, Doiran and Gevgeli. The treaty signed between Greece and Bulgaria in May 1912 contained no territorial arrangements. Bulgaria was prepared to accept an autonomous Macedonia, confident that sooner or later the two territories would reunite, but the other allies preferred partition for the same reason.

 

50. Report of the International Commission to inquire into the causes and conduct of the Balkan wars. (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace). pp. 97-99.

 

51. After the First World War, Nikola was awarded a pension by the Bulgarian Government in recognition of the exploits of his sons. When, as a result of an agreement between Greece and Bulgaria, financial settlements were made in respect of land and property abandoned by Bulgarian refugees, Hristo refused to make a declaration for his father's considerable property in Kukush, preferring to live in poverty rather than offend the spirits of his father and brothers in selling so much as an inch of their homeland to the Greeks.