|In order to pave the way to the annexation of Rumelia, the task before the Bulgarian imperialists was twofold. In the first place they had to detach the Slav-speaking inhabitants from the Patriarcate, and attach them to the Exarchate. But that in itself would not have been enough, because of the local distribution of the different races. The Hellenes, as we should expect, occupy the whole of the sea coast in a nearly solid mass, which shades off in approaching the centre and north. The Slav element is equally solid in the north, and fades away to almost nothing on approaching the sea. The danger which the statesmen of Sofia had to fear was an equitable partition of the country on these lines between the two nationalities, which would leave Bulgaria bigger indeed, but without the coveted coastline of the Aegean, and without that reversion to Contantinople which is the prime goal of Balkan ambitions. […]
In order to justify the annexation of the entire territory between Bulgaria and the sea, therefore, it became necessary to create a FICTITIOUS country with a FICTITIOUS nationality. To return to the former illustration, we must imagine an independant Irish Republic desirous of adding the whole of Scottland to its dominion. It would be obliged, in the first place, to teach the Gaelic population that they were Irishmen, in order to enlist their support, and then to preach that Scotland was an invisible whole in order to establish a claim over the low lands.
The Bulgarian propagandists found what they required in the word “Macedonia” a name with no more definite significance than Wessex or Languedoc. Unfortunately for themselves, the Greeks had been the first to make use of this name, with its classical associations, and to give it a wide extension to the north in interests of Hellenic expansion. As usual their exaggerated pretensions defeated themselves, and the Bulgars now hoist them with their own petard, by persuading Europe that Macedonia was a definite political entity, like Wales or Switzerland. [..]
The Macedonia thus constituted has no more national identity or cohesion than India. But the Christians on the whole outnumber the Moslems by probably four to three, and if the European Powers could be wrought upon to ignore the Moslem element in the population, as is so constantly done by European writers, and erect “Macedonia” into an autonomous state like Eastern Rumelia, Bulgaria would have the fairest prospect of repeating her former coup. It was possibly with a view to some such result that Gladstone threw out the phrase “Macedonia for the Macedonians”, a phrase which, be it said with all respect, could *not* have been used by any man of impartiality and intelligence who possesed a first hand knowledge of the country. The Bulgarians were prompt to adopt it, for the use against the Turks, while keeping that of Macedonia for the bulgars for use against the Greeks. Within the last few years, however, they have felt encouraged to lay claim openly to the remaining vilayet of Rumelia; the committee which directs the Folk War from Sofia has taken the name of “Macedonia-Adrianople” and bands of Comitadjis have been actively at work in the valley of the Martiza. IT IS THEREFORE NO LONGER NECESSARY TO DEMONSTRATE THE MYTHICAL CHARACTER OF THE “MACEDONIAN” nationality in the eyes of every element in the Macedonian population.
Allen Upward, The East End of Europe, London 1908, pp 25-27
|And so the “Bulgarophone” villagers are no longer willing to admit they speak Bulgarian. They have coined a NEW term of their own accord, and henceforth, until they have got rid of it, is to be known as “Macedonian“. My Athenian friends were delighted when I told them of this on my return. It should give even greater pleasure to those Bulgarian agents who are SO ANXIOUS TO SEE THE MACEDONIANS TAUGHT THEY ARE MACEDONIANS|
Allen Upward, The East End of Europe, London 1908, pp 205
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