Saturday, October 28, 2006

2 Macedonian group boundaries 1900 to 1945

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Nasite granici: Macedonian group boundaries 1900 to 1945.
T Momiroski - J Intercultural Studies 1993; 14: 35-52

The full online text of the above article, and rejoinder to our following critiquewhich appeared on T Momiroski's site is no longer available.

In his recent article, Momiroski concludes that "Macedonians had ethnic boundaries before the partitioning of Macedonia following the Balkan Wars". However Momiroski's underlying assumption concerning the historic existence of a "Macedonian ethnicity" is not grounded in data or fact. Ironically, the claim that "Macedonian ethnic identity has been shaped by three pervasive influences: oppression, language and religion" (ibid., 43), also characterises the totalitarian Marxist-Leninist approach within the post-1945 boundaries of the Socialist Federal Republic of Macedonia (SFRM)[1]. In fact the Yugoslavian communist party's "nation-building" policy in SFRM closely paralleled concurrent USSR strategy in Moldavia - "severing the ties of the Moldavians (part of the Rumanian people) with Rumanian history and culture" (Bruchis 1984:1). Accordingly, Momiroski's article in common with many others, seeks through a mixture of misrepresentation and fiction, to legitimise a transformation of Macedonia's historic Bulgarian population into "ethnic" Macedonians. This article is a rebuttal to such views.

Before revision of the Treaty of San Stefano (March 3, 1878) by the Treaty of Berlin (July 13, 1878) the Macedonian Question did not exist. Significantly, "San Stefano" Bulgaria was founded on the principle of nationality. First, it conformed to the ethnographic distribution of Bulgarians as identified by united Europe at the Conference of Ambassadors of 1876 (Logio 1936:323) and detailed in the Projet de reglement pour la Bulgarie (Bourchier 1905:57). Second, it corresponded to the diocese of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church issued by the Turkish firman (decree) of 1870 (ibid., 54). The Encyclopaedia Britannica also accepts these same facts when it states:

The Berlin Treaty, by its artificial division of the Bulgarian race, created the difficult and perplexing 'Macedonian Question'. The population handed back to Turkish rule never acquiesced in its fate.(JDB 1911:221)Perhaps British historian AJP Taylor (1960:246) most aptly summarised the situation when he wrote "historically a Macedonian is simply a Bulgarian who was put back under Turkish rule in 1878". Thus creation of Ottoman Macedonia in 1878, cannot, on the evidence be rationalised as providing "a focus upon the Macedonian national question" (Momiroski 1993:49), but rather as providing a focus upon the territorial division of the Bulgarian nation.

The inhabitants of the Macedonian region had an integral role in the Bulgarian national revival. The monk Paisii of Hilendar, born in the Macedonian town of Bankso, wrote in 1762 the "Slav-Bulgarian History", credited with rousing Bulgarian patriotism and providing an impetus to the opening of Bulgarian schools (Anastasoff 1977:69). Neofit Rilski, also from Bankso, produced the first real Bulgarian grammar in 1835 (Gyllin 1991:24). The famous Miladinov brothers born in Struga, were two of the most prominent intellectuals in the fight, throughout Macedonia and Bulgaria, against Hellenism. In 1861 they published their acclaimed "Bulgarian Folk Songs", in which most of the 660 songs were from Macedonia (Koroloff, Stefanoff& Vassos, 1982). Another celebrated Bulgarian was Grigor Purlichev (MacDermott 1978:67). Born in Ohrid, Macedonia (1830) and educated in Greece, Purlichev subsequently published his famous "Autobiography" describing the spiritual and political oppression of the Bulgarian people (Voynov & Panayotov 1969:239). Even Dimiter Blagoev, acknowledged as the founder of socialism in Bulgaria, was born in Macedonia (ibid., 431).

It is on the question of religion, that Momiroski's premise of "ethnic Macedonians" is readily contradicted. Why did the "Macedonians" so overwhelmingly champion the creation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church rather than their own? Momiroski's explanations only represent speculation. But it is a fact that the first independent Bulgarian church, established in 1860, was the "Bulgarian Uniate Church", and the majority of its 60,000 adherents were located in the Macedonian districts of Kukush, Voden and Salonika (Logio 1936:320). Therefore ten years before the creation of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (Exarchate), Slav-Macedonians confronted by the hostility of the Greek clergy towards the Slavonic liturgy established their own separate "Bulgarian" church (Philipov 1967:28). Under the conditions of the firman, governing creation of the Exarchate (1870), many Macedonian towns could receive a Bulgarian minister, but only if it was established that at least two-thirds of the population agreed. The majority of towns in Macedonia overwhelmingly voted to have the Exarchate, for example in Skopje and Ohrid some 94 and 99% respectively of the townspeople (Voynov & Panayotov 1969:186). The cumulative information establishes that Slav-Macedonians were at the forefront of the campaign to restore the Bulgarian Church. This is corroborated by the reports of American missionaries[2] who worked amongst the Bulgarian people long before there was a Bulgarian state created.

An important topic which Momiroski overlooks is the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (MRO) formed in Salonika (1893). Its leaders, such as Delchev, Gruev and Sandanski today are Macedonian national heroes, however within their own lifetime they all unequivocally acknowledged their "Bulgarian" nationality. For example Perry comments:

Since the literature of the time and even the correspondence of no less a figure than the legendary Macedonian revolutionary leader, Gotse Delchev, refer to the Slavs of Macedonia as "Bulgarians" in an offhanded manner without seeming to indicate that such a designation was a point of contention.(Perry 1988:23)Such a statement is hardly questionable given MRO's first official title was the "Bulgarian-Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization", and the 1897 statutes, written by Delchev and Petrov, restricted membership to Bulgarians (ibid., 65). Perusal of the memoirs of MRO's president Hristo Tartarchev (Bilyarski, 1989) or long-term committee member Hristo Shaldev (Schaldew, 1993), affirms the Bulgarian character of MRO and the Slav-Macedonians who supported it. Independent confirmation that MRO comprised Bulgarian-Macedonians, is provided in the texts of American adventurers, Albert Sonnichsen (1909) and Arthur Smith (1906), who actually joined MRO and fought against the Turks.
Another significant occurrence relating directly to the same question of an Macedonian ethnicity, was the Young Turks' revolt (Huriet) of 1908. Under the new regime the Ottoman Empire was to be reformed and political equality granted to all its subject-races. Accordingly the Macedonian revolutionary bands suspended their activities and helped to organise the "Union of Bulgarian Constitutional Clubs", which by 1909 had established sixty-seven branches across Macedonia (Anastasoff 1938:145). An Ottoman parliament was to govern, to which all the Empire's nationalities elected their representatives. The important point is that the Turks only acknowledged a Bulgarian element, consistent with the national consciousness of the Slav-Macedonians. Enver Bey, one of the main leaders of the Huriet, recalled - "I myself had studied very closely the Internal Organization of the Macedonian Bulgars. I admired it, and it gave us many hints" (Buxton 1909:135). Again the logical question why didn't the Slav-Macedonians demand recognition from the Turks as a separate ethnicity during a period of political equality and no oppression?

Over a century ago Macedonians, who had been forced to immigrate to Bulgaria, organized their own societies for the sole purpose of securing Macedonia's freedom and preserving its Bulgarian national character and traditions (Crampton, 1983). No evidence has ever been presented that the Bulgarian state or government coerced the Macedonians to call themselves "Bulgarian". In fact some Bulgarian governments forcibly attempted to restrain the "Bulgarian manifestations" of these same Macedonian immigrants (ibid. 131). Slav-Macedonians in their thousands rushed to fight alongside the Bulgarian army in the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885 (ibid.). Not one ever fought on the Serbian side. In the Balkan Wars the Slav-Macedonians formed a detachment of 15,000 volunteers in the Bulgarian army (Anastasoff 1938:195), which included regiments of tens of thousands of soldiers organized from amongst the Macedonian immigrants. Again no Slav-Macedonians volunteered for the Greek, Serbian or Montenegrin armies. Notwithstanding the preceding information we also have the dozens on dozens of publications written in the nineteenth century by European historians, linguists, anthropologists, ethnologists, statesmen and adventurers all characterising the Slav-Macedonians as Bulgarians and a part of the Bulgarian nation.

Momiroski's (1993:37) mention of the 1946 Bulgarian census when "Macedonians were encouraged to label themselves 'Macedonians"', fails to disclose the full facts. The Bulgarian Communist Party conducted the census only because they were led to believe that Macedonia would be incorporated into a Balkan Federation of nation-states (GS & Moore, 1979). The vital fact, seldom acknowledged in both the 1946 and 1956 census, was that Bulgarians in the Pirin region were not encouraged, but obliged to record their nationality as "Macedonian", refusal meant imprisonment (Helsinki Watch 1991:3).

Analysis of what constitutes an ethnicity relies more on subjective, rather than objective criteria. Connor's[3] recent series of articles on this theme, presents a lucid account of the many issues and inconsistencies involved, especially with respect to the existing literature. It is therefore unusual that Momiroski chose to ignore Connor's specific remarks concerning the question of a Macedonian nation:

At least until quite recently, Macedonian opinion has been divided. Majority opinion agreed with Sofia that Macedonians were a branch of the Bulgar nation, while others considered themselves to be either Serb or Greek. There was scant indication of any conviction that Macedonians considered them- selves a separate nation. There is little reason to question Belgrade's recent success in encouraging a sense of nationhood among most Macedonians, although the 1981 census data, which indicated a total absence of people within Macedonia who claimed either Bulgar or Greek identity, are unques- tionably fraudulent.(Connor 1991:7)Connor (1978:388) characterises a nation as a "self-aware ethnic group". Of importance to the present work are Ernest Barker's following comments:
The self-consciousness of nations is a product of the nineteenth century. This is a matter of the first importance. Nations were already there; they had indeed been there for centuries.(Barker 1927:113)

When we examine the progressive role Slav-Macedonians played in the Bulgarian national revival, the creation of the Bulgarian Church, the defence of the Bulgarian fatherland and the continual defence of their Bulgarian self-identity, then their own actions establish them as feeling part of the Bulgarian nation. Additionally we also know that these same people existed collectively as part of the Bulgarian state for centuries. The same argument is not possible for "Macedonians". First, historically the term "Macedonia" has only had geographic connotations[4]. Second, for more than a millennium prior to the late nineteenth century the actual name "Macedonia" was associated with the territory defined by present day Thrace[5]. Therefore when Momiroski talks about "nashi", it is only relevant to a Macedonian ethnicity which has developed in SFRM during the post-World War II era[1]. This predicament is recognised by some politicians in today's Republic of Macedonia. They argue that reconciliation between the people of Macedonia can only truly occur following revision of both the Republic of Macedonia's language and history to erase the many incorporated Serbian attributes[6]. Such statements from potentially future leaders of the Republic of Macedonia directly undermine Momiroski's concept of "nasi".


Tireless attempts by authors, such as Momiroski and many others, justifying the contemporary creation of a Macedonian nation by historic revisionism, have provided much idiographic knowledge as well as many illogical arguments, but certainly not the kind of reliable, stable and valid information required. Finally, if we accept as a hypothesis that "historically Slav-Macedonians considered themselves part of the Bulgarian nation", then considerable verifiable evidence has, and can be presented to objectively satisfy that claim. In contrast Momiroski 's (1993) article fails to provide any valid information which would warrant revision of the latter.
ENDNOTES1. For a thorough analysis of this issue see Palmer and King (1971), Connor (1984) and Kofos (1986).2. Such reports appeared extensively in The Missionary Herald and The Missionary News from Bulgaria - for excerpts see Anastasoff( 1977) and references cited therein. Hall (1938) also has relevant information.3. See Connor (1991), (1984) and (1978).4. Fine Jr. (1983:37) states 'Thus the reader should ignore references to ethnic Macedonians in the Middle Ages which appear in some modern works. In the Middle Ages and into the nineteenth century, the term Macedonian was used entirely in reference to a geographic region".5. Koledaroff (1985) has presented an extensive treatise on this subject. Also see comments by Perry (1988,12).6. Keynote address given at 1992 IMRO-DPMNU party conference (Ohrid), by Ljupco Georgievski, President of IMRO-DPMNU, political party with largest number of delegates in Republic of Macedonia's current Parliament.


Anastasoff, C., The Tragic Peninsula. Blackwell Wielandy Co., St Louis, 1938.Anastasoff, C., The Bulgarians. Exposition Press, Hicksville, 1977.Barker, E., National Character and the Factors in its Formation. Methuen, London, 1927.Bilyarski, TV., Dr Hristo Tartarchev: Memoirs-Documents-Materials. Science and Art, Sofia, 1989.Bourchier, JD., The Balkan states-Their attitude towards the Macedonian question, in 'The Balkan Question" (Villari L, ed.), EP Dutton and Company, New York, 1905, p44-89.Bruchis, M., Nations-Nationalities-People: A Study of the Nationalities Policy of the Communist Party in Soviet Moldavia. Columbia Univ Press, New York, 1984.Buxton, CR., Turkey in Revolution. T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1909.Connor, W. A, nation is a nation, is a state, is an ethnic group is a. Ethnic and Racial Studies 1978;1:377-400.Connor, W., The National Question in Marxist-leninist Theory and Strategy. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, 1984.Connor, W., From tribe to nation. History of European Ideas 1991;13:5-18.Crampton, RJ., Bulgaria 1878-1918: A History. Columbia Univ. Press, New York, 1983.Fine, Jr, JVA., The Early Medieval Balkans. Univ. Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1983.GS, Moore, P, The Macedonian polemic rides again: Tsola Dragoycheva '5 memoirs. RAD Background Report/26(Bulgaria), RFE/RL 1979:1-10.Gyllin, R., The genesis of the modern Bulgarian literary language. Studia Slavica Upsaliensia 1991 ;3O: 1-122.Hall, WW., Puritans in the Balkans. Sofia, 1938.Helsinki Watch, "Destroying ethnic identity:selective persecution of Macedonians in Bulgaria". News from Helsinki Watch, New York, 1991.JDB., Macedonia. Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911 (15th ed).Kofos, E., The Macedonian question: the politics of mutation. Balkan Studies 1986;27: 1-16.Koledaroff, PC., 'Macedonia' in Historic Geography. Science and Art, Sofia, 1985.Koroloff, L., Stefanoff NM, Vassos A (eds.). The Miladinov Brothers: A Miscellany. Macedonian Historic Society, Toronto, 1982.Logio, GC., Bulgaria: Past and Present. Sheratt & Hughes, Manchester, 1936.MacDermott, M., Freedom or Death: The Life of Gotse Delchev. The Journeyman Press. London, 1978.Momiroski, T., "Nasite granici:Macedonian group boundaries 1900 to 1945." J Intercultural Studies 1993;14:35-52.Palmer, Jr., SE. & King, R.R., Yugoslav Communism and the Macedonian Question. The Shoe String Press Inc., Hamden, 1971.Perry, D.M., The Politics of Terror: The Macedonian Liberation Movements 1893-1903. Duke Univ. Press, Durham, 1988.Philipov, R., What is the language of the Slavs? Balkania 1967;1:28-31.Schaldew, 1., Extracts from the Memoirs of Hristo Shaldev. MPOTAA Inc., Adelaide, 1993.Smith, A.D.H., Fighting the Turks in the Balkans. Putnam, New York, 1906.Sonnichsen, A., Confessions of a Macedonian Bandit. Duffield, New York, 1909.Taylor, A.J.P., The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918. At the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1960.Voynov, M. & Panayotov, L. (eds.). Documents and Materials on the History of the Bulgarian People. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, 1969.

2 коментара:


Dear Dr Philipov.

It is not true that this original article does not exist. We have had discussion before. You will remember that that was in 1994. I have copies of the correspondence if you want them posted here. Just say so.

In the meantime.

You cannot present your views without providing readers with access to the original. How are they to make sense of the discussion. You response does not exist in a vacuum. And you will remember too, I responded to you in print in the same journal in the same edition. Do you remember not?

Here it is:

and here:

You might also provide a link to my response as well for the sake of completeness. I did. I have nothing to hide. Here is that link:

and here:


Just for the record, for the benefit of those having difficulty finding the journal articles, here is the reply to Philipov's article published here:

Response to "Macedonian Group Boundaries: a Rebuttal"

by Toni Momiroski

I wish to thank Phillipov for his response to my article `Nasite Granici: Macedonian group Boundaries 1900-1945'(Momiroski:1993). Criticism is a part of intellectual growth.

I should however from the onset, dispel all rumours whether explicit or implicit in Phillipov's essay that nationality and history are straight forward so far as the Balkans are concerned. On the subject of `nationality' I have said enough in my article(Momiroski: 1993), and I shall refrain from repeating myself. What remains to be said on the subject of nationality is most aptly captured by Morris Ginsberg, and I quote him at length: At the end of the eighteenth century there were in Europe about ten nations - Portugal, Spain, France, England, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and a newcomer, Prussia. Italy was only a geographical expression, Germany split into a large number of principalities. Austria and Turkey were empires but not nations. In North America the United States were beginning to form themselves into a nation. In South America there were only colonies. In South America there were, with the possible exception of Japan, sprawling empires but not nations.

Despite the increasing `nationalization' of the world, there are many who think that nationalism has passed its climax, or at any rate, that the principle of nationality, that is, the principle that `nation and state should be co-extensive', so widely held at the beginning of this century, should be abandoned as incapable of dealing effectively with the problems of the modern world (1963:p.1).

The point of the national constitution of the world at the time of our inquiry I leave without elaboration. Whereas on the point of `nationality' as being capable of dealing with the changes brought about by the modern world, I should add only that like Ginsburg, I too am sceptical. And it is precisely for this reason that I avoided any claims to nationhood by Macedonians in my article which is the subject of Phillipov's rebuttal. Likewise, it goes without saying that Phillipov's claim that the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "accepts these same facts", that he proposes, can hardly be considered the last word on the Balkan. Encyclopedia references are merely a starting point in any inquiry and can never be considered the last word, nor ought they be on any subject, let alone one as perplexing as is the question of nationality, particularly on the Balkan.

I now turn to the question of history. History is always interpretation. Interpretation which is continually the subject of reinterpretation as new facts are revealed and is often politically motivated. This is one of the reasons why modern nations have fairly uniform literary, historical, political, legal and educational, traditions and institutions. In these consensus has already been "won, worked for, reproduced, sustained"(Bennet, et al: 1981:61) to portray a single and unifying consensus of national unity and `consciousness'. It is for this reason that a reliance on what each state purports to be its national identity must be seen with some reservation. And the historical materials from whose strength validity is drawn, for this culture, must be recognised for what they are - "a selective history". History is important. But history is a selective medium by virtue of what is put in and, by inference, what is left out. As the late Manning Clark notes: "there is no such thing as history, but many kinds of history" (1976:45). In a similar vein, Popper also observes that, " there can be no history without a point of view... history must be selective" (1974:150). However here lies the crux of the problem, these `selective' historical `approaches' or `points of view': "cannot be tested, if they cannot be refuted, and apparent confirmations are ... of no value... (they are) historical interpretations"(ibid., 151). Moreover, any historical approach to the interpretation of a group, in its justification of a particular point of view, glosses over the fact that people will continue to identify with their group regardless of which historical view one takes. This point appears to have totally escaped Phillipov.

I now address the premise on which Phillipov's argument pivots around. His thesis is that the "historic existence of a `Macedonian ethnicity' is not grounded in data or fact" (Philipov:2). His strategy to discount my essay consists of a twofold attack: One, to pigeon-hole the present writers work as characteristic of the "totalitarian Marxist-Leninist approach"(ibid., 2); and two, that this work did seek, "through a mixture of misrepresentation and fiction, to legitimise a transformation of Macedonia's historic Bulgarian population into "ethnic" Macedonians (ibid., 2). On both these issues he is simply wrong. Neither of these was the subject of my essay.

Briefly, my thesis was simply to address the reality that despite the recognition of FYROM there are "still people who claim to be members of the Macedonian group who live outside of the Republic's boundaries" (Momiroski: 36). My work was anthropological. The underlying assumption: "boundaries persist despite a flow of personnel across them" (ibid.,39). By this I meant that group boundaries cut across and persist across national boundaries. The model was that of Barth and not characteristic of the Marxist-Leninist approach as Phillipov would have us believe. Though it might be? Yet there is nothing "ironical" in this.

Conversely, with typically cold-war scare mongering of intellectual reflection through the use of "Marxist-Leninist" Phillipov, presumably, proposes to introduce us to a momentous revelation about the Macedonian issue. He qualifies his comment with the "policy in SFRM closely paralleled concurrent USSR strategy in Moldavia"(Phillipov: 2). The strategic "closely" gives the definite appearance of trying to head off any criticism. It is suggestive of a conspiracy to which he would lead us to. Though "closely" is not entirely strategic for he needs "closely" to give his understanding of conspiracy a link with the past. Conspiracy in the past, he almost seems to be saying, was intellectual. That it is inexplicably tied to an attempt to "legitimise a transformation of Macedonia's historic Bulgarian population into "ethnic" Macedonians"(ibid., 2). This is not the point however, "intellect, in the past, was dominated by a fusion with intellect on the basis of "authority" as an external force which was authoritative because it was external to the individual's thought"(Wearne:1993, p.1). This would require an adherence to a creed consisting of set article. Clearly for the dispersed peasant population of the Macedonian group in the period under discussion (1900-1945) this would not be applicable. Macedonia was not a nation. It had neither a leadership (authority) nor article which could be adhered to (Momiroski:1993). Phillipov is perhaps talking about the period following 1945, but he has not clarified this. Though he seems to have missed totally the point that the period under investigation was before 1945. In any event Phillipov does not again pick up on this intellectual conspiracy throughout his article. Save for an appropriation of a handful of historic intellectual figures: the monk Paisii, Neofit Rilski, Miladinov brothers, Grigor Purlichev and Dimitar Blagoev, without due recognition that these are disputed figures, and they appear in the post 1945 period in the intellectual history of FYROM. Needless to say too, Phillipov's argument throughout his essay is severely wounded by the failure to delineate the boundaries between geographic (national) and group boundaries. He tosses a confusing salad of terms never defined. If Macedonian really means Bulgarian, then there is no necessity to refer to them as both Macedonian and Bulgarian.

I now turn to Phillipov's rabbit-out-of the-hat approach to analysis. On the subject of IMRO, I should only say that a discussion on this topic was not my theses. So too, the appropriation of this revolutionary movement by both Macedonian's and Bulgarians is well documented and is the subject of endless disputes. I leave this point without elaboration. It does not warrant a reply. Particularly comments such as "hardly questionable" whose design, I trust is to head of criticism, merely reflect sociological naivety, and lead to conclusions of unsound academic work. This can also be seen in respect to the discussion on the `Young Turks' revolt and the `Bulgarian census'. Not only is there no point made by these discussions, but the argument offered, is seriously flawed by Phillipov's off the cuff and academically irresponsible statements. When discussing the `Young Turk' revolt, he characterises the Ottoman period as a period of "political equality and no oppression"(p.4). Nothing could be further from the truth. Or when he states unequivocally, in respect to the Serbo-Bulgarian war of 1885 that: "Not one (Macedonian) ever fought on the Serbian side" (p.4). This is indeed a grand statement. Phillipov again asks us to take him at his word when he attempts to justify the contentious Bulgarian census. He says: " Bulgarians in the Pirin region were not encouraged, but obliged to record their nationality as `Macedonian', refusal meant imprisonment"(p.4). Presumably this line is meant to have some kind of conclusive point. Constituting some type of as yet undisclosed proof of a Macedonian conspiracy. However the facts remain, the census results were never revealed. We can only speculate as to the reasons. Phillipov offers us no clues. I too, shall refrain from doing so.

Likewise Phillipov's discussion on religiosity is flimsy. It is not clear what his point is. In a brief paragraph he proposes to introduce, and lead us through the significant moments in the history of the Bulgarian Church. There is not, I may add, a substantive difference between the details discussed by Phillipov and that in my work of 1993. The difference lies in how these details are utilised. While for Phillipov the explanation offered in my article "represents speculation", his own effort only offers the reader a historical timeline of selected moments in the history of the church. Phillipov's significant moments. He seems to be saying the facts speak for themselves. Facts offcourse never speak for themselves, they must be interpreted.

Lastly on the subject of ethnicity, in another solitary and brief paragraph, Phillipov seeks to conduct a discussion on the complex and contentious subject of ethnicity. It is true that ethnicity "relies more on subjective than objective criteria" (p.5). I said as much in my article of 1993. But our subjective views of ourselves are manifest in our daily lives in terms of objective and open display of these subjective feelings. And it is precisely here that the inclusive concept of "nasi" becomes critical for group solidarity. Phillipov has clearly missed the anthropological significance of inclusion.


Again I thank Phillipov for his article. Which clearly illustrates how muddied and irrational any discussion on the Balkan can be if conducted along political, national or historical grounds. What is left to be said on the subject of social groups, has already been said by a Hans Werner. Hans, appropriately, is a fairly insignificant individual in terms of political, national or historical considerations. His memories of twenty years in Cypress, in a village that was "100% Greek speaking" he recalls as follows:

"Everyone there knew that I, my wife and children were Dutch, everyone called us xeni (strangers). Even our household pets were xeni. I owned a Labrador dog, born on the island. This dog kept unusual company. A wild goose, on its way from Northern Europe to Africa, had landed in our garden with a broken wing. It recovered its health but never learned to fly again ..... It became very friendly with our dog. A favourite resting place of the goose was the sleeping dog's back. Our Greek neighbours could observe us in our garden (one of their favourite pastimes) ..... We could hear the shouted explanations (to their guests): Avtee den eeheh san eemas! Avtee eene xeni! - which means: They are not like us! they are strangers!" ...... (The Bangkok Post 16th July,1994:p.4).
With these words by Hans I want to show that the knowledge of what unites us can help a person to find the answers to what divides us. As Hans rightly notes, the above sentiments are not exclusive to any one group or groups but are a universal phenomenon. They are equally applicable to Thailand where he has lived for six years: "(We) are still seen by our neighbours as an odd couple, not unlike a dog who keeps company with a goose .... I'm a Dutchman, Paul is a Greek, Somchai is a Thai". I am an Australian of Macedonian stock and clearly Phillipov identifies as a Bulgarian.


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