The Plight of the Pomaks in Bulgaria
The article discusses the origin of the so-called Pomak question in Bulgaria and the relations between this ethnic group, composed of the followers of Islam, and the Orthodox majority of their kinsmen. The author examined the reasons for the conflicts between two parts of the same nation, often based on false premises or outside provocation. Against this backdrop, the author described the tragic plight of the Pomaks, rejected as long as they remained loyal to their faith and the onomastic and costume elements associated with it. The author outlined the history of the titular ethnic group, totalling several hundred thousands, from the conversion to Islam to the present day. He also described the circumstances recognised by a considerable part of Bulgarian society as sufficient to accuse the Pomaks of opting for a stance at odds with Bulgarian national interest. The consequences led to numerous persecutions of the Pomaks and successive tides of emigration to Turkey, followed by the loss of national identity. Finally, he examines the stand of the most enlightened members of the Bulgarian intellectual and political elite, who for more than a century have been defending the Pomaks.
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