There’s never a dull moment in Sofia… this evening on my way home I passed a ВМРО (Bulgarian National Movement) march going down Dondukov Boulevard. To be honest, I didn’t really know what was going on. I did know it was the ВМРО, but only because they were shouting their own name. A bit of a giveaway.
According to their facebook event page (and google translate), they were marching because:
“A century ago our ancestors went to march in defense of the oppressed brothers Bulgarians in Thrace and Macedonia. Today, 100 years later, we march in defense of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian spirit wherever she is in danger.”
There’s a long history of tension between Macedonia and Bulgaria around issues of nationality and language ownership. I learnt quite quickly that there’s not much that infuriates the average Bulgarian more than mentioning the ‘Macedonian language,’ as many believe it’s just a dialect of Bulgarian… And on issues of nationality, it is not unusual to hear Bulgarians suggest that ‘all Macedonians are Bulgarian,’ nor for Macedonians to argue that ‘all Bulgarians are Macedonian.’
It’s all very confusing to an outsider like me who doesn’t have a grasp of the convoluted history that lies behind these viewpoints…