Macedonia: Its Races and Their Future
H. Brailsford

IV. The Races of Macedonia

2. Mixed Racial Origin of Moslems
 

One is compelled to write of "Turks" in dealing with Macedonia, but really the term has no ethnological meaning as little as that other term, "Greeks." The first step, indeed, towards understanding the Macedonian question is to realise that roughly in Macedonia proper the Macedonia which revolts, which claims to be a unity and asks for autonomy there are neither Greeks nor Turks. For this Macedonia is an agricultural country whose sole industry is the tilling of the soil; and its productive population is grouped in villages. The townsmen are parasites and middlemen. Among this class one may encounter true Turks. They are the official caste, from the Pashas and the military staff down to the petty employees of post-office and the customs. The more important among them are clerks who have served their apprenticeship to the Hamidian bureaucracy by cumbering the offices of one or other of the Ministries in Constantinople. These men are often genuine Turks from Asia Minor, but a fair proportion are Circassians, some are Levantines of nondescript origin, and one may meet among them full-blooded Arabs or negroes. The sedentary Moslem population of some of the larger towns, notably of Uskub, is largely composed of refugees, mainly Slav by race, who have fled rom the Northern States, Bosnia, Servia, and Bulgaria, at the time when they were reclaimed for freedom and incorporated once more in Europe. These men, known as Muhadjirs, are notoriously fanatical. They are sometimes the representatives of the worst Turkish traditions who found the idea of living under Western conditions intolerable, and emigrated of their own free will a description which covers nearly all who came from Bosnia. More often, I am afraid, they are the victims of Christian intolerance and injustice, and these include a large colony of Albanians who were ruthlessly expelled from the southern districts of Servia after the Russo-Turkish War. In either case they have a grievance. They are landless peasants without remunerative employment; and while some of them swell the class of officials, soldiers, and spies, the majority live in poverty and furnish the materials of a dangerous and angry mob which is always


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ready to avenge its historical wrongs by massacre. Another considerable Moslem element in the towns is furnished by the Albanians who have emigrated from their barren Highlands in search of employment. Amongst these diverse Moslem elements, Slavs, Asiatics, and Albanians, there is no community of race. They speak their own languages in their homes, and Turkish is an acquired and secondary tongue. But all of them are Moslems, and all of them are "Turks" in a political sense they belong to the dominant caste, they are the rulers and the soldiers, and they are bound together by a tie of interest, since they form the minority which exploits the subject native races and lives by the informal and various tribute of the Christian majority.
 

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