VII. The Greeks
9. Note. Greek Statistics
A favourite line of argument with Greeks is based upon a comparison of their school-statistics with those of the Bulgarians. This is really a very elaborate sophistication which requires some space to unravel. They claim that in what they are pleased to call "Macedonia" there are 998 "Greek" schools attended by 59,600 pupils, as against 561 Bulgarian schools attended by 18,300 pupils. These figures may or may not be accurate, but the following considerations rob them of any importance.
(1) The definition of "Macedonia" is quite arbitrary. The Greeks mean by the term the two vilayets of Salonica and Monastir. This is at once too much and too little. It includes the purely Albanian districts of Elbasan and Koritza, where the Christians, although they attend "Greek" Orthodox schools, are all Albanians. It excludes the vilayet of Uskub, obviously because it would be hard to find in it a single native Greek family. It is, with the exception of the Albanian, and Servian districts of the west, entirely Bulgarian.
(2) Even in the two selected vilayets the population of the "Greek" villages of the central districts is either Slav or Vlach; and even children who have attended a "Greek" school frequently leave it with no real knowledge of the language.
(3) The fact that a Slav village possesses only a "Greek" school does not even prove that its sympathies are Greek. Smerdesh, for example, which is ardently Bulgarian in politics, is still almost wholly "Greek" in culture. The Greeks have every historical advantage, and it is safer for a prudent village to profess itself patriarchist. If it becomes Exarchist it at once exposes itself to the suspicion if not to the persecution of the Turkish authorities.
(4) The Greeks are the wealthy town population, and in addition they
possess the accumulated wealth of the monasteries, so that wherever a village
will accept a "Greek" school they have the means to plant one. The Bulgarians,
on the other hand, are a rude peasant people, with less need of education,
less desire for it, and less wealth with which to procure it. A large proportion
of their villages are still without any school worthy of the name, and
I have known villages where not a single inhabitant could read or write.
But the most potent factor in delaying the development of the Bulgarian
schools is the hostility of the Turks, from which the Greeks do not suffer.
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