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MHRMI / AMHRC - Press Release

Action Alert: MHRMI and AMHRC Protest "Macedonian Slav" Reference by the Associated Press

June 12, 2009

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Skopje Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) / Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) - Press Release

MHRMI and AMHRC call on Macedonians worldwide to voice their displeasure to the Associated Press. Please send your letters to
info@ap.org with copies to info@mhrmi.org and mail@macedonianhr.org.au.

MHRMI/AMHRC response to the Associated Press

Toronto, Canada and Melbourne, Australia - The best defence is a good offence. Biased AP writers Konstantin Testorides and Elena Becatoros employed this strategy in their June 8 article "Alexander the Great's statue stirs Balkan passions".

Testorides and Becatoros evoke Greece's racist stereotypes of Macedonians while accusing the Republic of Macedonia of the very same tactics employed by Greece.

Ironically, the article begins by stating "As an exercise in nation-building, Macedonia's latest effort is pretty audacious...". By building a statue of Alexander the Great?

Since its inception as a state in 1830, Greece has been "masterful" at building its "nation" from a mix of ethnic groups by violently and forcibly assimilating them, and by clinging to a non-existent link to ancient Hellenism. It then has the audacity of claiming that its nation is ethnically pure. A dangerous notion to say the least. Especially for the oppressed minorities within its borders.

Testorides and Becatoros seem to think that building a statue of Alexander the Great is akin to declaring war on Greece. The tensions between the two nations are a result of Greece's refusal to accept the existence of ethnic Macedonians and the constitutional name of the Republic of Macedonia.

Because of the name dispute, Greece vetoed Macedonia's entry into NATO in 2008, its economic embargo crippled Macedonia's economy in 1992, and Greece persecutes its Macedonian minority while receiving condemnation by the European Court of Human Rights, the United Nations, and the international community as a whole. Comparable to the European Union "weighing in" and referring to the statue project as "not helpful"?

A slew of irrelevant arguments follow in the hope of convincing readers that the erection of this statue will have catastrophic repercussions.

Last, but certainly not least, Testorides and Becatoros refer to "Macedonian Slavs". A strategy employed by Greece to negate the ethnicity of Macedonians. There is no ethnic group in Macedonia that refers to itself as "Slav". The Macedonian population in the Republic of Macedonia, throughout the Balkans and the world, is simply that, Macedonian. Any other term is insulting and follows the official Greek policy of denying the legitimacy of the Macedonian nation, and denying the existence of its large Macedonian minority.

We trust that the Associated Press will not make such an error again.

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Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. For more information, please visit www.mhrmi.org, or contact MHRMI at 416-850-7125, or info@mhrmi.org.

Founded in 1984, the Australian Macedonian Human Rights Committee (AMHRC) has been working towards achieving human rights for Macedonians and other oppressed minorities. For more information, please visit www.macedonianhr.org.au, or contact AMHRC at +61 3 9460 2910, or mail@macedonianhr.org.au.

 
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