Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Press Release
Exchange in The Hill on Podesta's use of "fyrom" instead of Macedonia

The Hill A comment by Bill Nicholov from the Macedonian Human Rights Movement International, published in The Hill, sparked an exchange with the American Hellenic Institute, on the use of the temporary reference. Nicholov wrote about the revelation in the Wikileaks cache of hacked emails, that Hillary Clinton's campaign head John Podesta, who is part Greek by origin, is still using the abbreviation "fyrom" instead of Macedonia's constitutional name which the United States recognized in 2004.

"What if a politician or his/her campaign chair made a derogatory comment that negates the ethnic origin of an entire group, and continued a policy that ignores persecution of this group and seeks to change its ethnic identity? Breaking news, right? Huge scandal? Only if it's a higher-profile group. Good luck to this group of people if they're not as well-known. This happened during the US election, but, of course, got no mainstream media coverage. It was revealed by Wikileaks that Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, John Podesta, made disparaging remarks about Macedonia, with no repercussions. This could be because Clinton, herself, executed an anti Macedonian policy in which she, personally, called for Macedonia to change its name to appease Greece, the country that initiated the artificial name dispute in its admitted attempt to 'wipe Macedonia off the map'", Nicholov writes in his editorial.

The email in question was sent as Clinton advisers were debating the proposed invitation of Macedonian politicians to the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York. At one point, Podesta responds shortly "I still call it FYROM". Nicholov mentions other instances of insulting comments in the US, such as the controversy over the names of the Redskins and Cleveland Indians teams and writes that while such cases cause outrage, this revelation of an insulting comment from a politician against a lesser known ethnic group does not spark the same response.

Georgea Polizos from the American Hellenic Institute responded with an editorial of her own, in which she responds that John Podesta was right to use 'fyrom' instead of Macedonia's constitutional name. According to Polizos, the insistence by Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, that Greece should also accept any future solution on Macedonia's name does not constitute an anti-Macedonian policy.

Media coverage:

• MIA (English)
• Republika (English)
• МИА (Macedonian)
• a1ON (Macedonian)
• Лидер (Macedonian)
• Сител (Macedonian)
• Вест (Macedonian)
• Журнал (Macedonian)
• Дневник (Macedonian)