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Comment on „Alexander the Great’s statue stirs Balkan passions“ by AP

Open Letter to Associated Press

Dear AP,

I am writing to express my astonishment and disbelief when I have read the AP article „Alexander the Great’s statue stirs Balkan passions“ by your employees KONSTANTIN TESTORIDES and ELENA BECATOROS. The article they wrote is a thinly veiled hate propaganda against the Republic of Macedonia that has been spread by Greece and Greeks for almost two decades now, ever since Macedonia split from the federation of Yugoslavia.

I am not sure why would AP employ such obvious dilettantes in the art of journalism as the authors show their stupefying bias against Macedonia by using Greek-government invented weasel-phrases like „this poor country“ (Macedonia is poor for Europe, but much richer than many others in the world), „the tiny country“ (there are 7 smaller countries in Europe, including Slovenia and Lithuania) , and „its 2 million people are Macedonian Slavs“ (this is a Greek hate-term, the residents of R.Macedonia call themselves simply ‚Macedonians‘) .

Your employees show complete disregard and ignorance of the basic rules of objective journalism like naming your sources and not ascribing statements to generalized entities. Examples are „Some Macedonians are aghast“ (which Macedonians? names?), „Many Macedonians fear the project will stoke ethnic tension“ (again, which macedonians? names? are they truly „many“?), „Some ethnic Albanians are saying ..“ (which albanians? names?), „Gruevski’s VMRO party … said the white race emerged from Macedonians“ (this is not only grammatically incorrect, it is also a completely made-up statement with no sources/dates quoted).

The article, as it is written, would bring the authors a failing grade in any freshman-level journalism course at any English-speaking university. I am deeply disturbed about a leading news agency like the Associated Press employing people who lack basic journalistic skills and show clear one-sided bias.

If you are really interested in writing about the truth, please write about how even in 2009 Greece still doesn’t recognize ANY ethnic minorities on its territory and oppresses and prosecutes its ethnic Macedonian, Turkish, Albanian and Vlach minorities, for which it has been repeatedly convicted and fined by the European Court in Strasbourg. The UN has severely criticized Greece about its oppression of minorities as recently as 2008: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/topic,4565c22529,465463672,49b7b2e52,0.html

Here is what happens when some ethnic group in Greece tries to speak up for their rights: http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/6982/2/ The Greek Neo-Nazis burst in and start destroying property and threatening people with the blessing of the police and government officials. Video of the incident is included in the article, so no, it is not propaganda, it really happened exactly like that.

In hope that objective journalism will prevail,

Best Regards,

B. Georgevski
Macedonian Community Vancouver, BC