May 3, 2010 – Washington, D.C. – The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) released a letter today that it sent to the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in response to Greek-American groups condemning the April 2010 edition of State magazine entitled “Skopje, Ancient Macedonia Builds Modern Democracy” by Ms. Stephanie Rowlands.
The State Magazine article, in reference, can be downloaded by clicking HERE .
A copy of the letter to Secretary Clinton is below:
Dear Madam Secretary:
The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) commends the publication of the cover story in the April 2010 edition of State magazine entitled “Skopje, Ancient Macedonia Builds Modern Democracy” by Ms. Stephanie Rowlands. The article accurately and fairly covered a number of important issues regarding the Republic of Macedonia and will certainly contribute to a greater understanding by U.S. Foreign Service officials of Macedonia and issues it faces, including the Hellenic Republic’s intransigent objection to Macedonia’s name.
It has come to our attention certain Greek-American groups have condemned the article in letters to you. Such groups even claimed that the use of imagery in privately purchased and admittedly provocative billboards that appeared in Skopje over a year ago calling attention to the persecution and ethnic cleansing of Macedonians in the Hellenic Republic demonstrated intolerance. Such a claim is ridiculous in light of the Hellenic Republic’s well-documented mistreatment of its own ethnic and racial minorities and the frequent portrayals of American officials as “Nazis” by the Hellenic media. Indeed, just last month, disturbing videos of the Hellenic Army units chanting anti-Macedonian, anti-Turkish, and anti-Albanian epithets surfaced yet no action has been taken to address it.
As you know, the Hellenic Republic’s baseless objections to Macedonia’s name have lasted for over fifteen (15) years. The only obstacle to a solution to the “name dispute” is and always has been the Hellenic Republic’s intransigence and its insistence that it alone impose a new name upon not just Macedonia, but the Macedonian identity, language, and people.
Unfortunately, certain Greek-American groups, including those that contacted you regarding the article, have adopted the Hellenic Republic’s anti-Macedonian policies and it is quite ironic that one Greek-American group, the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association, which claims to have been formed to combat ethnic prejudice against Greek-Americans, is now advancing an agenda of ethnic discrimination against Macedonians and Macedonian-Americans.
Finally, in the Republic of Macedonia as in the United States, the civil and human rights of ethnic and racial minorities are protected. Macedonia has made significant and praiseworthy inter-ethnic strides since achieving its independence. The Hellenic Republic, on the other hand, propagates the myth that it is an ethnically homogeneous nation and systematically denies basic civil rights and liberties to its sizeable Macedonian, Turkish, Roma, and Albanian minorities. The Hellenic Republic’s mistreatment of its ethnic and racial minorities has even been documented in the State Department’s own reports, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and by several rulings of the European Court of Human Rights.
Once again, UMD commends the State Department and Ms. Rowlands for the publication of “Skopje, Ancient Macedonia Builds Modern Democracy,” in the April 2010 issue of State magazine.
Metodija A. Koloski