1 December 2010 – Perth, Western Australia – UMD Perth Regional Representative Dame Krcoski sent a letter today to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia (UWA) Mr Alan Robson strongly protesting the insulting and racist comments by UWA Associate Professor John Melville-Jones. Professor Melville-Jones, an Associate Professor at UWA in Classics and Ancient History spoke before an audience in Melbourne, in which he referred to Macedonians in Perth as “not well educated” and stated that it was “easy to brain-wash them.”
“UMD strongly protests such insulting and racist comments and will take appropriate measures against Professor Melville-Jones if such comments are not retracted immediately,” stated UMD Perth Regional Representative Dame Krcoski.
To join UMD in its protests to the UWA, please contact Dame Krcoski at email@example.com .
The letter to Mr Robson follows:
Dear Vice-Chancellor Robson:
I am writing to you in response to an article posted by University of Western Australia Professor Melville-Jones in the ‘American Chronicle’ on November 28th 2010 termed “The Importance of historical truth and the Macedonian issue”. Link:http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/202063
On behalf of the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), I am expressing to you our disappointment that such an insulting article could be written by an individual who seemingly has an honourable reputation amongst his peers. What concerns us deeply though is that a Professor of a respectable research based university such as UWA has published an opinion piece in the ‘American Chronicle’ based on no evidence. Not only does he deny the ethnic national identity of the Macedonians, Professor Melville-Jones takes insult to another level by questioning the mental development of an entire community living in Perth.
Let me point out the following quote made by Professor Melville-Jones in the said article:
“I have met a number of people from FYROM in Perth. They are good citizens, working hard to establish themselves……. However, as they were often not well educated, they have generally not been in a position question the distorted view of history that is the basis of their nation, and is without historical basis, which has been thrust upon them. It has been said that the state of FYROM cannot survive without a historical basis for its national identity. But if you are naked, that does not give you the right to steal someone else’s garments”.
First of all, the term “FYROM” is considered derogatory and very offensive in the eyes of the Macedonians. May we add that 129 countries worldwide including the U.S.A, Russia, UK and China recognise my native country under its constitutional name the Republic of Macedonia. Further to this, Professor Melville-Jones goes on to call the 15,000 ethnic Macedonians of Perth “not well educated” and implies that we are “naked” without an identity and that we “steal”, thus we are thieves. I will also note that some of Professor Melville-Jones insulting comments have been removed, however “news” travels fast as the original piece calling the Perth Macedonians “brainwashed” can be found on an anti-Macedonian website http://history-of-macedonia.com/wordpress/2010/11/28/the-importance-of-historical-truth-and-the-macedonian-issue/ Although the ‘American Chronicle’ removed it, the above website quotes the original paragraph which Professor Melville-Jones used in order to specifically describe what he thinks of Perth’s Macedonian community which states:
“They are often not well educated (so it is easy to brain-wash them into a state in which they accept without question the distorted views of history that is the basis of their nation, which otherwise has little historical support for its existence). I feel sorry for them. They need to have an identity, and without this, they are lost”.
He feels sorry for us? None of Professor Melville-Jones’ attempts to humiliate the Macedonian people are evidence based and his discriminatory views damage the reputation of UWA. I will also remind you that a growing number of Australian Macedonian students and alumni have connections with UWA and the UWA Council. There are anti-discrimination laws and institutions in Australia and in Western Australia, which the Macedonian community will not hesitate to use to protect itself from racist attacks by heavily biased and politicised Professors who have no knowledge of Macedonian history. What Mr Melville-Jones is doing is aiding in the suppression of a fundamental human right as this is not the first time he has expressed his anti-Macedonian views.
Taking all the above into consideration, the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) urges you to issue an official apology on behalf of UWA (as well as from Professor Melville-Jones himself) towards the Macedonian community in Perth. Secondly, we need a commitment on your behalf that the offensive and racist opinion piece will be removed from the ‘American Chronicle’. Lastly, we ask of you to take action to insure offensive and biased articles will not be published by Mr Melville-Jones or for that matter by any of his colleagues at UWA in the future.
Mr Dame Krcoski
Perth/WA Regional Representative
United Macedonian Diaspora
2/22 Irvine Drive
Malaga WA 6090 Australia