The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) sent a letter today to Al Jazeera demanding a retraction over the use of “Slavic” in their October 31, 2012 article “Macedonia: A River Divides.” Click HERE to read the article.
The letter can be read below:
November 2, 2012
Dear Director of Al Jazeera,
On behalf of the United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), I am writing in response to your article and the documentary “Macedonia: A River Divides”, published on October 31, 2012. UMD is deeply concerned about the poor quality of this article and associated film. It is rather disheartening that Al Jazeera would skip the journalistic processes of proofreading and fact checking, and abandon objectivity so brazenly.
The article and film constitute a negative representation of the country, biased in favor of Albanian nationalist positions. The broad generalizations serve no purpose other than to sensationalize the issues. Meanwhile, the rich history of cooperation between the Macedonians and ethnic minorities in the country is ignored.
Multiple quotes from ethnic Albanians paint a distorted picture, and the article’s one quote from a Macedonian is astoundingly unrepresentative of the Macedonian community. It’s presence, in the absence of mainstream Macedonian views, only serves to promote conspiracy theories about the Macedonian nation and its origins.
The documentary sloppily mixes two totally different concepts, ethnicity and religion, and it clearly favors the views of more radical elements within the Islamic community of Albanians. More moderate Albanian views are ignored, while views among other Muslim communities, such as the Turks, Roma, and Macedonian Muslims, are also ignored. The documentary itself is outdated, filmed at least two or three years ago, with a variety of false or misinterpreted information. Overall, the film is clearly biased against the Macedonian majority community.
Furthermore, we must demand a retraction of the term “Slavic-speaking majority” as it is both incorrect and insulting. The majority population of the Republic of Macedonia is “Macedonian,” and their language is “Macedonian.” In effect, Al Jazeera’s editors are attempting to denationalize the Macedonians and negate their ethnic identity. This is disgraceful, and reflects very badly on Al Jazeera’s international reputation as a media organization.
We trust you will take these matters under serious consideration, and act appropriately to correct these issues.
Metodija A. Koloski
President, United Macedonian Diaspora