Thursday 30 July 2009

Dear Mr. Whitlock,

Thank you for responding to my email: I appreciate the consideration of your response.

I have re-read your article carefully in light of your comments, and you will permit me to reaffirm that the article is biased and one-sided. Taking only the final quotation of your article is a case in point:

"The Greeks are sorry that they are called Greece and not Macedonia," he said. "What else can I tell you?"

There is certainly no equivalent statement from a Greek source in the article. Given its arrogance and utter lack of relevance, it is better that there is not.

This pattern is repeated consistently in the article: inflammatory statements by FYROM officials: no rebuttal from a Greek official; no balance or disclaimer from the author of the article.
Mr. Gjorge Ivanov, is quoted as saying that "The pressure that Greece is making is destabilizing the whole region." This is not the case: the region (which I presume refers to the Balkan region) is hardly being destabilised by Greece’s stance on FYROM’s entry into NATO or the EU. In contrast, it’s support for Bulgaria’s and Romania’s entry into the EU and NATO (which have already occurred) and its support for Croatian and Turkish future entry into the EU, are matters of public record. Greece supports FYROM’s entry into NATO and EU, subject to a mutual and satisfactory resolution of the name issue. Regrettably, you do not publish a qualifier in your article, nor do you permit the Greek side to make a response which would balance this statement.

Mr Todor Petrov is quoted as accusing Greece of ‘"practicing ethnic cleansing and genocide on the Macedonian nation" for the past 100 years. "They're denying our nationality and culture and church and history and our borders," he said.’ This is certainly not the case, since there has not been a “Macedonian nation” in the past 100 years. Again, there is no response, or balance from the article.

Mr. Pavle Voskopoulos is quoted as describing Greece as a ‘“country subscribes to a myth of a "pure" Greek people who are directly descended from Alexander and others from his era. "This is all about modern Greek identity," he said. "If there is a Macedonia as an independent state, this is a great threat against Greek policy and Greek ideology.”’ This is hardly the case, but again, there is no response, or balance from the article.

I do consider these statements errata, in other words, “factual mistakes”, which contribute to a regrettably biased and unbalanced article, as I understand the meanings of these terms.

I await the day The Washington Post publishes an equivalent article expressing the Greek view of the situation.

Sincerely yours,

Philip Ammerman

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