Macedonia : FYROM’s Propaganda and Human Rights

These series of articles will expose to public eyes how FYROM’s Propaganda machine works. Especially the massive internet campaign used by Slavic propagandists from FYROM with sole aim to deceive the readers while misrepresenting and manipulating well-evidenced historical events to fit their petty nationalistic agenda. It is sometimes hard for the unsuspected reader who is frequently confronted by deceitful attempts to believe false claims disguised to sound truthful. These series of articles aim to familiarise you with techniques of Misinformation being spread from this former Yugoslav Republic so that you become able to assess the strength of any argument you may encounter and thus determine of its validity.

As we are perhaps aware by now, Human Rights – at least in their contemporary manifestation – are a set of individual and collective rights that have been formally promoted and protected through international and domestic law since the UN declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This of course doesnt negate, arguments theories and protections of such rights, were not in existence for much longer. Generally Human Rights often seem to all of us substantial to our sense of what is morally acceptable. Human Rights NGOs like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are essentially beyond any criticism because what they defend is theoritically obviously just. Even so, Human Rights NGOs like for instance Human Rights Watch are held accountable about corruption, espionage and being politically subjective, rather than objective. This article will not examine the latter, actually its not its aim but will just underline the fact that HR NGOs still remain the benchmark against which the decency of a country is measured.

The latter is exactly the sole reason why FYROM’s propaganda tends to centralize upon it. Each report by Human Rights Organisations blaming Greece is automatically invoked as quasi-sacred document by FYROM’s propagandists. Contrary each report by Human Rights Organisations blaming FYROM for Human Rights violations is conveniently ommited or the argumentative armoury by the usual Internet apologists of FYROM is summoned with the rather clumsy excuse of “HRW is not aware of the situation exactly“.

For instance, quite hypocritically, the propaganda machine from Skopje find it so easy to defend wholeheartly those Slavo-Macedonians who collaborated with the Axis occupation forces. These were joining Italian fascist-sponsored militias that terrorized the Macedonian countryside in Greece (aside from the fact after Germany’s defeat, they found themselves allied with the Greek communists during Greek Civil War) and naturally were driven out of the country, as this action used by the Greek state was not unique in the post-war context of dealing with Nazi collaborators and enemies of the state. According to their unique point of view as been advanced in internet forums , these people are “unjustly” driven out of the country and its their “human right to return” while entirely hypocritically during the conflict of 2001 between FYROM and Albanian paramilitary groups the Human Right Watch reports were clear to the events taking place in FYROM and brought to light reports like:

Human Rights Watch (New York, June 25, 2001):

We order all Shiptars [derogatory term for ethnic Albanians-tr.] who have objects for sale-shopkeepers here and around the Kwantaskhi bazaar-to leave within three days, and for those Shiptars from Aracinovo, the deadline is 24 hours. After this deadline, all the shops will be burned, and if someone tries to protect [them], the same will be killed without warning.”
We inform Shiptars of the Macedonian republic that for every killed police officer or soldier 100 Shiptars who do not have citizenship or who took citizenship after 1994 will be killed. For every police officer or soldier disabled, 50 Shiptars will be killed. For every wounded police officer or soldier wounded, 10 Shiptars will be killed, no matter what gender or age.”
“We inform Shiptars who do not have citizenship or got it after 1994 to leave Macedonia before June 25 this year, at midnight. After this deadline, we will start with the cleansing
“The Longest Night” courtesy of Macedonia Paramilitary 2000.

“This pamphlet is exactly the kind of thing that could lead to widespread ethnic violence. The government and international community have to stop it now.”
[Holly Cartner, HRW Executive director Europe and Central Asia division]

If someone thinks this was just an isolated reaction of a Slavic paramilitary group from FYROM, events prove otherwise.

“Anti-Albanian sentiment in Bitola is rapidly growing into a campaign by extremists to rid Bitola of its ethnic Albanian population. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch stated that the rioters had yelled slogans including Death to Albanians,” “Pure Bitola,” “Albanians Out of Bitola,” “Get Out Albanians,” and other such statements. The rioters told some of the ethnic Albanians that they had a week to get out of town before being targeted again. Many ethnic Albanians have fled their homes in Bitola in the aftermath of Wednesday’s riot because they are afraid of further attacks.

Bitola’s ethnic Albanians are scared to death of what could happen next,” said Cartner. “Urgent action is required to protect this vulnerable population from further attacks.”

Examples to reveal obvious double standards in FYROM’s political agenda regarding “human rights” violations are countless. Think of the constant accusations from FYROM’s side against Greece and Bulgaria’s policies for the alleged undermining of “Rainbow-Vinozhito” and “OMO-Ilinden”. It is coming from the same state who found it so easy to ban at once the Bulgarian Organization “Radko” on the grounds that its activities promoted “racial and religious hate and intolerance” and “violated the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia”. These are the exactly the same people that hide behind the banner of ‘human rights‘ and the ‘right to self determination’ only to push their political objectives. Hypocrisy was never absent from FYROM official policies.

 By Nikolaos M.

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