Skopjan Propaganda Techniques #3 - Taking Text Out Of Context

The common definition of “taking text out of contextis to remove a passage from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its meaning. In other words a shorter extract or phrase is used purposedly in an attempt to respresent the views of the person being quoted inaccurately. The latter became an effective tool on the hands of FYROM’s propagandists. Since the overwhelming evidence was against their illusions de grandeur, they had to invent an effective way to present the facts distorted in their favour. Hence misinterpreting their positions became a usual tactic.

If a person being quoted disagrees with their position, FYROM’s propagandists will present quotes that suggest that instead, this person is…supportive of this position. Material that ostensibly bolsters this position is often taken out of context. Exposition that is at odds with the argument being made in the same text is excluded or otherwise obscured.

For example lets take a look in one of the main shelters of FYROM’s propaganda in the net, The following quote is taken out of Strabo’s work to show allegedly that Strabo…didnt consider ancient Macedonians as Greek.

This quote is used by FYROM’s propaganda as a ‘proof’ of the alleged non-greekness of Macedonians but if someone examines it a little better he will find its deliberately taken out of context.

Here is the complete text.

[12] There is an ancient story of the Armenian race to this effect: that Armenus of Armenium, a Thessalian city, which lies between Pherae and Larisa on Lake Boebe, as I have already said,26 accompanied Jason into Armenia; and Cyrsilus the Pharsalian and Medius the Larisaean, who accompanied Alexander, say that Armenia was named after him, and that, of the followers of Armenus, some took up their abode in Acilisene, which in earlier times was subject to the Sopheni, whereas others took up their abode in Syspiritis, as far as Calachene and Adiabene, outside the Armenian mountains. They also say that the clothing of the Armenians is Thessalian, for example, the long tunics, which in tragedies are called Thessalian and are girded round the breast; and also the cloaks that are fastened on with clasps, another way in which the tragedians imitated the Thessalians, for the tragedians had to have some alien decoration of this kind; and since the Thessalians in particular wore long robes, probably because they of all the Greeks lived in the most northerly and coldest region, they were the most suitable objects of imitation for actors in their theatrical make-ups. And they say that their style of horsemanship is Thessalian, both theirs and alike that of the Medes. To this the expedition of Jason and the Jasonian monuments bear witness, some of which were built by the sovereigns of the country, just as the temple of Jason at Abdera was built by Parmenion.

Strabo, Geography

Strabo talks about the story of Armenus who accompanied Jason in Armenia. In other words at the time of Argonautic expedition which of course happened centuries *before* the Macedonian migration from Pindos and *obviously* at the time being, Thessalians were “in the most northerly and coldest region” since Macedonia didnt exist. Its really embarrasing for them since Strabo is more than clear that ancient Macedonians were Greeks and Macedonia was “of course a part of Greece“.

Like the example above explicitly shown, the art of “taking text out of context” not only fails to take account of the particular place, time and circumstance which often is crucial to understanding what someone really means or intends but it also fails to take account of even the other words which immediately surround it and which form a part of one single act of writing or even a speech. To Ignore the context can often be a mere error but taking text out of context as was shown above is plainly a Wilful Distortion.

By Nikolaos M.

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