The Macedonian Tendency: Radio Free Europe is the Problem not the Solution

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Radio Free Europe is the Problem not the Solution

Dear Ulrich Buechsenschuetz

Ethnic conflict in the Balkans is not easy to solve, but the US/EU/Nato policy of favouring one group at the expense of another is the main cause of instability today.

If Macedonians in Greece had the same rights as Gypsies do in Skopje, then this issue of symbols would be a minor irritant. However, Macedonians are subject to active persecution ... to the extent that Greek police monitor and disrupt the singing of Macedonian songs at wedding dances. Therefore the extension of Albanian rights in Macedonia has to be viewed logically as an attack against Macedonian interests.

When Rado Free Europe (funded by the US government) goes at length about the status human rights in Macedonia, but ignores the status of human rights in Greece, it is more than an oversight. It is an active policy to attact the interests of Macedonians . It encourages extremists and discouraging moderates who try to build bridges.

Ulrich, you ... personally ...are hurting the Balkans.


As part of the implementation of the 2001 Ohrid peace accord, the Macedonian government has drafted a law regulating the use of national symbols, the private A1 TV and RFE/RL's Macedonian broadcasters reported. The draft law envisions that ethnic minorities should be allowed to use their national symbols in those municipalities where they make up more than 50 percent of the population.

It is not clear whether the governing ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration will accept the new regulation or whether it will demand that the symbols can be used by those minorities representing more than 20 percent of the respective municipality. The use of national symbols is a controversial issue, since the country's 23-percent ethnic Albanian minority insists on using the Albanian flag.

In former Yugoslavia, the Albanian minority used the Albanian flag with its black double-headed eagle on a red background as a symbol of the Albanian people rather than of the Albanian state. Ethnic Macedonians, however, regard the Albanian flag as a symbol for ethnic Albanian separatism and have thus insisted that it should be banned. In 1997, the mayors of the overwhelmingly Albanian-populated towns of Gostivar and Tetovo were even jailed for flying the Albanian flag from their town halls (see 'RFE/RL Newsline,' 29 November 2001 and 'RFE/RL Balkan Report,' 20 February 2004). UB"

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