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The Term “Sorosoids” is Discriminatory

on 21 - 08 - 2015       
Овој напис го има и на: Macedonian, Albanian
„Дискриминација“. Фото: bvalaw.net.

“Discrimination”. Photo: bvalaw.net.

The term “Sorosoids” is obviously used to label, discredit and derogate a certain group of people.

Written by: Prof. Mirjana Najchevska, PhD, human rights expert

A number of media in Macedonia have gotten into a habit of using the term “Sorosoids.” This term may be used in different contexts, but always with negative connotation.

I wonder how come some brave man in this Macedonia of ours does not put in their place all those Zaevs, and Sorosoids, and the foreigners like Nuland, Hahn, Baily, Vajgl, Howitt and all the others European anonymouses which want to turn us into a future colony. (The Balkans – a colony of the West)

Increasing use of this term can be clearly connected to the escalation of the political crisis in Republic of Macedonia. The term “Sorosoids” has been gradually making its way within the public without proper discussion or analysis, even though it is based on a paradox of its contents. Namely, George Soros by some extreme views has been one of the most prominent “anticommunists” [considering his support for nascent civil society in Eastern Europe since 1979, which had undermined the totalitarian regimes and USSR stranglehold on the region]. On the other hand, Macedonia is an exception. In Macedonia [mainstream media] present him as chief supporter of the “Commies” [local term is komunjari, similar to McCarthy-era “Pinkos“] – a term which is also frequently used to stigmatize certain people.

Very rarely, small number of media attempt to point the contradictions and vagueness inherent to this issue, and indicate its use as problematic or as a kind of spin by the government and its propaganda centers.

As far as non-governmental organizations are concerned, but those that are really that – not controlled by the government, and having critical stance towards government policies, the things are simple. Without much thought, you’d label them as Sorosoids. So you write that they are financed by Soros, without worries if that’s not even true. Soros, besides Crvenkovski, is the chief bogyman – the former an international, the later a domestic one. (Tactics for dumbing down of the people!?)

Attempts to open discussion about this kind of hateful media campaigns are even rarer.

The term “Sorosoids” is obviously used to label, discredit and derogate a certain group of people. And it makes no real difference whether those people belong or have belonged to the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia (which is called Soros’ foundation in the media), whether they are or have been connected to projects supported by this foundation, or have never had any connection with it. The important thing is that this term is used to stigmatize a certain group of people and all those individuals which the media or the public considers (from various reasons) to be members of that group.

By definition the stigma is unwanted and discrediting trait attached to a person or group in order to lower their status in the eyes of the community. The stigma is source of discrimination, and especially of a specific kind of discrimination named: harassment (“…representing violation of dignity of a person or of group of persons stemming from the discriminatory basis and having a goal or resulting in violation of dignity of certain person or creation of threatening, hostile, degrading or intimidating environment, approach or practice”).

 

„Премиерот Никола Груевски се сретна со Џорџ Сорос, претседавач на Фондациите отворено општество“. Фото: Влада на РМ.

„Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski met George Soros, chairman of Open Society Foundations.” Photo: Government of Republic of Macedonia.

The absence of explanation on what exactly the term “Sorosoids” refers to, complicates the matter further, as it provides possibility to extend the stigma to a large number of people.

In this way, anyone labeled as “Sorosoid” looses all credibility and their positions and opinions simply have no value [within the Macedonian public discourse]. Moreover, this includes open prohibition of presenting certain positions or opinions, or creating an atmosphere hindering expression of such positions.

Simultaneously, people who are subjected to this kind of harassment simply withdraw from any public activity, because the environment in which they live becomes “threatening, hostile, degrading or intimidating.”

Structural discrimination feeds itself on such stigmatization. Namely, this kind of discrimination is based on the platitude that socially accepted behavior can’t be wrong. Therefore, if many people use the term “Sorosoids,” this cannot be wrong or punishable. In other words, “the people” is unable to make mistakes.

In this case, the problem of media reporting is twofold. On one hand the media spread the stigma and create conditions for discrimination, up to the point of openly inciting discrimination. The other hand, there are media which keep silent and do not analyze the problem, do not explain the discrimination, and do not call upon the relevant state institutions to react.

 



This analysis was created within the framework of the USAID Media Strengthening in Macedonia Project – Media Fact-Checking Service Component, implemented by Metamorphosis. The analysis is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, USAID or the United States Government. For more information on the work of USAID in Macedonia please visit its website (macedonia.usaid.gov) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/USAIDMacedonia).

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