Myron Kuropas    Ukrainian Weekly     28-Feb-1993   I called TIME
It is worth noting below that TIME employees Amy Musher and Robert Pondiscio both invite Myron Kuropas to put his objections to the Wallowing Photograph into a letter to the editor of TIME.  The only reason they offer for doing so is that in that way these objections will receive "a larger hearing."

However, on 19Apr93, TIME admitted that it had received letters from "more than 750 readers so far," and we note that only one of these ever got published by TIME, and that one was severely expurgated and its meaning falsified.  In view of these facts, how are we to interpret TIME's urging Dr. Kuropas to send letters to the editor?

One possible interpretation is that TIME wants Ukrainians to deplete their energies in a task whose outcome lies entirely within their power to control.  More than 750 Ukrainians write their objections, and then foolishly hand over the fruits of their labor to the people who can be least trusted to deal with the objections fairly--to TIME magazine itself whose offense their writing objects to.  Each Ukrainian feels himself to have struck a blow for truth.  He or she visualizes TIME staff stinging from their rebukes, and bowing beneath the weight of their evidence.  But that vision is their sole reward, for TIME staff promptly files the mass of letters in trash.  The cost imposed on TIME of the massive Ukrainian effort is twofold--that TIME is forced to go to the trouble of picking a single letter out of the hundreds, or thousands, that it receives, and to bowdlerize and corrupt it until it is devoid of significance and of the ability to do TIME any harm, and then to publish it.  And TIME is forced to go to the trouble of paying typists to type the addresses of the letter writers into their computer terminals so that these writers can be sent a postcard of acknowledgement to reinforce their illusion that the managing editor himself has sat and pored over their letter, and searched his conscience, and resolved to do better in the future.

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Faces and Places

by Dr. Myron B. Kuropas

Time no U.S. News & World Report

If you were horrified by the picture and caption that appeared on page 50 of the February 22 issue of Time magazine, you're not alone.

Many Ukrainians in North America were offended, and they let the people at Time know it.

For those who missed it, the picture was part of an article titled "Unspeakable" which examined the horrors of rape in Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Written by Lance Morrow, the story argued that rape as a wartime means of terrorizing civilians is nothing new.  It was practiced by the Greeks at Troy and the Soviets in Germany.  At no time in the account was there even a hint of Jews and Ukrainians.  And yet, on page 50, there it was, a picture of a young Jewish girl holding out her hand in obvious agony with a caption that read: "Traditions of atrocity: A Jewish girl raped by Ukrainians in Lvov, Poland, in 1945."

Another Budianskyism?  Another totally irrelevant insertion of a scurrilous libel against Ukrainians for no obvious reason?

Like many Ukrainians, I called Time.

I spoke with Michele Stephenson, the picture editor, who informed me that the picture was selected out of many she suggested, but not by her.  She didn't know who made the final selection.

Learning from The Weekly Editor-in-Chief Roma Hadzewycz that she had already spoken with Lance Morrow, and several persons in the photo department, I called Adrianne Jucius Navon, one of the article contributors, and left a message on her answering machine outlining the problem.  She never returned my call.

Then I called James R. Gaines, the managing editor, and left a message on his machine explaining my concerns.  An Amy Musher, one of his assistants, returned the call and left the following message on my machine.  "The photograph was added to the story because it had to do with the atrocity of rape during war conditions.  We are sorry if you were offended.  For a larger hearing, write to the editor ... we'd welcome it."

I called Ms. Musher and explained that there were no "war conditions" in Lviv in 1945 and that the caption was libelous because it suggested that Ukrainians had "traditions of atrocity."  She urged me to write to the editor.

The next day my voice mail informed me that a Mr. Robert Pondiscio, the Time public affairs director, had called and left his number.  His machine informed me that he was out and explained how I could reach him at home.  I did.  Since he was entertaining guests, he told me to call in the morning, early.  I did that and we finally connected.

Mr. Pondiscio listened patiently to everything I said and seemed sympathetic to my views.  He explained that he obtained his present position four years ago, and in all that time there was never even a hint of a complaint from any one in our community suggesting that Time was unfair to Ukrainians.  When I told him of all the battles our community has had with Time over the years regarding Time's insufferable habit of calling Ukrainians "Russians," he seemed genuinely surprised.  He assured me that Time had no intention of offending Ukrainians and, like Ms. Musher, he urged me to write a letter to the editor.

There are two points to all of this: 1) persistence sometimes pays off; 2) even though I was bounced around a bit in the beginning, there was no attempt to stonewall by the Time staff.  This is in contrast to U.S. News and World Report, which was most unsympathetic to Ukrainian complaints regarding Stephen Budiansky, who, until this day, is adding insult to injury by sending out form response letters attempting to justify his vile attack on Bohdan Khmelnytsky.

But what about the people of Time?  Are they sensitive to our concerns?  We'll see how they react to our letters.

Were they sensitive in the past?  Absolutely not.  When I protested in 1962 that Time referred to Kyyiv as a "Russian city," Margaret Harbison replied on behalf of the editors: "We are, of course, aware of the desire of the Ukrainians especially those living in this country and Canada to preserve the concept of a free nation.  However, the facts of present political life, also noted by our sister publication, Life, have led to the general use of 'Russian' to refer to all the republics within the USSR.  This is due primarily to Russia's being the seat of government of this bloc."  Not only was this a flagrant denial of a separate Ukrainian identity, it was a not so subtle suggestion that only Ukrainians living in the United States and Canada were still concerned about a national Ukrainian state.  Ukrainians in Ukraine, presumably, had outgrown this archaic, nationalistic fixation!

When Ukrainian American students attending the UNA cultural courses at Soyuzivka picketed the Time and Life Building in New York City on August 21, 1962, they were initially ignored.  "After the march had continued for a few hours," The Ukrainian Weekly reported on August 25, "Life and Time sent word that they would speak with a delegation.  Three representatives were ushered into the executive suite on the 34th floor and were met by a Mr. E. Gabriel Perle...."  Mr. Perle listened patiently, admitted that the students had a point, but made no promises.

Time's treatment of Ukrainians remained the same for decades.  Ukrainian Olympic athletes, scientists, artists, and dancers i.e. those who represented Ukraine in a positive light were consistently referenced as "Russians."  However, when it came to negatives, pogroms, for example, the name "Ukrainian" suddenly appeared.

And that is why the photo on page 50 is so offensive.  The double standard still seems to be functioning at Time.

P.S.  If you're in the dumps about all the bad press Ukrainians appear to be getting lately, check out the March issue of National Geographic.  Our old friend Mike Edwards (who last wrote about Ukraine seven years ago) writes objectively and dispassionately about Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.  If you like what he wrote, let him know!