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SEE ALSO: NATO: Flags in Cyberspace
Institute on East Central Europe
Allegedly "The oldest academic institution in North America
devoted exclusively to the study of East Central Europe"


Date: Fri, 6 Sep 1996 10:09:05 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Mario Profaca
To: New Information Technology
Computer-assisted Reporting & Research
General Journalism Discussion
Subject: IECE Hate Page - To Columbia University with love

Acording to the Institute on East Central Europe (Columbia University) Home Page it is "the oldest academic institution in North America devoted exclusively to the study of East Central Europe, affiliated to School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)". The Institute is maintaining web pages for all East Central Europe Countries including Croatia Page.

At their Croatia Page there is still that fifty years old Croatian flag . What's more, for visitors interested in more information on the Republic of Croatia that web page (webmaster) is offering following links:

Cybrary of the Holocaust - Fighting Hate: Neo-Nazis, Fascists and Holocaust Related Archives - Holocaust Index - Simon Wiesenthal Center - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

"For more information about the Institute, please contact Mr Kevin Hallinan at kph2@columbia.edu", it reads at the bottom of the Institute on East Central Europe page. So Mr. Hallinan was the first one to receive my e-mail message (Subject: Take off that flag, please!).
This was his answer:


Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 08:47:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: Kevin Paul Hallinan
To: Mario Profaca
Subject: Flag
Dear Mr. Profaca,
We are working on it. We are not able to change our web site daily.
When we have the chance, we will make the switch.
Kevin Hallinan
I replied immediately:

Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996
From: Mario Profaca
To: Kevin Paul Hallinan
Subject: Re: Take off that flag, please!

Dear Mr. Hallinan,
Thank you indeed for your quick reply. Of course I know you are not changing your site "daily", but the Republic of Croatia has it's internationaly recognized state flag five years so far and the Institute on East Central Europe should have known that long time ago.
Cheers,
Mario Profaca

Two weeks later I realised that he didn't make that flag switch and so I visited that happy Institute Staff web page to see who might be responsible for that.
Dr. John S. Micgiel, Director

Here they are:
Dr. John S. Micgiel,
Director,
Kevin P. Hallinan,
Program Coordinator,
Kevin E. Laney,
Computer Consultant,
Gabriel Topor,
Webmaster.
Dr. John S. Micgiel ,Director

Instead to write to Gabriel Topor , Webmaster,
I sent a-mail message to Dr. John S. Micgiel ,Director,
and Cc'ed that message to others listed above.


Date: Thu, 5 Sep 1996 00:23:18 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Mario Profaca
To: Dr. John S. Micgiel
cc: kph2@columbia.edu, kel1@columbia.edu, gt25@columbia.edu,
ec156@columbia.edu, ss160@columbia.edu, dmw8@columbia.edu
Subject: Re: Take off that flag, please!

Dr Nicgiel,
Hope at least you are going to give me some explanation after reading these messages I'm forwarding to you, because the flag mentioned was not switched yet, even two weeks after my message to your Program Coordinator Mr. Kevin Paul Hallinan. Looking forward to hear from you,
Mario Profaca


His answer was quick and a polite one:
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 96 8:16:34 EDT
From: Dr. John S. Micgiel
To: Mario Profaca
Subject: Re: Take off that flag, please!

Dear Mr. Profaca:
I was aware of your correspondence, but we were unable to make the change becuase our webmaster was in Central Europe. We will make the change as quickly as possible.
Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
John Micgiel


But, at the same time I received a message from webmaster
who "was in Central Europe"...


Date: Thu, 5 Sep 1996 11:48:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: Gabriel Topor
To: Mario Profaca
Subject: Re: flag
We downloaded your flag and submitted the change not long after receiving your initial message. We hope the right version will appear soon, since we do not make these changes directly.
It was the only flag we found at the time the initial home page was built. We know exactly what the corect flag is, and this one was the closest approximation. It is not, by the way, identical to the NDH flag (no U or NDH insignia, though you are right about the white square appearing first).
Would you rather that we put no flag there at all?
How many angry messages do you think we would have received in that case?
Onda, smirite se, molim vas. Hvala lijepa.
S postovanjem,
Gabriel Topor

Note: Last two lines were in "Serbo-Croatian language" (acording to CIA World FactBook) so that I wonder if this webmaster is of Serbian origin, for it might explain everything.
But, then, what kind of "webmaster" it would be if he "does not make these changes directly"?
Anyway, what kind of institute is that "Institute on East Central Europe (Columbia University), the oldest academic institution in North America devoted exclusively to the study of East Central Europe, affiliated to School School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)", and what is that Institute devoted to, when they "know exactly what the corect flag is " but decided to use "the closest approximation" (?!) instead?
After I decoded their "closest approximation" syntagm I realised they used that "closest approximation" to make contemporary Republic of Croatia "closest" to Gabriel Topor's own choise of links at his web page about Croatia, leading its visitors to Holocaust, Fighting Hate: Neo-Nazis, Fascists and Holocaust Related Archives. What's worst, Gabriel Topor was not just a webmaster; He was a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Political Science, Columbia University.
Anyway, it tells much more about that Institute than about the Republic of Croatia.


EPILOGUE
I kept watching Institute on East Central Europe Croatia Page daily and finaly (September 12, 1996) there were some changes.
They switched that flag but left at their index of links "related to Croatia" all their favorite Neo-Nazis, Fascists and Holocaust Related Archives.
Last time I checked Columbia University web site I found out that Croatia web page in question disapeared from Internet. At a new web page related to Croatia one can see the flag of the Republic of Croatia I sent to the Columbia University. Gabriel Topor from this story is not the webmaster any more. According to Staff web page the webmaster was Justine A. Caccamo