Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If this is debate...

This Wednesday, The Yale Daily News reported on a panel discussing the "current struggle for Kosovar autonomy." Sure enough, what the panelists "discusses" was just how much the "Kosovars" (sic!) deserved their independence from evil Serbs, and how soon they would get it.

The article helpfully references the panelists' names (though without much in the way of background):

"The panel consisted of Yale professor Ivo Banac, University of Pristina professor Dastid Pallaska, 2007 Yale World Fellow Verena Knaus, 2006 Yale World Fellow Garentina Kraja, Laurie Ball LAW ’09 and Jonathan Finer LAW ’09."

Let's see... an ethnic Albanian professor (Pallaska), an ethnic Albanian journalist (Kraja), and a former Croat politician (Banac) round out the "Balkans" perspective. To be honest, Banac was probably the most impartial of the lot - but with this lot, that's not hard.

Continuing on: Knaus is a member of the "European Stability Initiative," a Brussels-friendly NGO run by Gerald Knaus (husband or brother?). The ESI is funded by numerous foundations and Western governments - and oh yes, NATO! Can't expect someone who ate from NATO's dish to criticize the Alliance for its illegal occupation of Kosovo, now can we?

Next up is Laurie Ball, a Duke graduate who did "community-building" in Bosnia as part of her "career in human rights." If that doesn't qualify her as an expert in international law, I don't know what would.(EDIT: I just remembered the name of a Patrick Ball, a pet "expert" of the ICTY. Could he be a relative?)

Finally, there is Jonathan Finer, who is actually a Washington Post reporter best known for being "embedded" with the 1st Marine Division in Iraq, but who has recently done a tour of the Balkans and produced a series of predictably propagandistic rubbish about Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo.

Now, according to the Yale Daily News, Law School Dean Harold Koh called “a better briefing than anything presented at the State Department.” I concur - in the sense that the putrid bilge regularly emanating from the State Department is hard to outdo. But I bet these brave panelists came close. Of course, the reporter only quotes Ball, Pallaska, Finer and Knaus; there's nothing at all from Banac or Kraja. But what is quoted is insipid enough.

Not surprisingly, there was widespread agreement about the inevitability and even necessity of independence, and the report (presumably drawing from the "information" offered at the panel) spoke of "more than 10,000 ethnic Albanians" killed. Only trouble is, this "fact" is nothing of the sort.

In the past, forums, panels and "debates" of this kind at various universities and NGO institutes at least tried to create a pretense of impartiality by inviting a token Serb (even better, an ethnic Serb with a serious case of neo-Jacobin Empire-worship). Now, if this is the state of academic debate , or even discussion, at one of America's most prestigious universities, it's no wonder the American public is so utterly deluded about what is actually happening in Kosovo.

Then again, didn't the current Emperor study at Yale?

1 comment:

MOT said...

Ah!... Ye olde "10,000" dead have sprung out of their dusty coffins once again to haunt us all. The media lap dogs don't ever seem to tire of chewing on this old bone.