Sunday, February 24, 2008

Apt Comparison

One would think that, for an analysis titled "What Kosovo means to the Serbs," Olivia Ward of the Toronto Star would have talked to, you know, an actual Serb or two.

No such luck; the story quotes two (!) officials of the International Crisis Group, and former NATO commander in Bosnia Gen. William Nash, now at the Council of Foreign Relations. The rest is a rather familiar dish of boilerplate serbophobic rhetoric wrapped in distortions of history.

And yet, I cannot help but wonder what James Lyon (ICG's man in Belgrade) was thinking when he said:

"Kosovo plays an integral role in Serbian identity," says Belgrade-based James Lyon, senior adviser on the Balkans for the International Crisis Group. "Without Kosovo, they suffer an identity crisis that is much more serious than just losing territory."

But he added that "the overriding factor is how easy it is to mobilize the crowds. You could compare it with mobilizing an anti-Muslim rally in New York the day after Sept. 11."

Yes, he did just compare the U.S. recognition of Kosovo to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Perhaps now it will be easier for Americans to understand why the Serbs are so upset.


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