The New York Times today had an commentary entitled "How to Heal Balkan Wounds for Good" by David L. Phillips, who claims to be a human rights activists. While most of the article is typical neoliberal nonsense, including the standard casual reference to the moral value of "free markets", what really caught my attention was his blanket condemnation of Serbia and Serbs:
In contrast, Serbs have had a history of intolerance against non-Serbs and Muslims, and of aggression and forced expulsions to create a Serbian homeland in territories where they have historical claims — notably Kosovo, but also Bosnia.
Unfortunately, this "black and white" ethnic chauvinism is all too common, and perfectly acceptable in mainstream media when the victims of it are powerless. 100 years ago it was fashionable to hate the Irish and all Catholics. 50 Years ago anti-Semitism was rampant. Today, hating Serbs, and ironically the Serb's putative victims, the Muslims, is very much in vogue.
For a detailed criticism of Mr. Phillips, see Prof. David Gibbs' review of Mr. Phillips' book "David L. Phillips. Liberating Kosovo: Coercive Diplomacy and U.S. Intervention."
Liberating Kosovo is useful primarily as an illustration of victor's history, and the problems that are inherent in this genre. But this book is not serious scholarship, and I am surprised that MIT Press agreed to publish it.
Prof. Gibbs also wrote a letter in The Economist "On Croatia, India, South Africa, service stations, free trade, Iraq, Yale, the Spartathlon, our cover" when mainstream corporate media white washed Tudjman's crimes against Serbs:
When discussing Balkan scholarship in a recent article (“Writing the past”, January 5th), you mentioned the flight in 1995 of ethnic Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia and noted the uncertainty about whether this incident should be viewed as a case of ethnic cleansing or a consensual exit. The facts strongly suggest that the Krajina Serbs were indeed ethnically cleansed.
You can see Mr. Phillips' biography here, and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The New York Times email address is email@example.com. I wrote him and the New York Times an email asking to remove the offensive paragraph from his commentary and apologize for its hateful content. I suggest all readers of this blog who find his language offensive do the same. My email was as follows:
Please remove the sentence in your New York Times commentary regarding Yugoslavia "In contrast, Serbs have had a history of intolerance against non-Serbs and Muslims, and of aggression and forced expulsions to create a Serbian homeland in territories where they have historical claims — notably Kosovo, but also Bosnia." Also, please apologize to all Serbs for such a hateful, not to mention incorrect, comment.
For more information on the neoliberal war against prosperous Yugoslavia, see Neil Clark's many articles here.