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November 18, 2005


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Syd Webb

No, the big reason is that the US bombed the Serbs out of Kosovo in 1999, thereby releasing the Kosovar Albanians from a decade of apartheid, oppression, impoverishment, and collective misery and humiliation, and enabling them to inflict the same on the few Serbs who were too poor or too stubborn to run away.

Ah, the good kind of ethnic cleansing.

Little black Balkan humor there.

And a little black Antipodean humour, too. Although I love Balkan black humour, "Why should I live as a minority in your country when you can live as a minority in mine?"

A thought: Is black humour an international language?

Putting aside the complicated history, and the rights and wrongs of it all, it's... pretty refreshing. When I lived in Serbia, I was never in a hurry to announce that I was American. I always did a quick calculation: is this person old, young? Liberal, conservative? Is it likely that they still resent the bombing?

I imagine you must go through much the same calculus when you visit Vietnam or the People's Democratic Republic of Korea.

I don't do that nearly as much in Romania, but still: there's a moment of hesitation or constraint. Romanians pretty much like Americans, but there are exceptions. And even the ones who like us may sometimes want to engage you in a rambling discussion about George Bush or Iraq or whatever.

Bah. It's not as if President Bush represents America. Well actually...

Stiil, you're an agent of US foreign policy, Doug. Enjoy the accolades where you get them. I'm pretty pleased about the Christmas cards I've received in my line of work...

- Syd

Mike Ralls

Very interesting Doug. Thanks for the perspective.



Apologies for the following tangent:
Here's a question for you that's not so related to this post, except that I'm also American and planning to visit the Balkans...

I'm planning a trip to Romania in May for a scientific meeting in Baile Herculane, and I'd like to combine that with a fun trip to Plitvice nat'l park in Croatia, a place my husband and I have always wanted to visit. We'd be leaving romania from either Cluj or Bucharest... any travel suggestions? Trains, planes, busses? I gather that there's a train from Ljubljana to Zagreb, and that there may be some form of slow train from Timisoara thru Belgrade to Ljubljana....

But from reading some of your archives, I wonder if the journey from Romania to Croatia would take several days?? I would really appreciate your thoughts on this travel idea.

Cheers, Amy

Oskar L.


Real interesting piece on your (subcontious) censoring of your nationalite when you're in Serbia and Romania.

I'm right up there with Syd, enjoy the accolades where you can get them, it's certainly becoming more and more difficult to be loved for being an american. Soon, the only places where Americans will be loved will be places like Israle, Poland, western Ukaine, Kosovo and Croatia.

hi there

[comment deleted]

The Kosovo-related posts attract a lot of trolls. Tolerating trolls just encourages them, so I don't.

Play nice.

Doug M.

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