Resurrecting Yugoslavia
By: Julia Gorin
Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A verbal fig-leaf to cover Muslim iniquity.

Western powers led by the United States went to great lengths to abolish a pluralistic society called Yugoslavia, encouraging its component ethnicities to assert their identities and vie for their own little slice of land based on those separate identities.

Yet as soon as one of those separate identities that we’ve buttressed misbehaves, suddenly we bring Yugoslavia back from the dead. Witness the strategic and ubiquitous use of the word “Yugoslav” in virtually every media report describing the four Albanian suspects in the recently foiled Fort Dix plot.

When that aggressively dismantled country is needed again, say for blame-laying, then we suddenly want to keep Yugoslavia together rather than splintered into small parts. Albanians are trying to kill Americans? Dig up Yugoslavia. A Bosnian shoots 11 people in Utah? No no — we don’t want separate Balkan identities anymore; now we want the amorphous whole back.

After diligently slicing multinational Yugoslavia up into separate ethnic identities, now we’re embarrassed of those identities and don’t want to identify them; now we’re suddenly interested in Serbian unity, and envision a Greater Serbia in which we can call all the culprits Serbs, or at least trace any and all misdeeds back to some sinister Serbian entity.

We quite deliberately sponsored the creation of a country for Croats; then we tried to make one for Bosnian Muslims (so far it’s an entity composed of a Bosnian-Croat Federation, and a Serbian Republic — but the dissolution of the non-Muslim parts is underway); next we decided to give Kosovo Muslims their own country, with their own flags, symbols, army and so on. But should our protégés do something unbecoming, we want to spread the guilt around. So that you think for at least a minute that maybe it’s the Serbs whodunit, and by the time you figure out it wasn’t, you’ve been put through the exercise of tracing the precipitation of the crime back to something the Serbs may or may not have done during the perpetrators’ pre-embryonic lives.

The association with Serbia is actually more direct and intentional if you consider that, as Serbianna.com’s Mickey Bozinovich points
 out, Serbia is the successor state to Yugoslavia. More shameless, however, was this display from a Juan Cole, who is president of something called the Global Americana Institute, and who threw even the media’s sleight-of-pen subtlety to the wind, blatantly titling his piece on the foiled plot “Dix Plot is Milosevic’s Fault.”

That’s right: A dead guy is trying to kill Americans!

The Washington Times picked up on what was happening in an editorial
 titled “‘Albanian’ vs. ‘Yugoslav’”:

“Yugoslav” is a sanitizer…Early in this story, the Albanian connection emerged in some outlets, but “Yugoslav,” a term we associate with Slobodan Milosevic or Josip Tito more than Islamist violence, persisted. The connotations of “Albanian” begin with the fact that 70 percent of Albanians are Muslim. Now, combine “Albanian” with the allegation of a thwarted assault-rifle attack on Fort Dix…The hypothesis: An attack by Islamist terrorists may just have been thwarted. It has nothing to do with anti-fascist partisans or Communist apparatchiks. Our news organizations seem now to be acting upon the desire to avoid fueling that speculation as long as possible. We’re not clear why, except for their biases, or perhaps their worry of offending people…They should not engage in “perception management.”

Here the paper takes for granted the fact that “biases” govern reporting on Islamic terrorism, in this case Islamic terrorism from the Balkans. The paper effectively admits to there being slanted Balkans coverage, based on pro-Muslim biases — which actually calls into question two decades of Balkans reporting. And yet the editors don’t intimate anything of the sort, much less call for the begged-for reexamination of the Balkans narrative.


Isn’t it possible that the pro-Muslim bias they bemoan from today’s media was also at work in Balkans reporting throughout the 1990s, when the story being shoved down our collective throat was that the Serbs were randomly pummeling Muslims?

The “perception management” that is now so apparent is meant to keep the public confused and still shrugging at words like “Balkans”, “Bosnia” and “Kosovo” — and thinking that despite the terrorism which Muslims, acting alone or in concert, are inflicting upon every corner of the world, somehow a place called “the former Yugoslavia” exists in a vacuum and isn’t affected by global trends. Jihad didn’t find Yugoslavia, we’re supposed to think; Yugoslavia summoned jihad-like symptoms — so it’s not exactly jihad.

Even now, editors, reporters and politicians struggle to keep the Balkans suspended in its own context, as if it’s some “unique” case (as our leaders call Kosovo), immune to the trend of nationalism followed by separatism — which we buy and then Americans die as that separatism morphs into Islamism.

When the Fort Dix news hit, the names Mladic and Karadzic speedily found their way into news reports, and there was almost simultaneous coverage of, and an unusual amount of attention paid to, the gains made by a nationalist party in Serbia. As one Belgrade reader saw it:

You see how the media are portraying the recent election of the Parliament speaker in Serbia? First, mention the politician, Tomislav Nikolic; then suggest that his talk is like that of Milosevic; then remind the reader of Srebrenica and Kosovo and the wars. By now the reader is thinking this politician is the devil. I find it amusing that the idea of America fighting in Iraq is nobler than the Serbs wanting to fight against secessionists for land that’s been in their history for a thousand years. Incredible as it would be, I have a fear that the sequel to all the Balkan wars has started.

The media seem to be reminding the world of the past and linking it to the present. I fear that when the situation in Kosovo gets out of hand and war comes, the Serbs will be painted as the bad guys again. It worked before, and it made for great [pro-Muslim] drama. So why change the role of the bad guy when that would only confuse audiences?

There is also the trick of using the words “terror” and “Serbia” in the same headline. Some played this game when Serbian police raided a Wahhabi terror camp in southern Serbia in March. (“Discovery of Serbia Training Camp Draws Attention to Radical Islamists” — NY Times.) Before that, initial reports about investigations into the London bombings linked the Tube terror to “eastern Europe” and “Serbia.” The UK’s Sky News reported that the explosives used in the attacks came from inside Bosnia, supplied by mujahedeen there (subsequently it was discovered they came from Kosovo, and that Bosnia served as a coordinating point). But one British police officer interviewed in that broadcast — which was shown on Fox News and others — said the explosives came from “Serbia.” He was talking about Kosovo which, when convenient, is remembered to be part of Serbia.

These tactics have been effective in stunting the initial wave of public outrage, giving it no clear direction, then allowing the facts to come out as the outrage subsides. How long will “isolated,” “pattern-free” cases of Balkan Muslim terror continue to be swept under the rug?

An AP headline quietly appeared this week, readingMichigan men detained in Montenegro since September
.” According to the article,

Three Michigan men have been sitting in a prison in Montenegro for months, awaiting trial on charges of inciting rebellion against the government there…[specifically] planning terrorist attacks and an armed insurgency in the former Yugoslav republic…Montenegro declared independence from Serbia, after its citizens voted for the split by a slim margin, marking the final breakup of what once was Yugoslavia.

The final breakup? If the media’s co-architects of Yugoslavia’s demise believe that Montenegro is the final chapter in the balkanization of the Balkans, which the Kosovo and Bosnia precedents inspired, they’re in for a surprise — and we’re in for more perception management. After Montenegro and Kosovo, we’ll be looking at Vojvodina separatism (a Hungarian-majority area of Serbia whose nationalism U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, a Hungarian-American, is stirring up). Then there’s southern Serbia, which is a Wahhabi/terror nest that seeks to join with Kosovo. Next, there are the Albanians who are looking, with unofficial material support from the U.S., to get a piece of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Then it’s back to Montenegro, which has separatists within its borders.

No, the final breakup of Yugoslavia will take place in Greece, Romania, Azerbaijan, Quebec, Southern California, Texas, Arizona, Galilee, Basque, the Thai south, Michigan, and every
 other place on the globe that has a significant ethnic minority concentrated in a province or state.

Julia Gorin is the editor of the humor book Clintonisms: The Amusing, Confusing, and even Suspect Musing, of Billary.