Our chum Daniel Korski has been good enough to cite my recent Dashboard post on Kosovo in a new article on the Guardian website. It’s a typically tough piece from him and you should read it. But as well as learning about the Balkans, you should take a moment to scroll through the comments left by other readers – a greater accumulation of bile it would be hard to find. Unless, that is, you take a look at comments on an earlier Korski op-ed on Kosovo.
Combined, the two pieces have garnered 87 comments. The vast majority take issue with Daniel’s thesis that Kosovo should be independent and the EU is right to back it. Like this:
I wonder how many people here would fall for the crap produced by characters like author of this column. Have you not realised, pal, that all your bullshit trying to twist illegal land grab (in the form of neo-colonisation via proxies and military bases) in a strategic position in Europe into something “noble” and “unique” is not swallowed so easily anymore. You are just a bunch of cynical criminals and murderers. Any wonder, then, that you support the biggest narco-mafia in Europe, and their newly found “state”? Well done there, but you are now exposed as liers, criminals and moral scum.
One can only presume that the collective “you” in this case must refer to the European Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Korski’s current domicile, where I also have an affiliation. And, hey, I am quite a cynical person of variable morality, though I’m not in fact a murderer. (On a serious note, a quick glance at the ECFR site shows that the staff there have differing views on Kosovo, and it’s worth checking out this particularly thoughtful piece by Ulrike Guerot).
But back to the Guardian readers. They don’t all just hate Korski. Some hate the Serbs too. While I’ve been typing, the moderator has removed this comment by a Mr. (or Ms.) BugHunter:
Sorry, I just can’t work up any sympathy for the Serbs. Once again they show they aren’t ready to join the civilized world. The best thing for the region would be to turn Belgrade into a glass pavement.”
Well, that deserved to go. Though I’m not sure why it gets nixed while well-known South East Europe expert DancingSlag is allowed to get away with rank Islamophobia:
What about the historically important Christian sites in southern Kosovo? There are aged monks and nuns with no way of protecting themselves. We know what the Taliban did to the religiously significant Buddha statues in Afghanistan, so I suppose here comes some more cultural vandalism to witness.
I know that I shouldn’t be bothered by the sort of people who spend their days sticking this stuff on the web – and there are a few decent contributions amid the general pig-swill. But the sheer awfulness of this stuff reminded me of Alex’s recent post on George Packer’s despair at the standard of “informed” debate on Iraq in America:
What Packer describes is how participatory media can produce incoherence: chaos, disorder, cacophony, where the very idea of any objective truth is lost amidst the blizzard of commentary, opinion and white noise.
That now goes for Kosovo talk in the UK too.