Things are getting out of hand in the Balkans. A mob of Serbian nationalists attacked and set alight parts of the US embassy in Belgrade on Thursday to protest American and European recognition of Kosovo after the former Serbian province voted for independence (though Kosovo is 90% ethnic Kosovar it is situated in the heartland of Serbian culture and history). Sadly, there may even have been a fatality.
It will be interesting to see how the pundits respond–particularly the ones who, witnessing unrest in some Muslim-majority societies during the Danish cartoon crisis, instinctively chalked it up to Islam’s supposedly inherent political deficiencies.
My guess is that we will thankfully not hear anachronistic, essentializing theories about the hegemonic tendencies of “Slavic culture” or Orthodox Christianity, despite the chillingly nationalistic chants for a Greater Serbia or the deeply felt Orthodox Christian identity that seems to figure so prominently in the conflict.