I recently wrote to a blogger named Natalie, who seemed unintoxicated by the anti-Serb spirit that permeates the U.S. I asked her what sparked her interest in the Balkans and discovered it was a very recent one, starting with the arrest of Radovan Karadzic. Given that her interest — begun with the arrest of a unanimously-declared “war criminal” — leaned opposite of every other last human being’s “interest,” I suspect the girl to be a certifiable genius. In an email, she wrote me the following:

About Karadzic, I really am not sure how to answer your question. I saw the news story when it first came out and I was skeptical because of the wording a lot of the articles used. They said that Karadzic was accused of genocide because of Srebrenica, yet also said that he only “murdered” men and boys. That certainly didn’t sound like genocide to me — logically, if a person is going to commit genocide, they’re going to try to kill everyone they can. I delved into more research, and finally decided that the whole Srebrenica thing is fake — there was no genocide committed. After much thought, I don’t really believe Karadzic is a war criminal, and I am currently writing an essay explaining my reasoning and views.

I just read a recent book review that Natalie wrote, of the 2002 title Slobodan Milosevic and the Destruction of Yugoslavia by Louis Sell. Here are some key points:

…Sell notes that Milosevic did well in school, but quickly tries to make this into a bad thing: the young Milosevic, he claims, was a “prig” (pg 16). Likewise, he implies that Milosevic was odd because he was introverted. Never mind the fact that many people are introverted and study hard in school, yet are not bad people.

Sell paints the Bosnian Muslim leader Alija Izetbegovic in a positive light simply because he was opposed to Milosevic. He makes little mention of Izetbegovic’s Islamic Declaration…[which] called for the insertion of Islam into the lives of all who lived in the Balkans, whether they were Muslim or not.

Serbia is often vilified unfairly simply for being Serbia. Likewise, the Bosnians and Albanians are glorified because they fought against the Serbs.

Here Natalie zeroed in on, and summarized in two sentences, the circular logic that governs perceptions of the Balkans. It’s the logic of hate.