A common feature of any report about Kosovo is the final paragraph, which summarizes the conflict to explain how it came to be that the UN is administering the province. Especially when the report tells of Albanian violence in the region, the writer is sure to keep the reader on program by “reminding” him or her that whatever the Albanians are doing, the Serbs had it coming because the whole reason the internationals are there and the Albanians are killing Serbs is that NATO bombing stopped a “genocide” that was taking place against the Albanians by the Serbs.

From 1999 to 2003, news reports would end with mention of the “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” that the Serbs were doing and which NATO therefore had to “stop” and so the UN is now there. But sometime in late 2003/early 2004, the closing paragraph started to mutate, and the word “genocide” no longer made an appearance, but just ethnic cleansing. By 2005, according to this standard final paragraph, it was no longer definite “ethnic cleansing” that NATO was stopping, but an ethnic cleansing that Serbs were “accused of.” By early 2006, “crackdown” became the favored term instead of ethnic cleansing. And now, drumroll, here is the current incarnation of that requisite final paragraph (from a BBC report about the delay of Kosovo final status):

Kosovo has been administered by the UN since 1999, when it took over control of the territory following a Nato bombing campaign targeting Serb forces. Nato intervened to halt a violent crackdown by Serbia against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, some of whom had taken up arms.

Ah, so eight years later we’re finally being informed that some Albanians had taken up arms in Kosovo and that maybe — just maybe — there was a violent uprising that the Serbs were responding to, rather than the wholesale and indiscriminate “genocide” or “ethnic cleansing” of Albanian civilians. Just maybe.