(Excerpt) On the night of Thursday, February 21, 2008, a rabble attacked the U.S., German, British, and Croatian embassies in Belgrade, Serbia. Less than a mile away over 200,000 people, peacefully protesting against Kosovo’s declaration of independence, were praying in and around St. Sava Cathedral, completely oblivious to the violence being committed in their name. That protest was ignored; the riots commanded the world’s attention.
The embassy attacks were rightly greeted with condemnation, especially in Serbia itself. The following morning the air of Belgrade was blue with curses of ordinary Serbs damning those who had attacked the embassies and brought shame to Serbia.
The people of Belgrade were particularly hurt by the events of that night. Belgrade’s growing reputation as “Europe’s best-kept secret” was in tatters. The jewel of Eastern Europe, the London of the Balkans, a Mecca for clubbers and in-the-know travelers, was now just another Balkan trouble spot.
Serb-hating pundits were now triumphantly touting the riots as evidence that Serbs were unfit to govern Kosovo and that nothing had changed since the time of Milosevic. Serbs, it was argued, are violent, murderous thugs and the riots prove it.
That violent night was a grim micro-history of post-Cold War Yugoslavia. Yet again the wrongful acts of an unrepresentative minority of Serbs had commanded the attention of the entire world and generated undeserving condemnation of the people of Serbia. Serbophobia — a virulent, truth-resistant strain of racist chauvinism and bigotry that riddles the American and European body politic — was given a powerful boost that night.... Pajamas Media