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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Serbia, Kosovo and the sacking of the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade
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Friday, February 22, 2008

Serbia, Kosovo and the sacking of the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade

Kosovo in relation to Serbia

what's puzzling to me, having seen numbers of u.s. embassies in other countries, is how such fortresses could possibly be breached... the embassies i've seen are armed camps with concertina wire, omnipresent security forces (both u.s. and private contractors), concrete barriers and bullet and impact-proof glass aplenty, and formidable layers of access points from street to interior offices... as with most news stories these days, something seems askew...

Angry Serbs broke into the U.S. Embassy and set fire to an office Thursday night as rioters rampaged through Belgrade's streets, putting an exclamation point of violence to a day of mass protest against Western support for an independent Kosovo.

At least 150,000 people rallied in Belgrade, waving Serbian flags and signs proclaiming "Stop USA terror," to denounce the bid by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority to create their own state out of what Serbs consider the ancient heartland of their culture.

The United States strongly criticized the violence and the Serb response. White House spokesman Dana Perino said the embassy "was attacked by thugs" and Serb police didn't do enough to stop it. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S. warned Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic that it would hold them personally responsible for further damage.

Protesters burned American flags and the mob that attacked the embassy tore down the U.S. flag there. Crowds also ransacked a McDonald's, looted stores and fought with police in front of other diplomatic compounds in a display of the resentment seething in Serbia over the secession of what has been its southernmost province.

A charred body was found in the U.S. Embassy after the fire was put out, but all staff were accounted for, embassy spokeswoman Rian Harris said. Belgrade's Pink TV said the body appeared to be that of a rioter.

also, like virtually every other news story these days, this one is a textbook example of context-free journalism... nowhere is it mentioned that serbia, as the core of the former yugoslavia, has watched as its economic base, geography, culture, and pride have been whittled down to almost nothing, the most recent examples being kosovo and, in 2006, montenegro... can you imagine the uproar in the u.s. if the northern parts of new hampshire and maine were ceded to quebec or if new mexico and the part of colorado south of the arkansas river were ceded to mexico...? in fact, just such a scenario has already happened in the u.s. with the lakota nation, but, given the official u.s. policy to treat anything to do with native americans as either a joke or to ignore it altogether, few americans are even aware that it took place last december...

(see my previous posts on serbia and kosovo here...)

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