Tom Nairn’s provocative article (Fall 1993, “All Bosnians Now?”) deserves a fuller reply than I can provide in a brief rejoinder. Nevertheless, a few notes might be appropriate.
Nairn is right. “Balkanites” are irritated when the historical divide between Byzantium and Catholicism or Islam and Europe is invoked by “Western” commentators to explain the crimes and furies released by a nationalism mobilized from above in former Yugoslavia.
Some of us even consider ourselves no less “Western” than he. And more “Western” than, let us say, the National Fronters in England, Basque ETAers, IRA and Protestant extremist killers in Ulster, not to mention sundry chauvinist quasi-fascist nationalist parties and movements of Western Europe....
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