Saturday, February 23, 2008

In chaos there is profit

Belgrade Looters Become You Tube Hit
Feb 23 12:52 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) - Can looting be patriotic? Two women who took part in the Belgrade riots to protest Kosovo's independence seem to think the two go hand in hand. A video clip now on the Internet—entitled "Kosovo for Sneakers"—shows two girls going from shop to shop with armfuls of looted items.

Goods drip from their overburdened arms. They drop a sweater, but pick up a box of chocolates—and on and on.

The mobile phone footage posted Friday on the videosharing Web site You Tube became an instant hit, triggering dozens of comments on local blogs and forums. The girls, surprised at sudden fame, contacted a local television to tell their side of the story.

"We came to Belgrade to defend Kosovo," one of the girls, her face blurred to protect identity and identified only as Maja, told B92 television. "We started looting when they all did."

The rioting in Belgrade broke out at the end of the gathering, which drew about 150,000 people. Groups of hooligans first targeted U.S. and other Western embassies, in an outburst of nationalist anger of the countries' recognition of Kosovo's self-proclaimed statehood.

Rioters set the U.S. Embassy on fire and smashed several other Western missions before police chased them away. But they moved on, destroying and looting shops in the capital city's shopping area.

The video shows the two going from shop to shop.

"We looted because we are poor, not because we are rich," Maja said.

Serbia's state prosecutor pledged Saturday to hunt down the hooligans and looters. The You Tube stars said, "we will bear the consequences if we have to."

"It was too much to issue a warrant for our arrest—as if we killed someone," Jovana told B92. "This state is in chaos."

That last line reminds me of the joke about the boy who murders his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court since he is an orphan. Why is the state in chaos? Because you rioted, you clueless twits!!


Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Lubos Motl has a long, deeply informed, emotional defense of the Serbs.

Problem is, they're Serbs.

February 23, 2008 10:55 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Smile, when you say that.

February 23, 2008 1:29 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

Are you Serbian, erp?

February 23, 2008 2:13 PM  
Blogger erp said...

Albanian, from Albania, Orthodox parentage.

February 23, 2008 2:43 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Per capita, it's hard to think of any other people who have caused greater misery to others with less profit to themselves than the Serbs, over the last century or so, anyway.

February 23, 2008 3:31 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

The Palestinians?

February 23, 2008 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Serbia's neighbours?

February 24, 2008 4:24 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Nope and nope.

Recall the Serbian record.

First, they ran a campaign against Austria on the conception that Russia would rescue them if they overstepped themselves.

Result: Serbia crushed, Russia goes communist.

In the interwar years, they keep things on a slow boil but then, in 1941, managed the neat trick of separating themselves from the Nazis and making that a bad thing, bringing on an otherwise undesired (even by the Germans) conquest of Greece.

Result: Serbia crushed again, turns communist.

Postwar years, they provided a model for an independent, non-Kremlin communism, just the kind of model the left in Italy and France did not need.

And then, of course, they're mass murderers. The Croats may be even more unpleasant, but the Croats never had a foreign policy devoted to increasing the level of international wars.

It's an impressive record of mischief for people who, until after 1945, were living virtually in the Bronze Age.

February 24, 2008 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

separating themselves from the Nazis and making that a bad thing,

Don't you just hate folks who fought the Nazis for all the wrong resons?

February 24, 2008 4:32 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I feel sure the Albanians, Greeks and British were irritated as all get out. (The Croats, of course, were delighted, since it gave them an opportunity to murder Jews.)

Funny thing, though. If the Serbs had not antagonized Hitler, and he had not used up men, time and materiel in the Balkans, he might have captured Moscow.

His defeat in Russia was a very close run thing.

It would be ironic, in all kinds of ways, if we had the Serbs to thank for the outcome of the war in Europe.

February 25, 2008 9:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would we do without you, Harry? The Serbs both caused and won the war against the Nazis? Sounds like Homer Simpson on alcohol.

February 28, 2008 4:14 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I don't think I said the Serbs caused the war with the Nazis. The Germans did that.

Perhaps you are confusing World War I with World War II.

February 28, 2008 6:04 PM  

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