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Understanding the Serbs

Peter Brooke

David Ralph’s review of Ed Vulliamy’s The War is Dead, Long Live the War is, like Vulliamy’s reporting of the Yugoslav wars, strong on moral indignation, but weak on political understanding. As a result we are left with nothing other than the idea that the Serbs are a peculiarly and arbitrarily vicious people. It is an inherently racist analysis.

I don’t have the space in the course of a letter to try to shift the mountain of incomprehension which was raised by British journalists in the 1990s but if anyone is interested I have an article – “Notes on the role of Serbia in the Yugoslav conflict”  in the “Politics and Theology” section of my website at

One of my conclusions is that the refusal of the “international community” to contemplate repartition is the source of a great deal of the sufferings of Yugoslavia over the whole period of the war. The break up of Yugoslavia required, as a natural consequence, the redefinition of its internal boundaries.

David Ralph’s essay, “Evading War Guilt”, is at