Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Added to the blogroll: Cafe Turco

Thanks to ModernityBlog, I've just discovered Sarah Franco's Cafe Turco blog, which I shall be adding to my blogroll. Sarah's home town is Lisbon (though she bravely blogs in English) and there's plenty on her site about the city and its culture to keep lusophiles like me happy. However, Sarah's principal topic is Serbia, which she's researching for her Master's thesis. In a recent post she explained why she chose the Balkans, and along the way had some interesting things to say about the dominance of a certain kind of anti-imperialist group-think in academia, as well as in journals like Le Monde Diplomatique, to which I used to subscribe but whose kneejerk anti-westernism and americophobia I too find increasingly hard to stomach:

It was in 1998-1999, and when the war in Kosovo started, my professor of International Relations decided to ask the students what was their opinion about the war. My teenage colleagues seemed to agree that Clinton was using Serbia to clean up his image because of the Monica Lewinsky affair. Then I said that, if the Serbs were oppressing the Albanians the way they were, then I was in favour of the war. My professor, who had made no comments on the Lewinsky affair thesis, then said that this thing of international relations was not about good feelings but about interests. My colleagues all laughed. That was when I started developing my aversion for theorists that handpick their cases so that it fits what they think reality is. That was also when I stopped reading Le Monde Diplomatique and developing my disgust for anti-imperialism rhetorics. This small episode in which both my colleagues and my professors proudly displayed both their ignorance and their lack of commitment to ethical values made me realize that when we defend positions that are based in ethical standards we must be very well prepared to resist the pressure of the horde of stupids who think they know best because they read Chomsky and Project Censored. That too was a challenge worth taking.

1 comment:

sarah franco said...

thanks for the link... just let me add that two years latter a colleague of mine wrote an assignment on the rambouillet agreement and then got an A by stating that the serbs were the real victims (all copied qnd pasted from the internet), she got an A+ in another discipline by denying any legitimacy to the specials tribunals for ruanda and jugoslavia and now she has a great job because she is a member of the socialist party currently in governemnt. obviously for her and her "comrades" the big principles only apply when there is "anti-imperialism" involved.

so not only I am an idiot; I am a suicidal idiot.

but I do appreciate when someone reads my blog and finds something worth commenting.