The most enjoyable side benefit of the debt crisis impacting the EU has to be the opportunity to observe the distress it is causing its cocky and authoritarian supporters. Take Tim Judah, for example, a reporter from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, but who is better known for his Balkan-themed works of dilettante, bubblegum history, which have won him a wholly undeserved reputation for balance and sobriety on the account that his fare was about 2% less toxic than the poison served up by his still more successful colleagues, the likes of Christine Amanpour and Ed Vulliamy. Judah's beloved EU is in trouble, and it shows. Distressed as he must be, he has penned what is probably his most embarrassing piece to date.
In the piece, spurred by the recent awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU, Judah admonishes "those who are against it [the EU]". Like a teacher who who implores children to not engage in food fights, but to think of 'poor starving children in Africa' instead, Judah implores Union Europeans to think why the poor "ex-Yugoslavs" appreciate the EU so much, and to support this institution on their behalf, or for the same reason these simpler "ex-Yugoslav" people do. Yepp, it's condescending as hell and the problems with it hardly stop there. Let us address them in order.
First there is the presumptuous title: "Ex-Yugoslavs Know Why EU Deserves a Nobel Prize". Having made a career of writing myths about Yugoslavs and misnarrating their quarrels Judah now thinks he may speak in their name. As an actual "ex-Yugoslav" I can say I do not see that the EU deserves any peace prizes. I can, however, say I believe the EU and the Nobel Prize deserve each other, both being completely worthless. Most of all I think it is not the place of a British hack to try to speak on my behalf.
Judah begins the body of his text by drawing a parallel between anti-EU dissent and nationalism that "ripped apart the former Yugoslavia":
"The bile that has poured from so- called euro-skeptics since the Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to the European Union is not surprising. To a journalist who has covered the Balkans for more than two decades, it is also reminiscent of the nationalism that ripped apart the former Yugoslavia. Back then, though, no one spoke of Yugo-skeptics."Here Judah implicitly draws a parallel between the European Union and Yugoslavia. Naturally, this means having to gloss over the crucial role in ripping apart Yugoslavia that was played by the EU itself. Judah attempts to draw a moral alignment between the former Yugoslavia and the EU, when the EU's actual alignment when it counted was with the "Yugo-skeptics".
He follows up with a desperate howl of a man who has found himself on a losing side of an argument and wants to shut down discussion before this is made apparent to all. Apparently unable to counter their points Judah laments that the critics of the EU in member states are not finding themselves demonized and dismissed out of hand:
"Today, if Serbs, Croats or Albanians used the language of anti-Europeans further west, they would be labeled extreme nationalists and a threat to stability, without so much as a blink of an eyelid."Consider this is a statement given in a piece attempting to shame the Union Europeans into being more like the allegedly Union-appreciating "ex-Yugoslavs". Judah would actually find it preferable if conditions in Union Europe were such that anti-EU dissent was met with high-pitched accusations of "extreme nationalism" and "threatening stability". He would like it better if the opponents of the EU were not afforded the benign label of 'Euro-skeptics' and the associated access to polite media, but were vilified without a second thought, just as would any "ex-Yugoslav" nationalists not to the West's liking.