A Moral Mystery: Serbian Self-Pity

THE PRESIDENT'S LUNCH IN BELGRADE DRAGGED ON FOR hours, into the gloomy Balkan dusk. The bruised voice across the banquet table belonged to an interpreter -- off duty for the moment -- a thin, brittle woman with black circles under her eyes. She smoked cigarettes one after another, down to the knuckle. She said she had not slept in days. Outrage burst from her mouth in agitated spurts of smoke: How could the world be so stupid? How could the media be so evil? How could everyone treat the Serbs -- the Serbs, of all people! -- so unfairly?

The air...

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