The Corner

Balkan Pets

A reader retrieves a memorable passage from a classic book about the Balkans:

English persons, therefore, of humanitarian and reformist disposition constantly went out to the Balkan Peninsula to see who was in fact ill-treating whom, and, being by the very nature of their perfectionist faith unable to accept the horrid hypothesis that everybody was ill-treating everybody else, all came back with a pet Balkan people established in their hearts as suffering and innocent, eternally the massacree and never the massacrer.

—-Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, 1943

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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