It’s A Long, Long Way To Missolonghi

In the days of Byron, you had to be a romantic, or indeed one of the first Romantics, to find anything praiseworthy in mountain bandits. Anyone who believed in a settled civilisation, on the other hand, was obliged to root for the Ottomans.

Any residual Hellenophilia has long since succumbed to the Greek debt crisis, or to what German bankers have told us about the Greek debt crisis – which is not necessarily the same thing. In parallel, our original partisanship of the Kosovars has lost ground to an awareness of what the Serbs did try to tell us at the time, that the economic foundation of the oppressed people was heroin trafficking. No doubt there are many innocent Albanians, but then again, you can say the same about the Sicilians, the Calabrians and the Russians too.

If you wonder, therefore, what happened to the dashing Balkan predators of Byron’s day, circumspice.

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