Western Christians have a fairly positivernattitude toward Orthodoxy. (Protestantsrngenerally regard Orthodoxy as superiorrnto Roman Catholicism and vice versa.rnWe’re everybody’s second-favorite religion.)rnA few vears ago, I had the opportunityrnto discuss this matter, in the context ofrnthe current Balkan war, with His Grace,rnBishop Atanasije (Jevtic) of Herzegovina,rnone of the infamous, supposedly “nationalist”rnbishops close to the BosnianrnSerb leadership. He had come to Washingtonrnto plead his people’s case to Westernrnpoliticians and media, to point outrnthat while Serbs were sinners, not angels,rnthey were certainly not the demons ourrnmedia made them out to be. In particular,rnhe hoped to present documentary evidencernof recent Croatian atrocitiesrnagainst the Orthodox in his diocese,rnmainly near the town of Medjugorje, thernsite both of Wodd War II massacres andrnof an ongoing “Marian apparition” particularlyrnpopular among “charismatic”rnRoman Catholics. Naturally, no one wasrninterested. Only atrocities committed—rnor said to have been committed—byrnSerbs have news value. (His Crace toldrnme about little children running fromrnhim in terror in a Swiss airport when theyrnheard he was a Serb.)rnAs we discussed the West’s hostility tornhis plight, I advanced the following theory,rnwhich His Crace believed to havernsome merit: Yes, Pravoslavophobia doesrnexist, but it is a prejudice in the purestrnsense of the word—a prejudgment basedrnon ignorance, a bias resting on regionalrnparochialism. This prejudice reflects thernfact that we are different from Westerners,rnbut they themselves are only vaguelyrnaware of the nature of the difference. Itrnis something they feel rather than think.rnThis requires some explanation. Onernof the shibboleths of contemporaryrnWestern thought is multiculturalism: anrnexaggerated, if condescending, affirmationrnof the worth of other races and nations,rnreligions and cultures. In addressingrna non-Christian, non-Europeanrncivilization, a high-minded Westernerrnfeels obligated to emphasize that theirrnfolkways are not only just as good as hisrnbut maybe even better (“They have sornmuch to teach us!”). Indeed, in “celebratingrntheir diversity,” he may feel thernneed to denigrate his own social traditions,rnwhich, after all, are largely thernhandiwork of white. Christian, heterosexualrnmales. However, the samernenlightened Westerner docs not experiencernthe same pressures when confrontingrnthe Orthodox East as he wouldrnwhen speaking to or about, say, Mohawks,rnZulus, Chinese, or Afghans. WernOrthodox are different enough for himrnto feel that we are alien but not differentrnenough for him to feel obligated tornrespect us.rnIn sum, he perceives us as warped, distortedrnversions of himself. When hernlooks at us, he sees a mangled version ofrnhis own face, which produces a vague,rninarticulate sense of unease, if not revulsion.rnAnd since he can’t be in thernwrong—the problem must be us.rnHere is perhaps the greatest irony ofrnthe EastAVest divide within Christendom.rnAfter all, the West was once Orthodoxrn—while we were never RomanrnCatholic or Protestant. The ancientrnChristian kingdoms of England, France,rnSpain, etc., began their emergence fromrnbarbarism as sub-Byzantine states andrncultures, displaying, of course, their ownrndistinctive features, much as Creece,rnBulgaria, Romania, etc., differ from eachrnother. In time, history was kinder to thernWest, which achieved its own distinctiverncultural synthesis in the High MiddlernAges, while the Orthodox East was crippledrnfirst by Ottoman/Mongol conquestsrn(often aided by the depredations of ourrnWestern brethren) and then by a host ofrnimported Western psychoses, like socialism.rnEven so, it is still clear, as a historicalrnmatter, that in the area of culture nornless than religion, the West is derivativernof the East, not the other way around.rnIn the closing decade of this millennium,rnsensitizing the West to its anti-Orthodoxrnprejudice should not be seen asrnjust one more example of whining andrnspecial pleading by yet one more “aggrieved”rngroup. In the wake of two devastatingrnintra-Christian civil wars (WoddrnWar I and II), the once globally dominantrnEuropean civilization—what somernstill quaintly refer to as Christendom—rnhnds itself culturally, morally, religiously,rnand, perhaps worst of all, demographicallyrnmoribund. At the same time, the non-rnEuropean wodd, spearheaded by a reinvigoratedrnand militant Islam no longerrncowed by Western technical and militaryrnsuperiority, is on the offensive. As it happens,rnalong virtually the entire front betweenrnChristendom and Islam (from thernBalkans through the Caucasus and allrnthrough central Asia to the Chinese frontier)rnthe frontline Christian states, all ofrnthem Orthodox, are not only actively engagedrnagainst the Muslim advance but.rnin most cases, must contend with thernWest’s tacit or explicit support for theirrnfoes. If for no other reason than self-interest,rnthe West should seriously thinkrnout long-term consequences of a possiblerncollapse of the Orthodox East. Thernthroat you help slit today may turn out tornbe your own.rnJames George ]atras writes fromrnArlington, Virginia. A version of thisrnarticle ran in the St. Sophia Quarterly.rnREGIONALISMrnThat DemonrnWeedrnby Joyce L. BennettrnWhen I hear all the talk about tobacco,rnI think of my UnclernRollins, a green-visored straw hat on hisrnsalt-and-pepper head and a two-dayrnstubble on his seasoned farmer face. Hernis standing in a field or by an unpaintedrnbarn as he crumbles a yellow-brown leafrnand sticks a wad of ‘bacca in his mouth tornchew. August mornings and fields of thernUniversity of Maryland’s number 64rnplants topping out with white blossomsrnalso come to mind when I reminiscernabout the raising of the infamous crop.rnDuring childhood summers blessed byrnjust the right amount of rainfall, the tobaccornwould be tall and heavy withrnexquisitely shaped leaves. Midlife reveriernsometimes takes me back to the dark,rncool interior of my father’s own barn, arnplace yvhere children would build housesrnout of tobacco sticks and where copperheadsrnwere inclined to hide in the fall.rnAutumn on a tobacco farm is gentlernand slow and belies the reality of brutalrnJuly and August labor and men workingrnand praying for the tiniest puff of breezernblown across the peninsula from saltwaterrnrivers. I ache when I recall therndusty September smell of the harvestedrnplants curing and with such a remembrancerncan briefly visit a life antitheticalrnto what passes for living in these times. Irnam but one more old fogey, I suppose,rnlooking to the past and dreading the future,rnbut I consider myself fortunate tornbe able to mourn the passing of my tide-rnFEBRUARY 1997/45rnrnrn