Eric Pone, the Balkan conflicts made a huge impression on me when I was a young man, and probably for some of the same reasons you raise here.
First, I was horrified. The sort of thing that was going on there was like WWII level Nazi shit.
It shocked me, because I couldn’t imagine my safe, civilized, contemporary world being like that. Nazi shit was something for boring history books, not the nightly news.
Well, I’m older, sadder, and wiser now. Nazi shit doesn’t shock me anymore.
Now I expect tribalism and antipathy as a sort of default human state that all of us have to struggle against, to transcend.
I have to admit that it’s never occurred to me that embracing ethnicity could be helpful. I’d have thought it completely the other way around.
But you raise interesting points.
Definitely something to think about.