November 10, 2005
The New Old Europe

By David Warren

Perhaps the biggest absurdity, at the moment, is the continuing, somewhat distracted response of the international media -- especially the French media -- to the revolution that has begun in France. They persist in characterizing the revolutionists as “disadvantaged French youth”, and pretend their uprising has only incidentally to do with Islam.

I see Dominique de Villepin -- the French prime minister who, as foreign minister, was so generous with advice to the U.S. and Israel -- has now prepared the rewards package for the rioters. Lots of new spending on social services and "opportunities" programmes in the 751 “sensitive urban zones” -- which is the official state euphemism for Muslim ghettoes. Also, special favours for the imams who agree to sign limp-wristed fatwas against rioting after curfew. This is a joke, I refuse to report it seriously.

And part of the joke is that, since long before they were born, the Muslim young raised in these ghettoes were in fact prevented from getting the usual sorts of jobs, and thereby insinuating themselves into bourgeois French society. And this because the powerful, leftwing unions of France -- themselves quite willing to riot for results -- have long since achieved 30-hour weeks, high pay, and perpetual employment for three-quarters of the labour force. It is an arrangement, secured in a form of “social contract” with the French state, that shuts out everyone else. Tamper with THAT, and the rest of France will be back on the streets.

The story is roughly similar through the rest of what Donald Rumsfeld acutely called “Old Europe”. Not exactly similar: the postmodern German economic model, for instance, welcomes Muslim immigrants as “Gastarbeiters” -- people to do the kind of work that Germans feel too good for. What has made France the seat of the Islamist Revolution in Europe, is the sheer number of unassimilated people, their explosive birth rate, and levels of unemployment that leave the young free to imbibe contemporary Islamism.

Their ostracism from French society is completed by overt racialism. The contrast between the hypocritical liberalism of French public speech, and the overt racialism of private behaviour, is such as no North American will fully comprehend. We come from the society of the melting pot. The European melting pot froze and hardened -- quite literally, more than a thousand years ago. And that racialism is mutual. What the Muslims feel for their aging French “hosts” -- whom they consider to be perverts, by every Islamic standard -- is expressed by the way they torch their cars.

The joke is completed because, except for the odd media-savvy poseur, the rioters aren’t asking for improved welfare arrangements. They are asking e.g. for Nicolas Sarkozy’s head. They want French policemen dead. They are demanding that the French state recognize that parts of France are “Islamic territory”. They want French laws replaced with Sharia. And their chant, in each of the many hundred locations where the rioting continues every night, is “Allahou Akhbar! Allahou Akhbar!” It is impossible to imagine a more complete disconnect between them and the French society that is now looking for ways to appease them.

And they will not be appeased -- any more than the Palestinians will be appeased, by anything short of the disappearance of Israel. I do not even think de Villepin’s extravagant offer to hurl money will make things worse. It will have no effect whatever. The rioting will stop and start, for the rioters’ own tactical reasons, like the West Bank Intifada. It is not “senseless”.

It is anyway too late to change the entire approach of the French state to the assimilation of Muslim immigrants. Nor, had it been much different, do I think the result would have been different. For the deeper reality is that France has become a moral and demographic vacuum. It has become, in the main, a pagan, childless, hedonistic country, in which there will be a Muslim majority within two generations. (Already, at least 40 per cent of the children born in French hospitals are to Muslim parents.) On present trends, the Islamicization of France, within the lifetime of most of my readers, is inevitable.

Egypt, too, was once a Christian country. And generations after the arrival of the Arabs, there were Egyptians who could not imagine it any other way. But whereas it took about five centuries to Islamicize Coptic Egypt, it will take less than one to Islamicize postmodern France.

It is against this background reality, that the riots happening today across France must be considered. They are a turning point, not only in France but all Europe. For the “moral and demographic vacuum” I mentioned above, is not in France alone. The same cultural deathwish prevails in Spain, Italy, Germany, the Low Countries, Britain, Scandinavia -- and Canada, by the way. It is called “multiculturalism” in this generation, but in another generation will be called something else.

Copyright 2005 Ottawa Citizen

David Warren

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