by David C. Grabbe
November 29, 2005
In late October and early November, the suburbs of Paris literally burned with riots. The trigger was the accidental electrocution of two boys of North African descent fleeing from police. But what ensued from the Muslim sons of African and Arab immigrants—who have not integrated into French society—were violent confrontations with the police, the burning of thousands of vehicles; the disruption of trains; the incineration of churches, schools, and supermarkets; the shooting of emergency personnel; and the deployment of nearly 12,000 security officers. While the fatality count was low, the images of riot police and the rioting progeny of immigrants against a backdrop of France in flames painfully illuminate how divided the French nation really is.
The riots in the Paris suburbs, though, were not isolated. Not only did the arson and clashing with police spread to more than 300 towns throughout France, minor incidents of vehicle torching also occurred in Belgium and Germany. Even as the "intefadeh of the poor" (as the Egyptian daily Al-Massaie mistakenly named the riots) dies down, this uprising of non-integrated French citizens must be seen as another milestone in the clash between Muslim and secular/Judeo-Christian cultures. It follows on the heels of train bombings in Spain, subway bombings in Britain, and the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.
It is easy for the international media to blame the Paris riots on unemployment and job discrimination, Spain's train bombings on its involvement in the invasion of Iraq, and Britain's subway bombings on its hosting of the G8 summit or its alignment with the United States. Some go so far as to blame Theo van Gogh for his own murder—because he, a citizen of arguably the most tolerant country on earth, did not demonstrate enough cultural sensitivity. While the politicians and globalists are happy to blind themselves to the obvious, the average shopkeeper, farmer, and commuter are becoming increasingly convinced that some cultures simply do not mix.
The "strength through diversity" lie is becoming ever more transparent—at least to the people who have to deal with its practical ramifications. "One of the greatest dishonesties of European policy and intellectual discourse," observes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, "has been that multicultural issues can only be discussed in one direction—the 'accepting society.' Whoever calls on the immigrants themselves to integrate better is seen as a nationalist monster who lacks 'openness.'"
Culture is the way of living, thinking, speaking, and behaving, including ethics, morals, standards, and obligations, built up by a human group and transmitted to succeeding generations. The recent conflagrations in Europe are between a culture roughly based on the Koran and one roughly based on the Bible. These foundational writings, while not necessarily influencing its minute details, tend to set the overall direction, tenor, and parameters of a culture. They are the distant source of what a person believes about an afterlife, and what is acceptable behavior during the present one. Whether or not an individual studies them religiously, these writings influence the culture, and the culture influences the individual. Different sources—different foundations—will always result in diverse applications in living, thinking, speaking, and behaving. Regardless of whether the cultural clash is violent, the friction and tension are always present. So, even though the fires may be presently extinguished, the embers beneath still smolder, awaiting the next pneuma—wind or spirit—to reignite.
What will be the result? Enhanced security, curfews, appeals for calm, employment quotas, upgraded housing, greater sensitivity, more dialogue—these shortsighted measures do nothing to change the underlying cultures. The citizenry recognizes this.
This continued clashing could devolve along several lines—and they are not mutually exclusive. If events continue long enough without a major flare-up, the immigrant culture will simply overwhelm the native culture by virtue of its higher birthrate. However, it seems likely that, before that happens, the cultural friction will cause an eruption that cannot be quenched by mere multicultural mantras.
A second possibility is that those who recognize the coming battle will scatter themselves wherever they feel they will be sheltered from the violence. Columnist Mark Steyn, in "Early Skirmish in the Eurabian Civil War" (The Telegraph, November 8, 2005), puts it this way:
Some of us believe this is an early skirmish in the Eurabian civil war. If the insurgents emerge emboldened, what next? In five years' time, there will be even more of them, and even less resolve on the part of the French state. That, in turn, is likely to accelerate the demographic decline. Europe could face a continent-wide version of the "white flight" phenomenon seen in crime-ridden American cities during the 1970s, as Danes and Dutch scram to America, Australia or anywhere else that will have them.
A third option is popular resistance by the native culture. The International Herald Tribune opened its November 3, 2005, editorial by observing: "The suburbs of Paris, whether the faubourgs of the French Revolution or the banlieues [suburbs] of today, have a long history of violent uprisings by enraged citizens." Yet, historically, those "enraged citizens" have been culturally French, not just nationally French as are the recent rioters. Thus far, the secular culture in Europe—which, liked or not, still retains a remnant of the Judeo-Christian culture—has bowed to multiculturalism and retreated. The various governments, while occasionally making "strong" statements about immigration and integration, are not yet willing to upset the apple cart.
Even so, an environment is slowly being created that is ideal for a strong, nationalist, militaristic leader to rise to power under the guise of delivering what people are beginning to clamor for: a Europe for the Europeans, a la Daniel 11:40-42. What such a leader would actually deliver is another matter altogether.