Sunday, March 7, 2010

A man to watch

If you haven't heard of Geert Wilders by now, you may also be surprised to learn that the world is round. This man has become the lightning rod for Europe's nascent, but surging "nativism", as one San Diego newspaper columnist put it. Despite a government indictment against him for "inciting hatred", Wilders has just pummeled his opposition in Dutch regional elections, embarrassing enlightened European elites and putting his Freedom Party on track to secure him the country's premiership come July, along with increasing representation in the EU Parliament from the current 5 of 25 Dutch seats.

Wilders is the man behind Fitna, a short film (14-17 minutes, depending on the version) which intends to highlight the threat of radical Islam to European civilization. It may surprise you to learn that, in spite of being urged repeatedly by close friends, and much like with MEMRI's important coverage, I simply don't have the stomach to watch it. I don't need help understanding the danger posed by violent Islamists, committed as I am to the security of a nation relentlessly besieged since before its inception by the same cast of characters that now wish to dominate Europe. Nor, do I think, will videotape of another sad Arab child exhorting martyrdom, or explaining that my people are descendant from pigs, affect my motivations or passions on the issue. I will not think less of you for taking a peek.

To quell the matter, no, I don't believe the answer is to kill as many Muslims as possible. Some people do, deep down, and this concerns me. No, I don't think Islam is a religion of hate. Yes, I think the "nativist" element rightly brings up concerns the European establishment is loathe to take on, seeing as doing so dredges up delicate questions about the uncertain future of Western Civilization, should it do nothing.

Wilders appears to be a new European politician, inclined to deal with the real and growing challenge to European cultures and values, demographics, national survival - the kind of unpleasantness those racist, apartheid-building Jews down in Israel have been having to deal with. Oh yes, Geert Wilders is a wild supporter of Israel, seeing it as Europe's "first line of defense". In this, he is a peculiar figure on the European "far right" - his ideological contemporaries around the continent tend to be quite unfavorable to the Jews, perhaps even more so than to the Muslims. Still, as the minaret bans in Switzerland and now Germany show, the "nativist" movement is growing, and Wilders is its most spectacular figure.

There are strong xenophobic strains in Europe we should not ignore. When they combine with provincial Christendom, if we can call it that, and righteous indignation, you have the makings of an anti-Islamist revolt that will break a few eggs on its way to an omelet. History tells us that Europe has met Islam head on before, and after centuries of dogma, rage and blood reversed the tide of Muslim conquest. No people will sit idle as it is colonized into cultural extinction - isn't this what proponents of the Palestinians tell us? The continent must grapple with the difficult questions of cultural survival now, before the options degenerate to spasms of violence Europe knows too well.


  1. Xenophobia ... in my book that is a very mixed thing

    in "my" Germany

    it enhances my status if
    - I have foreign friends
    - I have travelled to foreign countries
    - I have things in my home which can only be bought abroad
    - I am likely to be regarded with awe if I blabber pundit-like about how foreign countries do everything better than we do (large parts of our media survive on that)

    I am regarded with suspicion
    - if I take pleasure in a foreign language i.e. don't regard it as a necessary plight to make a living
    - if I have lived AND worked abroad (instead of just travelled) and liked it accepting that their imperfections lie in other areas than ours (... but don't they this and that???) (I don't know how I would see it would I have spent time in Burka-areas - I guess that would make me balk)
    - if I refuse to chime in on how awful foreigners are instead insist on sticking to bashing this or that public person or this or that institution or this or that joy-killing behaviour in public (the last one may of course be dished out by native pious also albeit a bit less ubiquitous)
    - if I admire/read somebody from a country whose inhabitants are not supposed to be admired - that one depends on whom you are with
    US is a no-no with the "we have the high-culture" ones
    southern countries are a no-no with the "but they are dirty" ones (not true for where I was)
    Israel specifically Moshe Feldenkrais got me sniggers from academics and disinterest from "folks"
    I bet that France will let you off best even the "dirty"-nuts find good things to say about them

  2. Victor I hope you'll forgive me if do it without HTML

    I liked this Video ...

  3. Points taken, Silke. I watched Submission in the past, and it reflects, tragically, the experiences of a Muslim female friend. I hope the movie has started a conversation within the Muslim community, but I doubt it.

    As for xenophobia, I think all but the most nomadic of us have a breaking point, when the desire to protect our own from something we don't understand and feel threatened by - or from something we understand quite well and feel threatened by - overwhelms reason. One could say that xenophobia is the evil flip-side twin of nationalism, which I consider a positive concept - the capacity and desire to belong is a natural human condition.

    It's a matter of layers, of peeling back until that cultural comfort zone, built up by centuries of cultural and demographic dominance, is threatened. How deep does one's tolerance truly go? We'd like to think it penetrates to the core.

  4. "How deep does one's tolerance truly go? We'd like to think it penetrates to the core."
    By now I see tolerance as a thing that has to be reciprocated. When I am in a foreign country I have to some extent to abide by their rules i.e. being polite - once I realised that the mother of my Greek friend found sleeveless dresses beyond the pale (only dresses, bikinis are OK) I never again went to her house without sleeves or with cleavage showing and she wouldn't scowl if she saw me scantily dressed somewhere outside.
    If I were in an airport no matter where and somebody would pray without scowling at me at the same time I wouldn't be interested (well I would feign not to be interested if it was as complicated as you made it sound) but if he would do it in this area where real locals would even frown on somebody with a cross on a neckless I would expect him to adjust his life style a bit so his religious needs meet the local privacy rules half-way.
    - btw in our public life we are acting as confused as can be - Jews seem to have never complained about crosses in court rooms (atheists did, I've never read that muslims did) now they take down the crosses. At the same time foot washing equipment is installed.
    (I guess you know that Submission was the reason van Gogh was murdered and Hirsi Ali is now in the US


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