By Andrew L. Urban.
Douglas Murray’s new book, The Strange Death of Europe: immigration, identity, Islam (Bloomsbury Continuum, 2017) is ‘a highly personal account of a continent and culture caught in the act of suicide’. It’s not only Europe ….
The narrative of Murray’s book is that the interior organs of Europe, its varied but complimentary traditions and cultures, have been gradually eaten away, nay, given away, even while the body is still alive. Murray fleshes out this view by personal observations and annotated references to political, media and social sources throughout the continent over the recent past.
Here in a few short extracts, we can readily see the urgent relevance of this book to Australia.
“Europe remains the world leader in not only allowing people to stay but in assisting them to fight the state even when they are there illegally. By 2016 Britain had still not even managed to deport a man wanted in India for two bombings in 1993. The Bolton greengrocer Tiger Hanif arrived in Britain illegally in 1996 and had managed to receive more than £200,000 in legal aid from British taxpayers to avoid repatriation. And nor does the continent’s madness stop there. When Belgian investigators looked at the perpetrators of the numerous terrorist plots carried out by Belgian nationals, they discovered that a great many of them had plotted their attacks whilst being supported by the state. Indeed, Salah Abdeslam, the lead surviving suspect of the November 2015 Paris attacks, had collected unemployment benefit to the tune of 19,000 Euros in the period preceding the attacks. He had collected his last benefits only weeks before, making European societies among the first in history to pay people to attack them.”
Who else does that? Hands up Australia.
“The more Islam there is in a society the more dislike and distrust there is in that society towards Islam. But the response of the political classes has had something else in common, which has been their insistence that in order to deal with this problem they must deal with this expression of public opinion. Their priority has been not to clamp down on the thing to which the public are objecting but, rather, to the objecting public. If anybody wanted a textbook case on how politics goes wrong, here is one.”
There is one diagnosis of the problem of group denial that he identifies with which I cannot agree:
“The lack of questions and discussion about the change (in society) that is happening in Europe may in large part come down to this: it is better not to ask the questions because the answers to them are bad. Certainly that would help explain the otherwise extraordinary levels of opprobrium heaped on dissenting voices in the era of mass immigration. In particular it explains the adamant belief that if the people shouting fire are silenced or stopped then the problem they are identifying will go away.”
No, I think it is more profound than that. It’s not because the answers are bad that the questions aren’t asked: it’s because those that call ‘racist’ against the questioners don’t recognize the need for questions, being certain in their naïve compassion and their own moral rightness. This is the dangerously brittle terrain of witch hunting and the Inquisition – and ironically enough, Islam.
And how familiar is this? “It proved politically useful to describe as fascist people who were not fascists, just as it proved politically useful to describe as racist people who were not racist. In both cases the terms were allowed to be applied as widely as possible. In both cases a huge political and social price was paid by anybody accused of these evils. And yet unjustly accusing people of these evils carried no social or political price whatsoever. It was a cost-free exercise, which could bring only political and personal advantages.”
As if to prove Murray’s point, by completely missing it, The Guardian (of the left) published its sneering review of the book under the headline of ‘gentrified xenophobia’. “Naked racism may still be unacceptable in polite society. But post-Brexit vote there’s a clear market emerging for a slightly posher, better-read, more respectable way of saying that you’d rather not live next door to Romanians or think Muslims are coming to rape your womenfolk,” sniffed Gaby Hinsliff, dismissing in blind ignorance all of Murray’s eye witnessed and researched observations with the double whammy of a misaligned racist smear and a snobby sneer.
Page after page, Murray gives specific examples (with references) of how deaf and blind have been the mainstream media and politicians in the Western half of Europe on matters of Muslim immigration. It is written with clear eyed journalistic flair and while one can sense the constant shaking of the head in disbelief, it is not polemic.
“Research into the political sympathies of Swedish journalists revealed that in 2011 almost half (41 per cent) were sympathetic to the Green Party … the Left Party (15 per cent), the Social Democratic Party (14 per cent) and the liberal conservative Moderate Party (14 per cent). Only around 1 per cent of journalists expressed sympathy for the Sweden Democrats . . . Yet in 2016 this party … was the highest-ranking party in the Swedish polls.”
Murray reports from his travels in Sweden that “In Malmö one night the only concert in town is a fusion concert that has something to do with falafel, which is only right in its way. The culture should reflect the society and the society has changed.”
Not every country is happy with changing this way. In examining how differently the East European countries (the Visegrad Group of Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic) responded to the mass (mostly Muslim) migration of 2015, Murray quotes the right wing Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, and the left wing Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico. Both resisted refugee quotas (under threat of huge fines) that the EU tried to impose on member countries. Fico put it most directly: “Islam has no place in Slovakia. Migrants change the character of our country. We do not want the character of this country to change.”