It's time the democratic nations stopped blaming themselves.
By SARAH HONIGPublished: NOVEMBER 24, 2005 12:41Advertisement
Just about a year before the outbreak of France's own homegrown intifada, prominent Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh was dragged off his bike on an Amsterdam street. He was shot six times and repeatedly stabbed. His head was nearly severed and a five-page letter scoring "the enemies of Islam" was impaled to his chest. His slayer, Mohammed Bouyeri, insisted that Van Gogh's movie-short about the oppression of women under Islam was horrific heresy that mandated the death sentence.
The elimination of the infidel was a milestone event for Europe - much more so than Madrid's train blasts, London's 7/7 bombings or the Parisian rampages. Relentless European political correctness managed to concoct pretexts for all the aforementioned, except Van Gogh's gruesome execution.
Support for America's war in Iraq accounted for the attacks on rush-hour commuters. Unrest in France - the bulwark of European anti-Americanism - was explained away by Muslim disaffection, alienation and dissatisfaction with Gallic hospitality. Immigrant hostility, analysts concurred with rare near-unanimity, was the no-other-option outburst of discrimination's victims.
But can the Muslim multitudes, thronging at Europe's entryways, really presume to demand their cut of what another culture produced, and accommodation by that culture to the point of subjugating its own norms to those imposed by newcomers?
Europe's untold Muslim millions not only perceive that as reasonable but as their inherent right. Considering their own societies' exclusionism, expansionism, volatility, violence and xenophobia, that's a curious - almost unnatural - expectation. Were the shoe on the other foot, Muslims would hardly exude the spirit of pluralistic liberalism.
Without counting illegals, Muslims already comprise 12% of France's population. By 2020 it's projected they'll constitute the majority in Holland's three largest cities.
What Europe's liberals know but won't own up to is that while their burgeoning Muslim communities demand fairness, they don't appreciate decency nor respect their hosts' multiculturalism and moderation. They exploit Western freedoms but don't espouse them. They don't wish to integrate but to transform Europe in their image.
Europeans find this as difficult to digest as Americans to admit that prospects of democratizing Iraq are negligible. Reality flies hard in the face of humanistic universalist do-gooder gloss.
THE FACT is that foreign accents, religious dissimilarity, racial divergence, discrimination and even outright blatant persecution needn't necessarily or inevitably generate thuggery and aggression - be they spontaneous or orchestrated.
Europe once had another notable minority and none was ever more ill-treated. Yet Europe's Jews never assaulted their tormentors. They also never possessed the luxury of choice which Muslims abuse. Jews didn't have a state in which they could have remained or to which they could return if spurned by Europe.
Jews, moreover, resided in Europe before many of the barbaric tribes that evolved into today's European nations. Jews were falsely branded outsiders, despite their 2,000 years on Europe's soil and unparalleled contribution to the flowering of its civilization in every conceivable fashion.
Europe would be unrecognizable without Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Karl Marx - to say nothing of numerous artists, musicians, authors, scholars, scientists, physicians, industrialists, merchants, craftsmen and laborers through the ages.
Jews may have been poor and frustrated but they never rioted. Menacing marchers from cosmopolitan France to outlying Poland may have screamed "Death to the Jews" or demanded their expulsion to Palestine, but threatened Jews didn't burn, beat up or bomb to vent steam.
Instead of embracing its Jews, Europe expediently turned them into its convenient scapegoats until it murdered or acquiesced in the murder of six million of them. European soil is soaked with Jewish blood, and there isn't a single European country that didn't profit from the feeding frenzy, pillage and plunder.
All this dawned on Spanish journalist Sebastian Villar Rodriguez as he walked down a Barcelona street one ordinary day.
"Suddenly," he writes, "I discovered a terrible truth. Europe died at Auschwitz. We assassinated six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned culture, thought, creativity, talentâ€¦ Under the guise of tolerance and because we wanted to prove that we recovered from the racist scourge, we flung open our gates to 20 million Muslims who brought us ignorance, religious extremism and intolerance, crime and impoverishmentâ€¦ They turned our beautiful cities into the Third World, wallowing in filth and lawlessness. Closeted in free public housing provided by our taxpayers, they plot the death and destruction of their naive hostsâ€¦ We have exchanged the Jewish sanctification of life for a fanatic obsession with death. Our death and that of our children. What a dreadful mistake we made!"
We in beleaguered Israel could sit back and gloat were Rodriguez's contrition more prevalent than the perverse presumption of the progeny of European murderers, sadists, robbers, collaborators and bureaucrats to audaciously admonish the descendants of survivors, pompously preach, pillory and portray Jewish self-defense as a Nazi-like manifestation. The offspring of those who didn't see, those who didn't want to know and those who saw and knew but did nothing, thereby weaken the Jewish state and embolden its implacable Muslim foes.
Arrogant anti-Zionism might render European history ostensibly less monstrous and might additionally appease Europe's growing Muslim component. It enables Europeans to downplay jihadist dangers at their door and delude themselves that socioeconomic palliatives are the prescribed cure-alls.
That's what makes the Amsterdam slaughter so pivotal. Van Gogh's butcher seemed an assimilationist success story - hardly marginalized, downtrodden and desperate. He was well-educated and spoke excellent Dutch. He wasn't provoked by lack of opportunity, but incited by a vicious ideology.