Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Charles De Gaulle on Muslims in France

According to Harold Macmillan's diary, Winston Churchill told his cabinet in January 1955 that
Keep England White 
would be a good slogan in the forthcoming general election. I often wondered what Charles De Gaulle's views on immigration were, knowing that he began his memoirs with the words I find very stirring
All my life I have had a certain idea of France.
I have just come across the answer, which is here.
It is very good that there are yellow French, black French, brown French. They show that France is open to all races and has a universal vocation. But [it is good] on condition that they remain a small minority. Otherwise, France would no longer be France. We are still primarily a European people of the white race, Greek and Latin culture, and the Christian religion.

Don't tell me stories! Muslims, have you gone to see them? Have you watched them with their turbans and jellabiyas? You can see that they are not French! Those who advocate integration have the brain of a hummingbird. Try to mix oil and vinegar. Shake the bottle. After a second, they will separate again. Arabs are Arabs, the French are French. Do you think the French body politic can absorb ten million Muslims, who tomorrow will be twenty million, after tomorrow forty? If we integrated, if all the Arabs and Berbers of Algeria were considered French, would you prevent them to settle in France, where the standard of living is so much higher? My village would no longer be called Colombey-The-Two-Churches but Colombey-The-Two-Mosques.
No official figures are kept in France but Pew Research estimated that in 2010 there were 4.7 million Muslims in France (7.5% of the total population) which is fewer than the ten million that De Gaulle thought could not be absorbed.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Quotations to read while waiting for the next ISIS atrocity

Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,

Where wealth accumulates, and men decay'

Just as the Christians turned pagan temples into churches and pagan holidays into Christian holidays, multiculturalism is replacing an old culture with a new one. It is the expression of a deep-seated hatred of this culture in its religious, racial, and moral expressions. 

Samuel T. Francis

I don't think I have ever really loved my country. And certainly not mine to the exclusion of other people's. Why is this important? 

Canon Giles Fraser, former canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, who writes for the Guardian.

It is MADNESS, it is SUICIDAL for a country to PAY to bring its enemies into its bosom!

Newt Gingrich.

American exceptionalism is always just American provincialism, no matter how benevolent it seems. Not everyone is like us, and a lot of people are actively trying not to become like us. Jihadis are, roughly speaking, the armed wing of that group.

Gary Brecher

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Assad and migrants

Two things seen on Facebook:
Islam is like an explosive with a dead-man's switch. Some mean SOB has to keep his finger on it all the time to stop it detonating. Assad is as good as any for that job.
We control who gets inside banks.., government buildings, airports,clubs, discos yet anymore can get inside the EU by crossing the Med.

What the papers say: more takes on ISIS

Mark Steyn is always wonderful and the attack on Paris attacks inspires him. It's worth reading 'The Week in Nothing to do with Islam'.
When a swastika is found on a bathroom stall on an American campus, officialdom does not line up to say that most white people "have nothing to do with racism". Au contraire: insufficient denunciations of "white privilege" lead to the immediate loss of your job. When a single killer is discovered to have a Confederate flag emblem among his possessions, that's reason enough to have it removed from all public land within the country, and even to have ancient TV shows that include a motor vehicle with a Confederate flag decal cancelled from the rerun channels. But when the Koran and invocations therefrom are found among the possessions of killers in Bamoko, in Tel Aviv, in Paris, in Chattanooga these are just daily 24/7 exceptions that prove the ironclad rule that Muslims "have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism".
I hate the dreary left-of-centre rag the London Review of Books, but this article is interesting.
"When Obama called for Assad to step down, apparently confident that his days were numbered because an American president had said so, he raised the expectations of the opposition that the US had their backs, in the event that Assad began firing on them. But Obama had no intention of sending troops, or imposing a no-fly zone. His determination to will the means for Assad’s removal has never matched Russia’s or Iran’s determination to keep him in power. The result was to leave the Syrian opposition exposed to Assad’s war.

Assad, who read American intentions better than the opposition, was emboldened by Obama’s obvious wish not to be drawn directly into the war, even after the famous ‘red line’ was crossed. Unable to secure direct support from the US, the various, increasingly fragmented rebel groups looked for arms and aid wherever they could find them: Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and sheiks and businessmen in the Gulf. The support came with strings attached: namely, ideological guidance, and an increasingly assertive anti-Shia orientation. Thanks to the recklessness of Erdo─čan and the Qataris, jihadist groups from Jabhat al-Nusra to IS hijacked the rebellion, while the West turned a blind eye, until it was forced to create its own, ineffectual ‘moderate’ rebels, who didn’t stand a chance against the Islamists. By insisting that Assad step down before any transition, Washington prolonged the war, and made the European refugee crisis inevitable."
I agree with this except the refugee crisis was not inevitable - it happened suddenly because someone willed it. i don't know who or why. Putin? Erdogan? ISIS? Assad.

it's desperately important that ISIS does not succeed in getting many Muslims on its side. If it does this will lead to (probably decades of) guerrilla war. Equally important is that the EU takes no more Muslim migrants or refugees, obviously.

I am not, however, convinced that France treats Algerian immigrants and their offspring badly - they can always return to Algeria if thy think so. The problem is people telling them they are victims.

Intervening in Iraq in 2003 was a tragic and even wicked mistake, which contributed to the terrorism that we are confronted with in Europe, though it did not cause the phenomenon - but now we probably should intervene. But against ISIS, not against Assad and not in favour of the illusory moderate rebels. And, regrettably, we have to work in tandem with Russia.

I think Putin is playing a positive role in Iraq and we need an agreement between Iran Saudi Arabia Qatar Turkey the USA and Russia.

Obama had no choice but to withdraw US troops from Iraq because the sovereign Iraqi government led by an appalling man would not give them immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts. He made a terrible mess over bombing or not bombing Syria but I'm glad he didn't. But now intervention is probably right.

But the important thing is to get Europeans to see the need to stop taking in more than a trickle of more immigrants into Europe or at least more Muslims.

For some reason the people I am angry with are not the killers but, oddly enough, the Economist magazine, which extolled Angela Merkel's policy on migrants and said, in a particularly sickening article, that 
"an old idea of Christendom still lurks within modern European identity".

ISIS might perversely be doing Europe a favour. The Paris murders could be a wake up call

Last week's Paris attacks by ISIS are less historically significant than Angela Merkel's decision this summer to admit perhaps 1.5 million Arab refugees into Germany. If their dependants are allowed to join them the total figure, according to leaked German government estimates, might be between 4 and 6 million. It might even be better that the killing sprees are starting now, rather than in twenty years' time, if the right lessons are drawn from them. The first and most obvious lesson is putting a stop to further permanent settlement by non-Europeans in Europe.

This is not difficult to do. At the moment, thanks to the euro, the states of Southern Europe have very high unemployment. Greeks, Spaniards and Eastern Europeans from within and beyond the EU provide a pool of willing immigrants, if immigrants are needed.

Unfortunately, I don't think this lesson will be drawn, though I absolutely do not understand why not. It was not drawn after the mass murders in London and Madrid in 2005. A few days after the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris back in January by French Muslim fanatics, Angela Merkel condemned a German group Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident) 
that sprung up, for having 
hatred in their hearts.
Because of the latest killings Angela Merkel may have to adopt quotas for refugees, who are entering Germany at a rate of 10,000 a day, but she is not facing calls her for resignation or an end to taking refugees altogether.

Increasing numbers of Muslims in Western Europe, starting from almost none in 1950, are the big story, a much bigger one than Al Qaeda and ISIS, and one that is only beginning. If Europe continues to accept Muslim immigrants and asylum seekers Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban's prediction, given in an interview with the German newspaper Bild in September, that Europe will have a majority Muslim population within the foreseeable future, will come true. It would come true for Western Europe at any ra
te. I don't believe Russia, Greece or the other Balkan countries will permit this.

When I lived in London in the late 1980s left-wing people did not extol the benefits of immigration, they simply sought to defend the interests of immigrants who had already arrived, but now they consider lax immigration rules, for reasons I do not understand, as fundamental to democracy. And partly because of this and partly from fear of being racist, a lot of people seem to want the majority in Europe to be outsiders. They fear 'them' and hope they treat 'us' with kindness, but feel they have to sleepwalk to their doom. 
It is remarkable how many people in the social media mention the fate of the natives in North America as an argument for, not against, immigration.

The example of countries like the USA and Canada is very influential. They are immigrant societies that, in the 1960s, decided to scrap their former preference for British and North European immigrants and now regard such a preference as racist. In the USA many people are worried about illegal imigrants but it is not considered reasonable to complain about legal imigration. The USA is not an ethnic state and Christianity is not its official religion, as it is in the UK and a number of European countries. Therefore the US position is very different from that of European nation states, but laissez-faire attitudes to immigration in the USA are nevertheless very influential in Europe.

Eastern Europeans don't want large numbers of foreigners to settle in their countries and nor do the majority in England and France (unlike in Germany). 25% in a survey of British voters in December said they wanted all immigrants, legal and illegal, to leave the U.K. (Another 25% didn't answer the question.) 

Until recently the attitude of Eurocrats and many politicians was that it was wrong to pander to the electorate. Instead of saying so in those words they spoke of eschewing populism. Now, thanks to ISIS, it is just possible, though I am very doubtful, that this might change.

Is Bucharest, though not old, the most beautiful city in Europe?

I thought walking through the streets between Cismigiu and Buzesti, decaying 1880s buildings, trees bright brown with autumn leaves, that Bucharest though not old is the most beautiful city in Europe. Like living in a lithograph illustration for a strange book found in a second-hand shop. It won't be so compelling, though, if or rather when they ever give the houses a lick of paint and repair everything.

An example of what I mean is a house I walk past every day. photographed by my gifted friend Davin Ellicson.

Candidates are advised not to attempt this question

I remember my history master of genius, Dr Alan White mentioned this history exam question
'Asquith was the last British Prime Minister not to travel by plane. Discuss'

saying drily (he said everything drily) we would be well advised not to answer this question.

Which reminds me of an exam question from Sellars and Yeatman 

' "Cap'n are't thou sleeping down below?" Candidates are advised not to attempt this question.'

Another exam question from the early 1970s
"The world owes more to Marks and Spencer's than to Marx and Spencer". 

I think Harold Wilson may have made that pun first, though he omitted Herbert Spencer.

Straws in the wind

This is what a very loving left-wing friend wrote to me on Facebook the morning after the Paris attacks.
"I finally think I am starting to see your point of view Paul. I hate that I can say that, but something clicked in my thinking this morning. My world has changed. I have to admit that for the last few months I have been quickly 'hiding' your posts because my heart which is soft couldn't agree with my head and reading your posts made me angry. But I can handle it starting today.

Europe needs more borders. Bring them back. They are filters for the security of the people."
Someone else posted:

I was talking to one of my clients today, who is Parisienne of Indian origin, that she left Paris for the North West because of the Arabs. Somewhat surprised I mentioned this to a very sensible nurse from Amsterdam and she said that she wasn't surprised at all.
I liked Andrew Neil's tweet.

 Andrew Neil
Not sure what's worse on Twitter at the moment. The mad blanket attacks on Muslims or the self-loathing anti-West its-all-our-fault brigade

The Clintons believe in a borderless world

I was on a bus - my ticket cost $1- going from Palmyra to Damascus and they were showing a BBC thriller. TV in a bus was a novelty for me. Headphones were probably available but I didn't bother and I watched the mime. It was essentially a John Buchan type thriller but the well dressed upper-middle class senior civil servant turned out at the end, inevitably, to be the bad guy. The brave, resourceful hero was a young black man. And I felt sorry as i watched for Al Qaeda, who I realised had no chance against global post-national culture.

Bill Clinton told Australians on Sept. 10, 2001 that he believed in 

“the ultimate wisdom of a borderless world.” 
Borderless and with one global deracinated culture.

There is nothing but Western civilisation anymore, though it is ceasing to be Western, if Western means mostly white and mostly Christian. The future will be countries made of communities that do not comprehend each other, identity politics and an authoritarian state or superstate imposing approved behaviour.

I think national borders (and languages) are wonderful and make freedom, democracy and a diversity of national cultures possible, but increasingly the borders are not between countries but within them.

Keynes called economists the trustees of the possibility of civilisation. So are politicians and I don't think they have done at all a good job since the end of the Cold War. And nor have we, Western people.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Against equality

"If you criticise the whole idea of human equality—which is basically what I do—you are going against a prevalent quasi-religious orthodoxy."

Roger Scruton

I feel I am in the same position but thankfully this orthodoxy is not established in Eastern Europe, yet.

What do we do about ISIS?

What a difference three weeks make. It was only three weeks ago that charges against Marine Le Pen of the Front National were dropped for saying about Muslim areas in France
It is an occupation of sections of the territory, of neighbourhoods in which religious law applies. It is an occupation. There are no tanks, there are no soldiers, but it is an occupation anyhow and it weighs on people.
if it didn't weigh on the French before it certainly does now, after the ISIS attacks that killed 130 people.

The FN didn't benefit much from the Hebdo murders. Let's see what happens this time.

Everyone should read this very short article by Niall Ferguson. 
Let us be clear about what is happening. Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defences to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time, it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith.
I am glad he is writing in this vein though I do not think things are quite so bad as that. There is no alternative to Western civilisation but would a civilisation not dominated by white Christians still be Western? I wish very much that I had worked at university and been a rival of Niall Ferguson. The thing the world most urgently need at this moment is conservative historians.

What is interesting is that no-one not even experienced journalists know what is going on in Syria. Patrick Cockburn, a left-winger, knows more than most and confirms my suspicions. We are being fed lies by the US government about Russia, ISIS and about the obviously non-existent 'moderate rebels'.
In an article that you really should read (click here) he says Western leaders have claimed they believed six impossible things before breakfast.
These impossible things included the belief that it would be possible to contain and even destroy IS, while at the same time getting rid of President Bashar al-Assad and his regime in Damascus. The US, Britain, France and their allies have refused to admit that the fall of Assad would create a power vacuum that would be inevitably be filled by Islamic fundamentalists from IS or al Qaeda clones such as Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.What this strategy has meant on the ground is that when IS attacked the Syrian army in Palmyra in May the US air force did not bomb its fighters because Washington did not want to be accused by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies of helping Assad.
The result was a victory for IS as it seized Palmyra, beheaded captured Syrian soldiers and advanced westwards close to the crucial north-south highway linking Damascus to the northern cities.
He also says
If the Russians had really only been launching air strikes against Syrian moderates and not against IS, it is unlikely that IS would have gone to such trouble to place a bomb on a Russian plane leaving Sharm el-Sheikh that killed 224 passengers.
That sounds very plausible, though ISIS may have punished Russia just for aiding Assad.

I have no doubt that Assad has helped ISIS, but I suspect not quite as much as the press keeps insisting. i am also clear that Turkey and Qatar helped found ISIS and ISIS flourished because of the USA's anxiety to help create a Sunni anti-Iranian government and thus block the Shia crescent that links Hezbollah, Assad and Tehran.

Why is ISIS attacking the French, the Russians and the Lebanese Shias at the same time? To invite retaliation, which will allow it to pose as fighting a Holy War against Christians (much as the Western leaders want to forget their Christian identity and replace it with multiculturalism). We must not fall into the trap of reacting in the wrong way as George W Bush did and we must not victimise or alienate European Muslims of whom there are now huge numbers.

On the other hand, the strange lack of anger about these atrocities and absence of almost any public hostility to Islam concerns me. It is the dog that did not bark in the night. 

Brendan O'Neill is a sort of Trotskyite, a sort of Communist, an atheist who believes in open borders. I find I agree with almost every word he ever says. And I agree with almost every word of this article- and all of them are important. 

Now, it is spiked’s view that the intensification of intervention in Syria is unlikely to solve the problem at hand. Nonetheless, we also feel that there’s little positive in the dearth of appetite for physically fighting ISIS. It, too, speaks to the subdued, passion-policing response to Paris. As John Stuart Mill put it, ‘War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth war is much worse.’ This is what we have post-Paris: a ruling and thinking class which thinks its own values are not worth fighting a war for, and in fact should not be loudly and proudly stated through song, argument, flag-waving or any talk of ‘America winning’ or ‘France winning’ lest we intensify the suspicion some among us feel for those values.


is the headline on an article by

Charles Glass that seems very wise although must is not a word to use to princes. No-one until now wanted to fight ISIS, which the US's allies, it is now clear, encouraged - in a desire to get rid of Assad that had nothing whatsoever to do with his regime's cruelty.

Nothing would turn Iraqis and Syrians to the jihadis more quickly than a Western invasion.Those of us who witnessed the Iraqi uprising of 1991, when Kurds and Shiites used the demoralisation of Saddam Hussein’s army in Kuwait to liberate 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, know that it had more potential to save the country than the American-led invasion of 2003 did. The U.S. pulled the plug on that rebellion in March 1991, and launched its own bid to control Iraq in 2003 that it is still paying for.One step would not involve any combat at all: Close the open supply line between ISIS and the outside world through Turkey. Turkey is an ally, but no friend.

This very good article in Taki's magazine called
Four ways to save Europe
is full of good points but though the first three suggestions are good the fourth is too extreme for me. 

Finally, here is a charming essay entitled

The Vicar of Baghdad: 'I've looked through the Quran trying to find forgiveness... there isn’t any.'

And a tweet I liked.


Friday, 20 November 2015

That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!

When you get older you only want one thing... to be young, said a friend of mine on Facebook. I wondered if it is true. He is thinking of sex, I expect. And thinking about it (ageing I mean, not sex) I decided I like getting older - life is a search for understanding and that begins at 40 and increases a lot after 50. 

I suspect life for a man starts at 50. For women life starts much sooner.

"What music is more enchanting than the voices of young people, when you can't hear what they say?" 
So said Logan Pearsall Smith. When one envies the young just remember how lacking their conversation is. At least this young men's, even clever ones' - clever women of 24 or even 21 know a huge amount.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

What does sitting on a sunny beach MEAN?

I wonder why most people think sitting on the beach is fun. It isn't but people think it is. I suppose this is how many things work, including politics, religion, property bubbles, wars. Most people think something is true so it must be true.

I wonder if it is ultimately about linguistics. Beach recliner as hieroglyphic for joy. 

Schopenhauer said "Money is human happiness in the abstract; he, then, who is no longer capable of enjoying human happiness in the concrete devotes himself to money". Beaches are happiness in the abstract too, though not if you were a bookish child forced almost every day in summer to sit on the beach in Essex.

‎"Romania is Islamic land"

The murder of over 120 people in Paris by Muslim gunmen at the weekend raises the question: can the same thing happen in Romania? To which the answer is, yes of course. Romania is a likely target and if the terrorists badly want to stage an atrocity here they may succeed, but Romania is better protected in some ways than France or Great Britain.

There have been attempts by Muslim fanatics to enter Romania for at least fifteen years, but almost the only  advantage of having been a police state is that the  secret service (SRI) is one of the few effective Romanian institutions. M16 contacts tell me that the SRI know how to do their job.

The Muslim community, even after the recent noticeable influx of refugees from Syria, is very small. The Muslims live mostly in the Dobrudja, in other words the coast and its hinterland, reasonably law-abiding and loyal to the country. Romanian Muslims consider themselves and are in all respects except ethnicity Romanians. This makes it easier for the authorities to keep track of people. Unlike in multiracial London and Paris extremists here, even were they to get in, would not find vibrant Muslim communities in which to hide and be accepted.

Neighbouring Bulgaria was less lucky. A Muslim suicide bomber exploded a bomb on a bus full of Israeli tourists in Burgas in 2012 and six people were killed, over thirty injured.
Syrian Sheik Omar Bakri, who claimed responsibility for the Burgas bomb, was carefully watched and prevented from entering Romania. However, he said in an interview at the time that both Romania and Bulgaria were legitimate targets for attacks, because they are ‘Islamic land’ and because troops from those countries are fighting in Afghanistan. 

"Once Islam enters a land, that land becomes Islamic and the Muslims have the duty to liberate it some day. Spain, for example, is Islamic land, and so is Eastern Europe: Romania, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia."

Actually, the Sheik's history is not accurate, at least not about most of Romania, though he could have dragged in the Ukraine, Hungary, Greece and Southern Italy where Islam did enter (even Rome was sacked, but not occupied, by the Muslims). All of what is now Romania was, it is true, once in some sense part of the Ottoman Empire and shown as such on the maps, but Islam never 'entered' Romania, except for the Dobrudja,, the Bucovina and for 150 years the Banat. The great achievement of the Wallachians, Moldavians and Transylvanians was, when they could no longer resist the Turk by force of arms, to make terms and preserve their autonomy and the property of their landowners. Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece failed to preserve their system of landownership and government. The three principalities which made up most of what is now Romania simply paid tribute to the Sublime Porte and were untouched by Islam. They were always ruled by Christian princes, owned by Christian landlords and governed by their own laws. In fact, Wallachia and Moldavia were never territories of the Ottoman Empire but protectorates. The only other semi-detached part of the Ottoman Empire which had this form of self-government was the Lebanon. Romanian landlords and nobles were very lucky to escape the fate of their counterparts elsewhere in South-Eastern Europe.

Muslims were forbidden to settle in Wallachia and Moldavia to prevent them from appealing to the Sultan for protection against the Christian authorities. Ethnicity in the era before nationalism was less important than religion and every Christian who owned land was a citizen. Greeks, Serbs, Armenians and Albanians were magistrates and bishops. Jews could settle, but could not be citizens unless they converted.

It is not clear how we should describe the status of the Regat in English, but protectorate or suzerainty are inaccurate approximations. Home rule is not quite right for the Phanariot era in the 18th Century, when the principalities were ruled by Greeks, who bought their throne from the Sultan and did not last long, but would apply to the periods of native princes in the seventeenth century and after the Wallachian uprising of 1821. At any rate the Sultan played no part in ruling the Regat whose rulers had far more freedom from Constantinople than Romania now has from Brussels. Only in 1876 did the new Ottoman constitution for the first time enact that Wallachia and Moldavia were full parts of the empire. The War of Independence followed in 1877, a war, though, that was not really fought for de jure independence, but under compulsion from the Czar who would have marched his army across the principalities in any case.

Romanians tell me that Romania resembles other Balkan countries, especially Serbia and Greece, and they should know much better than me, but I always fancy that the Balkan feeling, which you get in other Balkan countries, Albania most of all, and which is really a Turkish feeling, is sensibly less in evidence here. This may be simply due to the fact that Romanian is, despite all attempts to deny it, a Latin language. But if I am right and it goes deeper than this, this would be the explanation. At any rate, there are no mosques here, except in the Dobrudja,.

I first came to the Balkans in 1990 by train, hoping to see Europe morph into Asia. Strada Lipscani felt utterly sui generis and un-Western, with gypsy or Arab music playing from transistor radios, but, apart from the old town in Bucharest, Romania was Europe and so was Bulgaria, despite her statues of Lenin, mosques and the gypsy quarter in Plovdiv. In 1990, after Romania, Istanbul was almost a bore - it was back to capitalism and Mars bars and foreign newspapers - but it was Muslim and the East. It felt like Asia. Now that I have lived in the Balkans for seventeen years, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey feel as if they have very much in common. At moments they almost feel like the same country, which historically they were - Greater Greece, Byzantium.

I didn’t know back in 1990 that the Moldavian and Wallachian landed class spoke Greek (and dressed like Turks) until the middle of the 19th century or that a Greek general, Alexander Ypsilantis, raised a revolt in Moldavia in March 1821 against the Sublime Porte in order to create a new Byzantine Empire, expecting to win support from Romanians, only to be defeated by Tudor Vladimirescu, who fought for the Sultan. Historians speak of Ypsilantis's revolt as the start of the Greek War of Independence but the Greece he was fighting for was not a national idea but a multiracial Christian state united by Greek culture and religion, Byzantium in fact. Vladimirescu, by contrast, wanted to free Moldavia and Wallachia from both the Turks and the Greek aristocracy. Nevertheless the idea of a Greek-Rumanian confederation still lingered on even into the late 1850s. 

When I went to Constanta for the first time in 1999 and saw the mosque there, overlooking the Black Sea, I felt that I was in an odd, hybrid place. My generation was the last that could forget that there were large numbers of Muslims in Western Europe. That was in 1999 and we cannot forget them now. The roughly 20,000 Romanian Muslims, who live mostly in the Dobrudja, inaccurately called Turks, are a tiny number compared with the millions in England, France, Germany and Spain. The town where I was born, like Constanta, now has two mosques.

I have met three or four Romanian so-called Turks, who were all very nice people. The one I liked most was a very sympathetic young woman (she might have had gypsy blood) in Constanta who told me she had converted to Christianity and in her spare time went around Muslim villages, trying to convert other Muslims. She wanted, she said, to set them free. How different from the Anglican way of doing things. Something about her simplicity moved me a great deal.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The present is a foreign country

No-one can ever understand a foreign country.

After 17 years I know I have learnt that I know almost nothing about Romania, but I effortlessly understand so very much that very intelligent foreigners never can about my own country - as it was 25 years ago.

As we grow older we all live in foreign countries. Increasingly this is true literally as well as figuratively and I am an example.

One of the advantages of being a foreigner is not fitting in and not understanding. None of us feel we fit in or understand - that is the human condition - but foreigners are not meant to fit in or understand and this is a great liberation.

And increasingly the developed countries are becoming settled by more and more foreigners. In some ways this makes them more interesting for xenophiles like me, but many people who didn't want to live in a foreign country find themselves doing so without leaving home.

ISIS is an essentially theological movement

ISIS may contain psychopaths and have been founded by Saddamists, it may be the fault of the US but it is an essentially theological movement and power grab.

I just spoke to an English political scientist, a Liberal Democrat, who told me the problem of terrorism is not caused by Islam but one interpretation of it. I said there will always be problems sharing Europe with Muslims because their religion lends itself to these interpretations. He said that Christianity did the same and mentioned Northern Ireland. I said that that problem was mostly an ethnic conflict and caused by mass immigration - like the Arab-Israel dispute. He had reluctantly to agree. He's pro-immigration but pro-Arab and pro-Catholic in Northern Ireland, so he was checkmated.

But it is more complicated. Northern Irish Catholics and Protestants are different ethnic groups and different communities and the conflict between them is not at root theological, but theology has a lot to do it. Belloc's overstated his case but was largely true when he said

"Every major question in history is a religious question. It has more effect in molding life than nationalism or a common language."
Politicians are moved by a curious amalgam of self interest, love of the political game and genuine political ideals and theology fits in in providing the basis for those ideals. Marxism is clearly a religion, based on a misunderstanding of Christianity - the achievement of a Marxist society and the withering away of the state are Marxism's eschatology. The Whig ideals that inform the US Constitution are also the product of Christianity even though some of the revolutionaries were Deists and not Christians. The Enlightenment is a product of Christianity - it derived from Christianity and one cannot imagine it developing from Hinduism, Buddhism or Islam.

I mentioned in a post at the weekend this very interesting article about ISIS by Graeme Wood published in March. He makes the point that

"The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.
Of course ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the rest are fighting for their understanding of Islam, much as some left of centre people in the West want to argue otherwise. What is more their version is probably as legitimate a version of the warlike 7th century creed as the West-friendly ones. I had a great Muslim friend, very erudite in Muslim theology, who thought the fundamentalists misunderstood their religion utterly, but he was a Francophone, Francophile, Oxford-educated, Guardian-reading, left-winger, who drank wine. 

Another very erudite friend, a High Church Episcopalian American who speaks Arabic and lived in Nazareth, told me his view:

"When you look at the career of Muhammad, the Seal of the Prophets and the Ideal Man (his titles in Islam), it is hard to say that ISIS and Al Qaeda don't represent in their militancy and use of strategic violence to effectuate social change (aka, terrorism) a very rational and reasonable form of Islam. One cannot look at Jesus' career and and make such an argument."
My Syrian Christian friends have said the same thing. They would, of course.

Douglas Murray 
lost his belief in God after analysing Muslim texts and deciding that no book — of any religion — could claim infallibility. in an article at the weekend, pointed out that all Western leaders (even the sensible Tony Abbott), after every attack carried out in the name of Islam, deny that the attacks are anything to do with true Islam, as if they are Koranic scholars. In fact not even Tony Blair is much of one, even though he admires Muhammad as a moderniser, a sort of Hans Kung of 7th century Arabia.

"All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent."

Monday, 16 November 2015


"The fear that a designing foreigner may one day make him unknowingly eat a cat is still present in some form or another in most British minds."

Lord Edward Cecil.

"If diversity was strength the former Yugoslavia would have been a world power."

Robert Stewart

"Prejudice is latent wisdom."

Edmund Burke

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

Bertrand Russell

"All questions are ultimately theological." That sounded like Hilaire Belloc but I tracked it down at length - it is Cardinal Manning

"Every major question in history is a religious question."

Belloc said this - which is very apposite 72 hours after over a hundred people were killed by ISIS terrorists in Paris.

Facebook mourns the dead of Paris and Beirut in its quarrelsome, logic-chopping way

I don't like being pushed into posting the tricolour to express my feeling about the murders in Paris. I didn't say 'Je Suis Charlie' I dislike the ideas of Charlie Hebdo and I dislike very much French republicanism. Instead I posted on Facebook as my cover picture this picture I took recently of a to me charming derelict building in Beirut. 

The bomb in Beirut was a great shock to me as 3 weeks ago I spent 48 hours in Beirut The bomb in Paris is a very much greater shock, an act of war aimed at Europe and will be probably be followed by further similar things for years to come. The Yazidi mass grave is a very terrible thing.

Someone I don't know said this on Facebook. i thought it was blackly funny but it was not intended to be. How scared people are of being unfair.

Ok. So I think I need a break from Facebook for a while. I am fed up with links and shares from people who clearly feel they have the moral upper hand. Paris was shocking. No argument and I wasn't more shocked by that than Syria or anywhere else and I don't care more about the French than the Syrians. I don't care more because the people who died in France are more likely to be white. Don't make that assumption about me. I guess we are so shocked because Paris is so close geographically. But also because we simply care that people (whatever their background) have been mindlessly murdered by a bunch of cowardly, selfish fuckwits whose backgrounds have no doubt made them vulnerable to manipulation. Perhaps also we feel more powerful to stop things in our own countries than in others so we shout louder. Who knows?Simple religion is not at the heart of this. Wars of religion have been fought for centuries and I would personally say true Christians/Muslims/Jews/Hindus and anyone else, if they examined their religion would not have a bar of it. Not that I really know as I have never read a full religious text. But it is what I like to think.
Ok. So I changed my picture to include the French flag. I want to show my support. It still doesn't mean I care less about Syria or people from whatever religion or anywhere else. I wouldn't have thought about it unless Facebook offered it. Facebook 's no doubt bias I am sure (?) But had I been offered the option with the Kenya shooting or other senseless atrocities I would probably have done the same. But I wasn't so I didn't think about it. Who cared about the Russian probable bomb? Probably more murders. They are white but no surge on facebook. Maybe Russians are less important? Why is that do you think? Why do I feel the need to justify myself?

A man with a Muslim name posted a long status from which this is an excerpt.

It's like a bad Monty Python sketch:
"We did this because our holy texts exhort us to to do it."
"No you didn't."
"Wait, what? Yes we did..."
"No, this has nothing to do with religion. You guys are just using religion as a front for social and geopolitical reasons."
"WHAT!? Did you even read our official statement? We give explicit Quranic justification. This is jihad, a holy crusade against pagans, blasphemers, and disbelievers."
"No, this is definitely not a Muslim thing. You guys are not true Muslims, and you defame a great religion by saying so."
"Huh!? Who are you to tell us we're not true Muslims!? Islam is literally at the core of everything we do, and we have implemented the truest most literal and honest interpretation of its founding texts. It is our very reason for being."
"Nope. We created you. We installed a social and economic system that alienates and disenfranchises you, and that's why you did this. We're sorry."
Someone else on a political journalist's on Facebook wall had another solution to European-Arab enmity.

Long term, the only effective weapon is to reduce the perception of ourselves as an enemy. In the long term, learning Arabic is a powerful solution to disrupting the sense of blanket identity that is conferred upon the West. I am working on a programme that enables learning a complex new language through a network of techniques and a new framework that will enable those who can make time to learn good Arabic in 1-2 months. If you'd like to guarantee to be part of the solution, an improved social fabric, understanding of the Middle-East that will inform improved foreign policy, and a Europe that is too communicative and cohesive to be viewed as or to act as an 'enemy', this is something you can do as an individual. 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates

I learnt much from this article about what motivates ISIS by Graeme Wood when it was published in The Atlantic in March. I was led to it by a Muslim friend and recommend it very highly. If you read it then it's worth rereading now.

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.
Of course ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the rest are fighting for Islam and their version is probably as legitimate a version of the warlike 7th century creed as the West-friendly ones. My Muslim theologian friend always denied this but he was a Francophone, Oxford-educated Guardian-reading left-winger who drank wine and lived on government benefits all his life in London, so he would think Islam and the Enlightenment were compatible. Come to think of it I'm not sure if Christianity and the Enlightenment are that compatible, although Christianity gave birth to the Enlightenment and without Christianity the Enlightenment is unimaginable.

Here are three brilliant articles written in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris. If you only have time for one make it this one, by Mark Steyn, entitled
The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates
in which he makes this powerful point.

Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight's events as "an attack not just on Paris, it's an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share". 

But that's not true, is it? He's right that it's an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world - an attack on one portion of "humanity" by those who claim to speak for another portion of "humanity". And these are not "universal values" but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta "universal" when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those "universal values" are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.
Here is a great blog post by Douglas Murray on nine conclusions not to draw from the Paris attacks and, surprisingly perhaps, Katie Hopkins has written a very good, sombre, powerful and serious piece, asking
Is Britain just going to sit and wait for its own day of reckoning?
I fear the answer to her question is yes though I hope I am mistaken.

Actually it's not surprising at all that her writing is good. She is first of all an entertainer but when talking about refugees she is very much a force for good.

For some reason, the people I am angry with are not the killers, but the insufferably omniscient writers of the Economist. In particular i am angry with this article, 'Exodus: Europe should welcome more refugees and economic migrants—for the sake of the world and itself' that extols Angela Merkel's policy on migrants and says
an old idea of Christendom still lurks within modern European identity.

What people are saying about the Paris killings

Mark Steyn

M Hollande declared that "nous allons mener le combat, il sera impitoyable": We are going to wage a war that will be pitiless. Does he mean it? Or is he just killing time until Obama and Cameron and Merkel and Justin Trudeau and Malcolm Turnbull fly in and they can all get back to talking about sea levels in the Maldives in the 22nd century? By which time France and Germany and Belgium and Austria and the Netherlands will have been long washed away.

Sean Gabb

Bad idea to invade the world. Bad to invite the world. Do both and need your head examined.


We are all immigrants.

David Penglase

If you open the door when mad dogs are outside....they tend to come in and bite you. 

Traian Basescu, President of Romania 2004-14

What happened on Friday night showed that demagoguery is not a substitute for security. We have all been convinced that the integration of a culture and religion so different from Christianity is impossible. And this was recognised by European leaders years ago, including by Mrs Merkel, who recognised that cultural integration has been a failure in Germany and Europe. The wave of migrants from Europe this year found Europe unprepared and has led to the collapse of border security .... What happened in Paris confirms that Europe can not be everyone's home. Europe is primarily the home for Europeans, the home for Christians.

Adam Gopnik

Andre Glucksmann wrote, in the wake of 9/11, a remarkable book, still untranslated, called “Dostoevsky in Manhattan,” in which he insisted that modern terrorism, including Islamic terrorism, is nihilist before it is religious and even before it is political. He attached its motives to the terrorism of the century before—to the violence, which Dostoevsky and Conrad dramatized so well, which redounds not to a political end but with a wild vengeance and the existential message, “I kill, therefore I am.”

Mary Hughes-Thompson, co-founder of the Free Gaza movement (she sounds like peter Simple's Mrs. Dutt Pauker, who lived in a house in Hampstead called 'Marxmount' and had an Albanian Maoist au pair Gjoq).

I haven't accused Israel of involvement. Still, Bibi is upset about the European settlement boycott. So who knows.

My friend Bunny

When we have all finished praying for Paris, can we agree that maybe it would be a good idea to have stricter border controls and to stop inviting thousands of fighting age men from the Middle East into Europe?

Andrew Lawrence

Are we allowed to have better border controls yet? Or is it still racist?

Andrew Neil

Those who think Islamic State barbarity is a response to Western foreign policy might like to speak to the Yazidi women who are still alive.

Jean-Claude Juncker

Those who organised, who perpetrated the attacks are the very same people who the refugees are fleeing and not the opposite. And so there is no need for an overall review of the European policy on refugees.

[Dacian Ciolos is one of Herr Juncker's aides or was until last week when he was nominated by President Iohannis to be Prime Minister of Romania.]

Will Romania still take in the Syrian refugees the EU ordered Victor Ponta to accept?

Poland's Europe minister said last night that Poland could not take in refugees under an EU quota system after Friday's killings. Will Romania say the same?

What do we do now?

Intervening in Iraq in 2003 was a tragic and even wicked mistake, which contributed to the terrorism that we are confronted with in Europe, though but did not cause the phenomenon - but now we probably should intervene, meaning put boots on the ground. But against ISIS, not against Assad and not in favour of the illusory moderate rebels. And, regrettably, we have to work in tandem with Russia.

I think Putin is playing on the whole a positive role in Iraq and we need an agreement between Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the USA and Russia.

Obama had no choice but to withdraw US troops from Iraq because the sovereign Iraqi government, led by an appalling man, would not give them immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts. He made a terrible mess over bombing or not bombing Syria but I'm glad he didn't. But now intervention is probably right.

But the important thing is to get Europeans to see the need to stop taking in more immigrants or at least more Muslims.

For some reason the people I am angry with are not the killers but, oddly enough, the Economist magazine, which extolled Angela Merkel's policy on migrants and said, in a particularly sickening article, that "an old idea of Christendom still lurks within modern European identity".

Saturday, 14 November 2015

One of the Paris murderers was an asylum seeker who arrived in Greece last month

A Syrian passport found at the scene of the Paris attacks matched that used by a refugee who arrived on the Greek island of Leros last month.

Surely Frau Merkel must resign after this piece of news

Paris hosts new exhibition of nothing

A story from 2009.

Paris's Pompidou Centre is devoting an entire exhibition to the art of nothing.

Hailed by one critic today as the most radical show ever seen inside a museum,Voids, a retrospective is a celebration of art which, as the artist Robert Barry put it, wants us to be "free for a moment to think about what we are going to do".

Will the massacre in Paris change Europe's attitude to immigration?

The first reports were coming in as I went to bed last night. This morning I woke and learnt that 120 people have been murdered in Paris. Lots of research finally told me via Douglas Murray's blog  that the gunmen fired into the Bataclan concert hall shouting “Allahu akbar,” according to France24. So they were Muslim, something at first hidden from the public. Will this change attitudes to immigration into Europe? 
When we have all finished praying for Paris, can we agree that it would be a good idea to have stricter border controls and to stop inviting hundreds of thousands of fighting age men from the Middle East into Europe?

The people who plan things like the murders in Paris do so to create conflict. And to sow hatred. And this is never very hard to do where ethnic and confessional minorities exist. If they do so they win but, instead, things will go to the opposite extreme. Very quickly Muslims will come to be seen as the victims. 

After Drummer Lee was beheaded on the streets of Woolwich by Muslim fanatics my Facebook feed was full of people complaining about EDL being allowed to march under very heavy police guard for fifteen minutes to protest. And my Facebook friends, you won't be surprised to hear, are not a predominately left-wing bunch. 

My Facebook feed also had a number of people asking for the murder to be put into the context of Anglo-American wars. When I said on someone's wall that perhaps EDL could also be put into context I was promptly unfriended.

I hope last night's massacre will change attitudes to immigration into Europe. Most migrants are reasonably good people fleeing a bad situation, but we must regrettably stop taking asylum seekers in order to save Europe from what is in effect an invasion from the poor world.

I am not saying this because refugees and immigrants are sometimes terrorists, by the way. The problem seems to be a small minority of immigrants' children. But the obvious dangers of creating ethnic and confessional minorities for no compelling reason are clear today. Just for today. By tomorrow it will again be a thought crime to talk about those issues.

Nevertheless some of the migrants coming to Europe will be terrorists. I said in another post recently:

A Lebanese minister has said that his gut feeling told him that about one in fifty of the Syrian refugees is likely to be an ISIS terrorist. If he is right, for those wanting to follow Pope Francis' admonition to take in a refugee, your chance of taking a terrorist into your home is only about 2%. 

The number of ISIS sympathisers and Islamists among the genuine Syrian refugees is, however, probably very much higher than 2%. 22% of Syrians think that ISIS are a positive influence in their country, according to a recent poll by a British market research company. I imagine that a similar proportion of the Syrian refugees like ISIS too. After all ISIS supporters are attracted to life in Germany as much as Syrian democrats. 

Meanwhile the co-founder of the Free Gaza movement, Mary Hughes-Thompson, has already suggested that the massacre was a false flag operation by the Israelis. She sounds like Peter Simple's Mrs. Dutt Pauker, who lived at “Marxmount” in Hampstead, and had an Albanian Maoist au pair called Gjoq. 

But this is not funny and I should not be joking. This is absolutely anything but funny - not the murders, not the millions about to enter Europe from Middle Eastern war zones.

I was told that Lord Weidenfeld was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 in March about anti-Semitism. Among other things he said that if things became hard for them as a result of anti-Semitism 
"Jews could go to Israel but...the rest?" 
and that the people of Europe might be stuck with 
"millions of not-so-friendly people".