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We Have Found the Enemy and It's Us
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2011-08-02 08:36:49
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       "What has clearly emerged from recent speeches and ensuing public national debates on    

         multiculturalism is a sense of confusion, malaise and often contradictory messages"

                 -- Sara Silvestri (lecturer in religion and international politics at London's City University)

British Prime Minister David Cameron, Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Nicolas Sarkozy have all declared in recent months that multiculturalism has failed in the EU. There is little doubt that those declarations have done little to offer solutions to tackle the economic and societal pressures that stem from increasing immigration and globalization in the EU, and do even less to harness the benefits of a multi-ethnic society. I’d like to take a brief look at the various confusions mentioned by Sara Silvestri in the above quote.

In the first place, it is worth mentioning that another fiercely anti-multiculturalist anti-Muslim figure in present day EU is the Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, leader if the Dutch Freedom party, who wants the EU constitution rewritten to outlaw the "fascist" Qur'an in the Netherlands. He has a devout following  among the academic intelligentia of Europe, sad to say, even in its ivy league universities.  His name is found repeatedly in the Manifesto published on-line by Anders Breivik shortly before the horrific massacre he carried out in Oslo a few weeks ago. There are up to 30 references to Wilders in that manifesto.

In fact, anyone familiar with the darker waters of the blogosphere would be aware of the existence of a vibrant cyber-scene characterized by unmitigated hatred of the new Europe, aggressive denunciations of the "corrupted, multi-culturalist power elites" and pejorative generalizations about immigrants, targeting all immigrants but especially Muslims. It is that kind of sheer hatred and outright racism and xenophobia that leads to the victimization of vulnerable immigrant communities and the souring of race relations in the EU.

It is intriguing to me, and this is something that few if any journalists have pointed out, that as soon as the attack by Breivik began, most journalists immediately assumed that it was an act of terror by Muslims when in fact out of 294 terror attack in Europe in 2009, only one was conducted by Islamists. This happened in the US too with Timothy Vay, a terrorist who turned out to be one of us.  That assumption on the part of the media is quite intriguing and revealing.

When it was discovered that the perpetrator was one of us, so to speak, various facile and superficial explanations were proffered for the mass killings. They smack more of rationalizations than genuine socio-political-historical analysis. They aim at taking us all off the hook. One of these is purely psychological: the man is simply mad and therefore he ought to be placed in an insane asylum for the rest of his life; the sooner the better; out of sight out of mind, so to speak. The lawyer that will be defending him has taken this approach. Another is that his actions can be best understood via the ideology he espoused which, low and behold, is none other than “Christian ideological extremism” going back to the medieval Knight Templars.

To be sure, Breivik does declare himself a knight Templar in his manifesto, but then so has a gang of criminals in Mexico exporting drugs to the US. What one begins to suspect is that such a rather convenient explanation fits quite well the mind-set that since the Enlightenment (Voltaire being its most prominent exponent) has declared religion as the source of all evil in the world; a cancer on the body politic to be exercised at all costs and to be denied a voice in the public square. The disturbing reality is that Breivik may be considered neither insane nor a lone wolf. Thousands throughout Europe are presently ingesting the same propaganda that galvanized him. Other young men may be dreaming up fantasies about saving western civilization from the evils of Islam. We ignore what motivated Breivik at our own peril.

Indeed, what Breivik entertains in his diary is the myth of the knight Templars, not the historical facts. The knights were an order of the Catholic Church, military monks if you will, that came to the fore in the 11th and 12th century in France with the avowed task of defending vulnerable Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. They were not terrorists out to exterminate the infidel Muslims by any means available. They did not attack innocent civilians and when they fought Muslims on occasion, they did so on the battlefield. The fact that eventually they were accused of corruption and cultism by the King of France (Machiavellically aiming at taking possession of their considerable wealth) and eventually suppressed by the Church, does not make them terrorists. Those are the historical facts. What Breivik and others of the same mind-set have created in their exalted imagination is a myth of the knight Templars worthy of the Da Vinci Code and its attendant holy grail. To be sure the same myth was created by the German Nazis in their search for the holy grail of the superior pure race. It is a new type of mythical elite warriors which have little to do with Christianity or even the militaristic knight Templars.

Which brings us to the sudden spread of neo-Nazism and extreme far right ideologies in the EU blogosphere. Some of these bloggers, in their supreme arrogance and narcissism, see themselves as the true heirs of social democratic values, or as the last carriers of the torch of Enlightenment. Some even go back to the ancient Greeks and Cicero. Many talk of gender equality, social injustices and class warfare, which all sounds very idealistic. Others, inspired by the likes of Wilders hold more conventional right-wing views, ranging from racism to paranoid conspiracy theories about Muslims plotting to take political control of the West and win culturally what they could not win on the battlefield.

While the outer argument is a fight against a perceived Muslim take-over of Europe, the primary targets as listed by Breivik in his manifesto are the political forces who, in his opinion allow this take-over. The primary target is simply the political left. There is emphasis on a nordic race, redolent of Nazi ideology, plans for creating a pan-nordic union, cultural conservatism a la tea party and evangelical fundamentalism, anti-Semitism, ethnic cleansing, calls for cultural crusades, the conquering of several middle east countries, extreme xenophobic nationalism

In his manifesto Breivik is quite clear about the “necessity” to kill lots of people to achieve those goals. He specifically mentions “cultural Marxists” on the left, which in his opinion, includes anybody who advocates tolerant “multicultural” societies. And in fact, the target he hit, a youth camp of social-democrats, is exactly what he wishes to aim for in his manifesto. The right wing blogs and forums where he posted and copied from are all distancing themselves now, but there is little doubt that they provided, the ideas, the ground and the fertilizer for Breivik’s lunatic views. Indeed, there is a method to the madness.

“Progress,” Norway's second-largest party, commanded 23% of the vote in the last elections. A recent poll revealed that half of all Norwegians favor restricting immigration. Some experts on the far right believe Breivik is an extreme manifestation of the conservative mindset. The fact that Breivik chose the internet to disseminate his ideology is important. His journey to terrorism was forged within a network of blogs where violence is glorified and multiculturalism despised, along with those who embrace it.

In Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache, the Freedom party leader who associated with neo-Nazis in his youth and who is now neck-and-neck with the governing social democrats at the top of opinion polls, fired a party official who responded to the atrocities by declaring that the real danger was Islam rather than Breivik. The same party used a computer game as a campaign tool last year. In Mosque Bye-bye, the players zapped Muslim prayer houses, only to be told that the southern Styria region of Austria is "full of mosques and minarets". The idea for the game was imported from neighboring Switzerland where the rightwing Swiss People's party has powered its anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant referendum campaigns with potent, inflammatory posters almost always in stark red, white, and black, recalling Third Reich propaganda – grasping black hands scooping up red-and-white Swiss passports, three white sheep kicking a black sheep off a red-and-white Swiss flag.

This is a bleak cultural scenario indeed, unworthy of Europe’s cultural heritage. But what may be the most disturbing phenomenon of all is that this  right wing EU extremism detectable in the Scandinavian countries, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, just to mention a few,  has been radicalized by the same online process as many of the jihadists they so loath. It is the old ethical fallacy of fighting fire with fire and that one wrong cancels another, and two wrongs somehow make a right. To this mind-set, terrorism cancels terrorism: so much for modern 18th century “enlightenment.”

Sadly, what we have presently is a EU that has taken an ominously familiar road: that of xenophobic nationalism and right wing final solutions, the same road taken by Italy and Germany after World War I, otherwise known as Fascism and Nazism. It is partially hidden by economic prosperity and soccer games galore (the Roman bread and circus) and a political system which, at least outwardly by and large remains democratic, but this incipient slow cancer seems to be endemic not only to the EU but to the whole Western world: in America is goes by the name “tea-party,” a group of political fanatics, avowedly populist, who are hostile to democratic procedures and compromises and cultural toleration; they advocate “their way or the highway,” and are willing to jeopardize even the economic welfare of their country for the sake of an extreme political ideology. Many of them have declared Ayn Rand of Atlas Shrugged fame, their philosophical-political hero.

One is bound to ask: would these people loath another civil war? There is already one such politician from Texas that has advocated secession and will probably run for president next year. The question seems appropriate since the same Breivik was in good communication with “Stormfront,” a US white supremacist forum run by a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, rather popular among neo-Nazis around the world and at one point of his manifesto warns that Britain will be among the first western countries to face a “civil war due to Muslim immigration.”

How similar to Muslim terrorism the terrorism advocated by the extreme right in the EU can be garnered by a fanatical association called Nordisk (Nordic), which has more than 22,000 members and to which Breivik registered in 2009. This Nordisk forum was established in 2007 by the Nordiska Förbundet (Nordic League) organization, which itself was founded in 2004 by the Nazi Swedish Resistance Movement. Members of Nordisk openly incite violence unreservedly. In March 2010 an anonymous poster delivered a seemingly eerie premonition of Breivik's Oslo attack. "Cars parked next to large buildings with fertiliser + diesel give a nice blast. Skyscrapers go down like the World Trade Centre towers."

The Breivik, and indeed the whole ideological apparatus of the EU extreme right is fallacious, nefarious, illogical and intellectually dishonest, but I am afraid that it will unfortunately find its devotees. We can now expect copycats or wannabe Breiviks eager to follow his pernicious ideological strain. He may even be elevated to the status of a “martyr” for the cause, or in other words “a true believer.” Jung may have had it on target when he said that one throws religion out the window at one’s own risk for it usually comes back the back door via a cult or an ideology.

Let me conclude with this thought: lately I have contributed a couple of articles for Ovi magazine where time and again I have stressed the undeniable fact that the EU founding fathers had a politico-social vision which was imbued with their Christian heritage and faith, as theorized and practiced by them, and that the EU will remain the New Europe in search of a soul and a compass until it returns to its origins and grasps such a vision once again.

What needs to be kept well in mind, however, is that for the founding fathers (Schuman, Aidenauer, De Gasperi, Don Sturzo, etc.) such a vision remained universal and multi-cultural and was based on the solid foundation of freedom and democracy. Those who go around debunking religion in general and Christianity in particular, as the cause of all political evils, may be building on sand in the vain hope that a cultural identity may be built on mere economic considerations. That is like putting the cart before the horse. A genuine cultural identity ought to precede an economic-political union. Alas, those putting the cart before the horse may be rendering a great disservice to the unitary multicultural vision of the founding fathers which, if well understood, could prove the solution for an elusive EU cultural identity. Indeed, we have found the enemy, and it is us.

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Sadharon2011-08-02 17:18:27
I agreee with much of Emanuel's thesis here. For too long, our western world and its leaders have focussed on the evils of extremists in the Muslim world, and have ignoored that such one-sided focus, esp. given that the so-called Islamists were responsible for only 0.4% since 2005, was wrong. As Dr. Siddiqui wrote in the MMN, with all the hatred spewed out against a minority community by our pundits and politicians, we often ignore the evil within the majority, who can produce their Tim McVeigh and Breivik.
Multiculuralism is not assimilation, a flawed notion, believed by morons lik Sarkozy. It is respect of diversity, much like what has happened and displayed in places like NY and LA. The identity of the Indians, Koreans, Chinese, Philippinos, Japanese, etc. in their own shopping areas of the city like Little India, Little China, Little Korea, Little Bangladesh, etc. with signboards written in ethnic languages, do not come into conflict of being an American of various ethnic backgrounds. That is the model that Europe has yet failed to put up. As Dr. Siddiqui mentions even after 3 generations, the Turks and Algerians are not treated as equals in the German and French societies. Their roads to social mobility is no better than their forefathers who came to those countries.
Let's also face it multiculuralism is the future of our world, and not forced assimilation. You go to places like Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, there are now tens of thousands of technocrats from the West that have called those places their homes, much like what the other Asian, African and Latin Americans are trying to do - earn a living in the West hoping for better opportunities. Mind that majority of these migrants are no longer refugees, but immigrants. The economics of our time would force us to shift our paradigm of how we thought a century ago.

Center wing extremist2011-08-04 11:14:42
I don't agree with anything is written here. Yes the enemy is inside but it's the politicians that force colonization of Europe. I hope your children or grandchildren will not have to go in a school where they are minorities or will suffer from racist laws called "affirmative action". We need more Wilders in Europe!

Emanuel Paparella2011-08-04 16:05:57
The above "extremist" view confirms the worst fears expressed in the above article, unfortunately. It would appear that "colonization" is a one way street for this extremist. Obviously he does not have the foggiest of what colonization meant in from the year 1500 till 1945 when it was being practiced by the following European nations in America, Africa and Asia: Engliand, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Hollad, Italy. I suppose the extremist would call that kind of colonization civilizing missions. Indeed, they came to do good and did very well for themselves.

Center wing extremist2011-08-04 22:15:34
You speak about Schuman, Adenauer, De Gasperi, Don Sturzo, as founding fathers of the EU but these people had a completely different Europe in mind: firstly it was a community of western European states, secondly their goal was economic integration, peace and not colonization and islamization. In your article you speak about islam but there is no information about the fact that islam is a supremacist religion, it's not a religion that teaches equality. If Breivik would have killed 80 muslims or negroes the international reactions would have been much different, that'a already a proof of how Europeans are becoming second class citizens in their own countries. Breivik's mistake are not his ideas but the way he reacted to his comprehensible fears. No European fighter should feel alone, that's why democratic parties like the Dutch Freedom party of Wilders, the Lega Nord in Italy and the Austrian FPÖ exist.

Emanuel Paparella2011-08-04 23:09:43
Aidenauer, De Gasperi, Schuman were the founding fathers of the EU. It seems to me that in order to deviate from their vision it behooves us to know that that vision was. There are various interpretation but one thing it was not, it was a xenophobic, colonialistic, nationalistic, regionalistic, or fascist vision; to the contrary it was open to other cultures, universalistic and multi-cultural. It seems to me that to build a body politic on ignorance of its origins and foundation is to build on sand. The sad events taking place in the EU as we speak, amply confirm it, unfortunately.

Emanuel Paparella2011-08-04 23:11:39
Correction: the not was left out in the above comment. It ought to read: it was not a xenophobic...

Center wing extremist2011-08-05 00:31:11
There is also the aspect of misinformation. A lot of people are enjoying the freedom of informing themselves via internet. Interesting is to see that there have been nearly 18.000 islamic murderous terrorist attacks since 9/11, at this link you can find the list: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/index.html#Attacks - Speaking about islamic terrorism in Europe it should have been mentioned that a lot of attacks have been blocked preemptively by the police forces. In Europe, statistics about 'immigration' matters are normally manipulated, for example the origin and names of the criminals are omitted, in large cities like Berlin or Paris nearly all the violent crimes are committed by immigrants, especially muslims. In Oslo in the past five years 100% of the rapes have been committed by muslim asylum seekers. In one of the arab-turkish quarters of Berlin, Berlin-Wedding German students from the city centre are forced by the government to attend lessons in order to manipulate the criminal statistic of that school (= more German students less % crimes), in these kind of schools they are often discriminated and beaten. In England sharia law is already a reality for matters like divorce and domestic violence. Mosques and veiled women are spreading like mushrooms. Islamic segregation between men and women in swimming pools is becoming more and more frequent etc etc etc. This is not the vision of Schuman, Adenauer, De Gasperi and Don Sturzo, it is not even an European Union or national governments governing, it's just a series of criminal organisations.

R Griffin, Ph.D.2011-08-06 22:58:26
Thank you for your well considered reflections. I doubt I could ever share your admiration for Konrad Adenauer and Robert Schuman. Did the latter support the French occupation of "Indo-China"? Of "Der Alte Adenauer" and his support for stationing nuclear weapons on German soil against the advice of Germany's top scientists we will need to speak on another occasion. Meanwhile, thanks for your positive, forwarding looking comments.

Center wing X-Dreamist2011-08-07 02:01:10
Islam: What the West needs to know: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjq5Vi9Gc68

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