Monday, November 07, 2005

He Saw This Coming

A mile away.


In 1973, the French novelist Jean Raspail artfully predicted in the form of fiction the very real Palestinian-style intifada that now rages on the west bank of Europe: France. Ten years after the book's publication, Raspail described the "vision" he had, portrayed in the book, which lasted for ten feverish months:

"They were there! A million poor wretches, armed only with their weakness and their numbers, overwhelmed by misery, encumbered with starving brown and black children, ready to disembark on our soil, the vanguard of the multititudes pressing hard against every part of the tired and overfed West. I literally saw them, saw the major problem they presented, a problem absolutely insoluble by our present moral standards. To let them in would destroy us. To reject them would destroy them."

Raspail first published this haunting and apocalyptic novel, Le Camp Des Saints (The Camp of the Saints) in France. In 1975, it was published in America, where it was compared to Camus's The Plague and to Swift's Gulliver’s Travels. The book imagines a flotilla of millions of immigrants traveling from the Ganges to France. The similarities between the fictional France of the novel and the France of today are easy to spot.

Consider the plot. An all-powerful, multi-culturalist intelligentsia, having taught France that it must atone for its racist crimes, swiftly joins compassionate French Christians in ecstatically welcoming the mass invasion that brutally destroys France. The solicitude of white Frenchmen—the priests, intellectuals, student activists, and prostitutes who wish to embrace and assist the implacably angry new arrivals—is repaid by death. And terror: The immigrants loot everything in sight. They murder for new apartments. France is run into the ground. Raw and relentless, the novel is as brilliant as Orwell’s 1984.

Raspail dares to ask the hard questions: Are we our brothers' keepers? Must the West share all its resources with a barbarous East—even if it means our own demise? Can Europe and the West redeem themselves by becoming as impoverished as those they once colonized? What will be the consequences for France should it welcome profoundly hostile immigrants who do not wish to assimilate and whose own cultural and religious practices sanction violence, illiteracy, and gender and religious apartheid?

At the time Raspail published this book, he stood alone. Sympathy was very much on the "victim's" side. Europe could no longer save the Jews—they were all murdered or gone. Instead, beginning with France, Europe could save itself by saving "victims" from elsewhere, especially those whom France had previously colonized and who were also French citizens. Indeed, the less sympathy one had for France, the more entitled one was to "victim" status. The inverse held true: Many Algerians who had fought for France in the Algerian war of independence and moved "home" to Paris, found themselves unwanted...

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