Posted tagged ‘Eastern Europe’

Old Chestnuts to Mark a New Year

January 3, 2018

Old Chestnuts to Mark a New Year, PJ MediaBruce Bawer, January 2, 2018

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Only to the East could you find guts, straight talk, substance. Czech president Miloš Zeman spoke not like a parent lullabying his children to sleep but like a CEO being accountable to his shareholders: “The Czech Republic is the sixth safest country in the world…..We have the lowest level of unemployment in the European Union and also the lowest degree of income disparity.” Economic growth is high, public investment low; GDP is going up, but so should living standards. Welfare rolls and government bureaucracy should be cut; the EU must protect its external border and NATO must combat Islamic terrorism more vigorously. (Yes, he actually used the words “Islamic terrorism.”) “Nobody can dictate to us,” Zeman said, “whom we will allow onto our territory.”

Polish prez Andrej Duda also talked like a grown-up, focusing on his country’s economic growth and national security, celebrating its freedom and “the greatness of our history.” And Hungary’s Viktor Orbán was even more blunt, vowing that, unlike many peoples elsewhere in Europe, Hungarians would not “retreat behind concrete blocks” on Christmas or be “harassed in the New Year’s Eve crowd.” He emphasized the importance of protecting “Christian culture” at a time when “fundamentals of European life are under attack.” Where does Europe’s future lie? These Christmas and New Year’s speeches certainly left no doubt about the matter.

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Another year, another raft of televised Christmas and New Year’s speeches by the Western European heads of state and government who are busy whitewashing terrorism, buttressing the EU, and generally running their countries into the ground. As always, the Christmas addresses tended to be short on meaningful references to Christianity, while pretty much all the leaders skirted the harsh realities of mass immigration and steady Islamization, preferring instead to speak, in sunny, saccharine, and consistently vague terms, about community and volunteerism.

Take Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustav. His country is racing toward its doom, but you’d never know that from his fatuous Christmas oration, which began on a religious note (“A child is born”) only to pivot to the idea that Christmas’s message of “peace, joy, and fellowship” can be grasped by everybody, no matter “where one comes from or what one believes.” Similarly, while referencing the April 7, 2017, terrorist attack in Stockholm, in which five people died, the king did so within the context of praising those who’d helped others on that day – which enabled him to leave terrorism behind pronto and begin waxing poetic about mutual respect and community service. It was as if he believed one could heal social divisions with platitudes.

In the Netherlands, which are also undergoing galloping Islamization, King Willem-Alexander observed that even as Christmas is a family time, it “connects us emphatically with each other” – a fact that should lead us to ask “What are we doing for our community?” and “How do we live with differences?” His prescription: volunteer, help strangers, show curiosity about others, and seek out similarities with them. Like his brother monarch in Sweden, Willem-Alexander spoke as if his subjects’ problems could be cured with clichés.

King Harald V of Norway seemed to be using the same hack speechwriters as his Swedish and Dutch cousins. After lecturing his subjects about the good in every person, he celebrated – what else? – volunteerism and community service and argued that building a better society means including people from every background and letting them “contribute on their own terms” (whatever that means). Harald, who has previously dismissed the importance of Norwegian culture and identity, went there again, proclaiming that “there are over five million different stories about who we are” (that’s Norway’s population) and that “we shouldn’t be surprised that different people in Norway live by different values.” Even more than Carl Gustav and Willem-Alexander, this clown has no business on a throne.

Belgium’s King Philippe is no prize either. In his annual salutation, he recalled a palace visit by a group of children, one of whom “mentioned how lucky we are to live in a country as beautiful as Belgium.” This led to a stretch of insipid rhetoric about the “rich inner beauty” in each of us “that deserves to be cultivated.” Philippe also recounted a recent meeting with some “young people of immigrant origin” who “developed social-integration projects” to cultivate their “self-esteem” and whose “beautiful” facial expressions “spoke volumes.” (Philippe spoke on Christmas Eve, but was mum on the holiday itself, even though his opening bit about those children visiting the palace would’ve made it natural to precede it with a reference to “a child being born.”)

Which one of these kings is worst? Hard to say. As usual, Queen Margrethe of Denmark outdid them all: she didn’t say anything brave or profound, but at least she didn’t say anything downright idiotic. And Queen Elizabeth was even better, perorating with refreshing candor and near-eloquence about her Christian faith at the end of a year when London and Manchester had undergone “appalling attacks.” (Unlike others, QE2 didn’t feel called upon to be religiously inclusive when speaking on a Christian holy day as head of an established church.)

Then there were the elected nabobs. Were they worse than the crowned heads or better? You decide. In France, the streets of whose major cities have become crowded with immigrant tent camps, President Emmanuel Macron promised to “end homelessness” but not mass immigration, which he framed as a moral issue. (Meanwhile, as a result of that mass migration, more than 1,000 cars were burned up across France in what has become a cherished New Year’s Eve tradition, and French cops were being beaten up by culture-enhancers, a development that Interior Minister Gerard Collomb called “savage.”)

As for Angela Merkel, she admitted that while many Germans like their country as it is – and even work with refugees – others “are worried about social cohesion,” apparently because they’re “unable to keep up with the pace of our time.” (Get it? If they have a problem, it’s their fault.) After agreeing that high crime and immigration levels are “realities” and thanking the police – who at that very moment, she said, were “protecting our country’s many New Year’s parties” (you’d think there’d have been a glint of embarrassment in her eyes when she brought up the cops, but nope) – Merkel stressed that Europe should remain “one community.” (It’s presumably in pursuit of that objective that Beatrix von Storch, deputy leader of the Alternative für Deutschland party, risks being charged with “incitement to hatred” after criticizing Cologne cops for tweeting a New Year’s message in Arabic.)

Theresa May, for her part, was brisk and businesslike, claiming to make progress toward Brexit and promising more cash for “our schools, our police, and our precious NHS.” After some predictable pabulum about “peace” (good) and “extremism” (bad), May asserted her goal of “eliminat[ing] all prejudice and discrimination” and of establishing “a public sphere where debate is constructive and courteous.” (Which, I suspect, means: we’ll keep letting in jihad preachers but retain the ban on Islam critics like Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller, and continue the policy of ignoring actual crimes while vigorously investigating and prosecuting “hate speech.”)

So much for Western Europe. Only to the East could you find guts, straight talk, substance. Czech president Miloš Zeman spoke not like a parent lullabying his children to sleep but like a CEO being accountable to his shareholders: “The Czech Republic is the sixth safest country in the world…..We have the lowest level of unemployment in the European Union and also the lowest degree of income disparity.” Economic growth is high, public investment low; GDP is going up, but so should living standards. Welfare rolls and government bureaucracy should be cut; the EU must protect its external border and NATO must combat Islamic terrorism more vigorously. (Yes, he actually used the words “Islamic terrorism.”) “Nobody can dictate to us,” Zeman said, “whom we will allow onto our territory.”

Polish prez Andrej Duda also talked like a grown-up, focusing on his country’s economic growth and national security, celebrating its freedom and “the greatness of our history.” And Hungary’s Viktor Orbán was even more blunt, vowing that, unlike many peoples elsewhere in Europe, Hungarians would not “retreat behind concrete blocks” on Christmas or be “harassed in the New Year’s Eve crowd.” He emphasized the importance of protecting “Christian culture” at a time when “fundamentals of European life are under attack.” Where does Europe’s future lie? These Christmas and New Year’s speeches certainly left no doubt about the matter.

Why it’s Mostly Quiet on the Eastern Front

September 6, 2016

Why it’s Mostly Quiet on the Eastern Front, Front Page MagazineHugh Fitzgerald, September 6, 2016

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Almost no one in Eastern Europe is taken in by apologists for Islam, because they have within living memory experienced other enormous curtailments to their freedom.

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Sometimes life sends along something to cheer us up. It did so for me, when I came across a stemwinder of a speech made in the Czech Parliament a few months ago by one of its members, Klara Samkova. Samkova is a left-of-center — not “far-right,” even if the Western press would like to label her as such — politician mainly known as a defender of minorities, especially the Roma. In the past, she was even prepared to collaborate with the Union of Czech Muslims, though after being mugged by Muslim reality, that collaboration has stopped. Her speech was part of a parliamentary hearing on the topic “Should We Be Afraid Of Islam?” (Imagine any Congressman in Washington daring to frame a debate in that way, given that in this country, whatever explanation we give for terrorist acts committed by Muslims, It Has Nothing To Do With Islam).

There are two alternative answers to that parliamentary question.

Either:

1) No, Islam is being maligned by Islamophobes using scare tactics, so don’t be worried.

2) Yes, Islam is definitely a danger wherever it spreads – be worried!

The first is what we keep being told by political and media elites all over Western Europe and North America, who are willing to mislead because they don’t know how, at this point, to handle the truth about the ideology of Islam. The second is what you are more likely find in countries whose recent history has taught their people, and governments, some tough lessons; in Europe, those countries were formerly under Communist rule.

After the Brussels attack, the head of Poland’s largest party announced that “after recent events connected with acts of terror, [Poland] will not accept refugees, because there is no mechanism that would ensure security.” Victor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, declared that “we do not like the consequences of having a large number of Muslim communities that we see in other countries, and I do not see any reason for anyone else to force us to create ways of living together in Hungary that we do not want to see….” Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, announced that “Islam has no place in Slovakia.” The Czech Republic, which had in the past taken in a few thousand Muslim migrants, regrets even that, to judge by the remark of its President, Milos Zeman, this January, that “it is practically impossible to integrate Islam into Europe,” and made clear that the Czechs will not be taking any more.

On the Eastern Front of the war of self-defense against Islam, experience has taught people to recognize Islam as what Klara Samkova describes, as not so much a religion as a “totalitarian ideology,” akin to Nazism and Fascism and Communism, that attempts to regulate every facet of a Muslim’s life through the Sharia, or Holy Law of Islam:

“The law [Sharia] is an intrinsic and inseparable part of the Islamic ideology. It constitutes the core of the content of Islam while the rules claimed to be religious or ethical are just secondary and marginal components of the ideology. From the viewpoint of Islam, the concept of religion as a private, intimate matter of an individual is absolutely unacceptable.”

Islam is a collectivist faith (Samkova: “the concept of religion as a private, intimate matter of an individual is absolutely unacceptable”). For those, like the Czechs, whose history includes enduring the collectivism of Nazism and Communism, this aspect of Islam must be particularly troubling. Muslims often pray together in very large numbers, in serried ranks of zebibah-thickening submission, and receive their understanding of Islam together in the madrasa and the mosque. They are taught to defend the Umma, the world-wide community of Believers, and as a community to spread the message of Islam, employing the many instruments of Jihad, from combat [qitaal] to demography.

As for the morality of Islam, Samkova says that this “is not a matter for individual judgment,” but consists in following the rules derived from what was set out long ago in Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira, and codified in the Sharia. Another source of Islamic morality – if it can be called that – is the behavior of Muhammad, as both the exemplary model of conduct, uswa hasana, and the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil. Few non-Muslims would agree that the Muslim Prophet’s life – including the murders of those who mocked him, his raid on the Khaybar Oasis, his marriage to little Aisha, the decapitation of bound prisoners – corresponds to their moral code.

According to Samkova, in Islam, the period of the Prophet Muhammad and of the earliest Muslims is that to which devout Muslims must always strive to return:

Islam doesn’t share the Enlightenment’s idea of the social progress associated with the future. According to Islam, the good times have already taken place – in the era of Prophet Mohammed. The best things that could have been done have already been done, the best thing that could have been written has already been written, namely the Quran.

Muslims such as the Wahhabis look not to some imagined future, but back to the Golden Age of Islam – and their mission as Believers is to bring back an Islam that resembles that of its earliest period, to strip Islam of its later, illegitimate excrescences. And for non-Muslims, that “pure” Islam of the early period is even more dangerous than the Islam that, in the centuries since, through accommodation with custom, had its hard edges softened. That belief in a Golden Age of Islam helps explain why, in a recent poll, fully a third of Muslims, though living comfortable and well-subsidized lives in today’s Germany, expressed a desire to live as they did in the earliest days of Islam, the time of the Prophet and the Companions.

Samkova keeps blasting away:

Unfortunately, Islam doesn’t want to be miserable on its own. It wants to take the rest of the world down with it.

Islam doesn’t respect development, progress, and humanity. In its despair, it is attempting to take the rest of the mankind with it because from the Islamic viewpoint, the rest of the world is futile, useless, and unclean.

Islam is a static faith; there is no “progress” in Islam. For the True Believer (and we should, to be fair, recognize that not all Muslims are such True Believers), the just society will attempt to conform to the earliest, truest Islam of Muhammad. Its “morality” is derived not from the workings of the individual conscience, but from taking the Qur’an literally, solving internal contradictions in that book by applying where necessary the interpretative doctrine of naskh (or “abrogation”) and, especially, following as closely as possible the moral example of the Prophet Muhammad as he is depicted, in word and deed, in the Hadith. As for the “rest of the world” – that is, all non-Muslims – they indeed lead “futile, useless, and unclean” lives, in the view of devout Muslims, unless and until they embrace Islam. According to the Qur’an, it is the Muslims who are the “best of peoples,” the non-Muslims who are the “vilest of creatures,” and it is the solemn duty of Muslims to spread Islam until it everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule everywhere. This has nothing to do with naive Western hopes placed on “coexistence” with Muslims; “coexistence” is what Muslims in the West will give lip service to, until such time as they are strong enough to drop even the pretense of wanting to continue that state of affairs.

Samkova is not fooled by the “Muslim” version of the International Declaration of Human Rights — the so-called “Cairo Declaration” – which is presented by Muslims as almost the equivalent of the original, but in its 22nd Article severely limits the free speech rights to that speech which does not violate the principles of the Sharia, or otherwise “violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets”: “Islam and its Sharia law is incompatible with the principles of the European law, especially with the rights enumerated in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights (and Freedoms) [or with the International Declaration of Human Rights]:

One has only to compare the International Declaration of Human Rights with its so-called “Islamic” version, the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, to see how widely they differ on freedom of expression: the latter is based firmly on the Sharia and does not protect freedom of speech and the press as we in the West define it:

“Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Sharia.” (Cairo Declaration, Art. 22.a)

“(Information) may not be exploited or misused in such a way as may violate sanctities and the dignity of Prophets, undermine moral and ethical values or disintegrate, corrupt or harm society or weaken its faith.” (Cairo Declaration, Art. 22c)

Samkova observes that Muslims are well-versed at exploiting the much greater freedoms the West offers them than the countries they came from, to undo that very West:

Islam likes to hide behind the religious mask [for] its permanent, deliberate, and purposeful abuse of the Euro-American legal system and values that the civilizations built upon the Judeo-Christian foundations have converged to. There’s nothing better or more efficient than to abuse the value system of one’s enemy, especially when I don’t share that system. And that’s exactly how Islam behaves. It wants to be protected according to our [Western] tradition which it exploits in this way, while it is not willing to behave reciprocally. It relies on our traditions, it claims that the traditions are important, while behind the scenes, it is laughing at us and our system of values.

Muslims in Europe want to have their own relentless assault on Western religions protected by freedom of speech guarantees, but are determined to try to censor, as undeserving of such guarantees, any criticism of Islam, which they are quick to describe as “hate speech” directed at Muslims. The freedom of conscience they have in mind is aimed at non-Muslims only, and only for one thing: they should be “free” to revert to Islam; Muslims, on the other hand, have no freedom to leave Islam. That kind of apostasy is punishable by death. Thus, this “freedom” is distinctly one-sided.

And Samkova is keenly aware that Muslims present themselves as constant “victims” because, having been allowed to settle within the West, they are sometimes thwarted in their multifarious attempts to transform, steadily and systematically, that very West, so that it becomes, ultimately, part of Dar al-Islam. Samkova suggests that we need a lot more of such thwarting, but she believes that the West won’t muster the energy and courage to do what needs to be done, and that force will ultimately be necessary. In that respect, she’s a pessimist. But she thinks the West will in the end rise to the occasion, and ultimately “crush” Islam, the way it crushed, she says, Nazism and Communism. This, I suppose, is a kind of ultimate optimism.

Islam is, Samkova continues, a belief system based on a regressive view of the world. The idea of progress does not exist; in Islam, nothing supersedes the time of the Prophet.

Rather than working with the world – as Judaism and Christianity, or at least the civilizations that have arisen from them do – Islam is filled with hatred for it.

Judaism, Christianity, and the civilization that arose from them have surpassed this unjustifiable skepticism, this contempt of people for themselves. At the same moment, Islam remained a stillborn infant of gnosis, deformed into a monstrously mutated desire to blend with the Universe again, into a retarded obsessively psychopathic paranoiac vision about the exceptional nature of one’s own path towards the reunification of the essence of one’s devotee with God.

Samkova delivered much more in this relentless and ferociously anti-Islamic vein before the Czech Parliament. And it was not only her speech that gave me hope, but even more, the overwhelmingly positive reaction to it by her audience. Instead of denouncing her, as would have happened in Western Europe, and in the United States, too, virtually the entire Czech political establishment and the Czech media endorsed her views. One commentator noted: “The speech was generally applauded by almost all Czech commenters at Internet newspapers of all political colors. But she’s not really exceptional, if you get the logic. It’s a speech that she gave, it was tough …But the underlying ideas are absolutely generically accepted by the Czech society…. what she said simply isn’t taboo in our society.”

No doubt a history of having been betrayed at Munich has made Czechs acutely wary of entrusting their security to others (such as attempts by the E.U. to dictate policy on migrants), and having had to endure both the Nazi occupation and Communist rule has made Czechs aware that all-embracing ideologies must be taken seriously, whatever the post-Christian nullifidians of Western Europe may think. And when you do not take your freedoms for granted, as they do not in the Czech Republic, or in Hungary, or in Poland, or in Slovakia, with their defensive steel tempered in the fires of both Nazism and Communism, you become keenly aware of threats to them early on. And while in Western Europe there are such outstanding personages as Marine Le Pen in France, and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and Thilo Sarrazin in Germany, and Magdi Allam in Italy, all of whom have been warning about Islam, these are still regarded as political figures out of the mainstream, who stand out precisely because they still are assumed to speak only for a minority. That is changing, of course, as every day brings fresh news of people becoming firmer in their opposition to Islam, with the general run of politicians far behind those in whose name they claim to govern.

In Western Europe, even as many of the politicians dither, the people seem to have had their fill of aggressive Islam. At the end of August, 67% of the British, and 80% of Germans declared themselves in favor of a burqa ban. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’ party, the PVV, is now predicted to come out first in the next elections. In France, despite being struck down by the Conseil d’Etat, the burkini ban remains so popular that many of the mayors continue to flout the court’s finding. But despite these welcome developments, eastern Europe is still far ahead of western Europe in its grasp of the meaning and menace of Islam.

When Klara Samkova speaks in the Czech Parliament on Islam, she speaks for practically everybody in the Czech Republic (“her underlying ideas are absolutely generically accepted by the Czech society”). Almost no one in Eastern Europe is taken in by apologists for Islam, because they have within living memory experienced other enormous curtailments to their freedom. Right now, in Europe, the threat to human freedom comes not from Communists or Nazis, but from the Total Belief-System of Islam. Whatever one makes of Klara Samkova’s own prediction of unavoidable violence in Europe, followed by inevitable for the indigenous non-Muslims – her pessimism morphing into optimism — we should all be grateful to her for stating forthrightly about Islam home-truths that politicians, and not only in Prague, can’t restate often enough.