Isn’t it amusing how the press will cover a story, and so often, when it comes to anything having to do with “Islam, Responses To,” fail to grasp the most important thing. The papers have been full, the last weeks, of various stories. In Afghanistan, it has been about the war in Marja, the war being conducted by the Marines with almost no useful help from the “Afghan Army” that everyone was so counting on, the Afghan Army that, just like the Iraqi Army, has had American training and money and weapons lavished upon it, and high hopes placed in it. But as one Marine said, at least the Afghans, disappointing as their performance has been, are not as utterly hopeless “as the Iraqis.”
In Pakistan, we have learned that Ms. Siddiqui, the aider and abettor of Muslim terrorists who was tried and sentenced by the Americans, has become a national heroine, a cause celebre, the person everyone — everyone — supports against the perfidious Infidels, the Americans, the same perfidious Infidels who have spent tens of billions, perhaps hundreds of billions, on Pakistan, in both economic and military aid, over the past fifty years, while Pakistani generals have smiled, and flicked their imaginary fly-whisks, and put on a great show of Sandhurst-educated rectitude and straight-talking, even as they assured, one after the other, generations of American generals as to the true-blue steadfastness of that “staunch ally” of America, Pakistan.
And along the edges of the Marja offensive in Afghanistan, and stories about what is going on with the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan, comes another story, from seemingly far-off, quaint old teeny-tiny Europe. Europe! Where is it, anyway, this Europe we used to hear so much about? And why should it matter? I mean, who cares, anyway? What matters is that we are making things better, with our Army Of Social Workers, for all the people in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and maybe Yemen too, and just possibly add Somalia to that lucky list, and who knows where else in the Muslim lands whose peoples have become so very near, and so very dear, to us, ever since 9/11/2001, and their well-being so very important to us (far more important than the well-being of impoverished Christians in sub-Saharan Africa, or South America, who get none of our largesse and concern and support).
And why is their well-being so important to us? Well, if Iraqis aren’t happy, and Afghans aren’t happy, and Pakistanis aren’t happy, and Yemenis aren’t happy, and Somalis aren’t happy, then maybe some of those unhappy Iraqis and Afghans and Pakistanis and Yemenis and Somalis will turn to Al Qaeda, or some such, and then where will we be? So we’ve got to keep the wars-as-social-work going, we’ve got to make sure that while fighting these wars we don’t do anything to antagonize any of the Muslim locals, don’t fight the way we fought in World War II, for example, where the Europeans we were liberating, or the Filipinos for that matter, from the Nazi or Japanese yoke understood that war necessarily entailed civilian casualties, but did not turn on us or become our enemies. When the RAF bombed Copenhagen in 1944, and instead of hitting Gestapo headquarters hit a children’s hospital, killing 88 children and four nuns, what did the Danish Resistance do? Did it denounce the RAF, and tell it to change its ways, and never to use bombs (as the Americans are hardly using planes and airpower in Afghanistan) because it might cause “civilian deaths that are always unacceptable”? No, of course not. The Danes said: “We know you are sorry, but keep on coming. Don’t stop, keep it up.”
That is because the Danes were on our side. But in Afghanistan, the corrupt Karzai is quick to attack the Americans for, ludicrously, the kind of accidents that always and everywhere occur, and occur especially if the enemy never wears uniforms, and insists on fighting with civilians all around, civilians even gathered up or held as hostages in order to make it harder for an opposing force determined to scrupulously try to avoid civilian casualties (the Americans in Afghanistan, the Israelis in Gaza) to perform as effectively, with as little threat to its own forces as possible. Should the lives of Afghan civilians be rated higher than those of American soldiers? Why? That scrupulousness means little or no use of air power, and firing only when one is absolutely one thousand percent sure there are no civilians who could be hurt, and if it means not firing on an enemy who has just fired on you (you saw him) because he has also just dropped his weapon and looks defiantly at you, daring you to fire on him and knowing you won’t – well, that’s all part of the Grand Strategy of Winning Muslim Hearts and Minds. And those hearts and minds obviously count for so much more than those of non-Muslims, and especially of those non-Muslims in Europe now struggling to deal with their grim recognition of the reality they have created for themselves by so foolishly, in a moment of civilisational heedlessness, admitting into their midst millions of Muslims who have bred and bred, and are still out-breeding, and by far, the native non-Muslims, and whose aggression and violence and outrageous demands for changes in the legal and political institutions of Europe grow and grow pari passu with the growth in the Muslim population, which is supported by, even made possible by, advanced Western medicine and family subsidies of every kind that Muslims in Europe have taken advantage of in every possible way, and then some.
But clearly Europe doesn’t matter to American ruling elites any more, or at least not nearly as much as Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Pakistan, countries where we have poured in more money than was poured into all the many countries of Europe that were beneficiaries of the Marshall Plan.
Now, from Europe, or rather from the Netherlands, recently came news having to do with Afghanistan. And the news is this: Dutch government falls. That’s what the Times tells you. That’s what the Post tells you. But they don’t go into details, other than to tell you that the second most important political party in the ruling coalition, one headed by the Christian Democrats of Balkenende, is the Labor Party, and the Labor Party insists that when the commitment for Dutch troops to be in Afghanistan ends this coming August, it should not be renewed, the Dutch soldiers should be removed.
So far, so unremarkable. Everything fits. Just as it is people “to the left” who “wanted us out of Iraq,” and now “want us out of Afghanistan,” the Labor Party, famously soft on Islam, and full of people who made life difficult for Pim Fortuyn and who may in their campaign of vilification have encouraged his murderer (he certainly thought they were creating a dangerous climate), is the Party now pulling out of the ruling coalition. And here are the Christian Democrats, with Mr. Balkenende at their head, stoutly supporting – so the American press would have it – the American-directed effort of NATO forces in Afghanistan.
But that’s only part of the story. Mr. Balkenende is the leader of what the outspoken Geert Wilders describes as “the worst government in Dutch history.” And the fall of the government leads now to new elections, and a chance for the Freedom Party to increase the number of its seats. Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party are not in the ruling coalition now, but stand to gain many seats, both in the municipal elections to be held in early March, and in the Parliamentary elections now fixed for June 9. We are used to a narrative, and in this narrative, in Europe as here, it is only those who are “tough” on Islam who support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with all their attendant expense and attention-getting. The American press doesn’t tell you why one of the parties in the ruling coalition is pulling out, and they certainly don’t tell you what that tells you about the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders. It simply is not mentioned. Our journalist, our editors, our columnists, our pundits, or think-tankers, are so very lazy, and so very incurious. They wait to hear from someone who fills them in. Okay, that’s what I’ll do right here for them. I’ll fill them in.
The government of Bakenende – the “worst government in the history of the Netherlands” according to Geert Widers — has been willing to send Dutch troops to Afghanistan and is perfectly willing to renew their mandate. In American terms, in General-Petraeus and My-Weekly-Standard terms, that makes Jan Peter Balkenende a swell fellow, a true-blue ally. But is he? He is willing to send 1500 Dutch troops to help in this Afghanistan business, for two reasons. One, it doesn’t cost him very much to show that he’s not “soft on Islam.” Two, it is six thousand miles away, and has nothing to do with, in the end, what happens with Muslims in the Netherlands. The outcome in Afghanistan, whatever it may be, will have no effect on the power, and aggressive demands, and the expense of monitoring, and the threats to the physical security of non-Muslim Dutch citizens (most obviously Dutch Jews, but that is only because they are an obvious, and most seemingly vulnerable, target), and unsettlements of all kinds caused by the large-scale unchecked presence of Muslims in the Netherlands and the appeasement-minded response, so far, of many in the Dutch government.
The Huffington Post tells you that Geert Wilders is a “neo-fascist.” Why? What does the writer in the Huffington Post know about the Freedom Party and Geert Wilders that permits him to get away with such a characterization? If anything, Geert Wilders is someone who cares deeply about the treatment of the Dutch elderly, and the Dutch poor. It is Jan Peter Balkenende who wants to raise the age of retirement, the age at which the Dutch can receive their version of Social Security. It is the “neo-fascist” (in Huffingtonpostlect) Geert Wilders who wants to keep the age of retirement at 60, because it is he who worries most about the Dutch elderly, the people who lived through the War and then the aftermath, the rebuilding, after the War, and lived through the time of scarcity. Wilders knows that, among its many drains on Dutch society, the Muslim population uses up enormous amounts of the resources provided by Dutch taxpayers for benefits that were intended to help support not those who suddenly appeared with plural wives who do not work, and vast numbers of children, and husbands who also work at a rate far lower than non-Muslims, and engage in criminal activities of every kind at far higher rates than any non-Muslim group, whether Dutch or other recent immigrants. This is something he, Geert Wilders, knows, and the Dutch do too, and it is not “neo-fascist” to note this, nor to be particularly solicitous for the Dutch aged.
This won’t stop the newspapers from calling him and his Party “far-right.” Extreme Droite. Ultraderechista. Und so weiter, endlessly, the papers, the radio, the television controlled and staffed by those who will do everything they can to prevent the matter of Islam from being subject to serious scrutiny, along with their own role in the criminal negligence all over the Western world that led to the arrival in Western Europe by so many Muslims, who have created a situation for the indigenes that is more and more unpleasant, difficult, expensive, physically dangerous.
No, in these newspaper accounts, and on radio and television, it is never simply “Geert Wilders and the Freedom Party.” Or, if a placing adjective were deemed important, never the simple, and untendentious “Geert Wilders of the center-right Freedom Party,” though “center-right” is exactly what, the Freedom Party is. Indeed, in some of its positions, such as the support for increased aid for the elderly and the lack of enthusiasm for Dutch military involvement in Afghanistan, it would by most detached observers to be seen as deserving the adjective “center-left.” (Wilders knows that what happens in Iraq and Afghanistan will not, given the stated American and NATO goals, lessen the threat to Infidels in the real theatre of war – that in Western Europe – and constitutes a confusing and very expensive distraction.)
But since we are going to have to endure many examples of this Homeric epithet being affixed to Wilders and his Party, let’s immunize ourselves in advance, shall we? Here goes:
Far-right, far-right, far-right, far-right, far-right.
Far-right Geert Wilders. Far-right Theo van Gogh. Far-right Pim Fortuyn. Far-right Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Far-right Magdi Allam. Far-right Oriana Fallaci. Far-right Robert Redeker. Far-right Maurice Dantec. Far-right Jacques Ellul. Far-right Henryk Broder. Far-right Pia Kjersgaard. Far-right Kurt Westergaard. Far-right Pat Condell. Far-right, far-right, far-right, far-right.
Far-right Winston Churchill. Far-right Andre Malraux. Far-right Alexis de Tocqueville. Far-right John Quincy Adams. Far-right John Wesley. Far-right, far-right, far-right, far-right.
Far-right, far-right, far-right, far-right, far-right, far-right, far-right.
Am I right? And am I, in this case, using these epithets to mock the way so much of the Western press mechanically uses them, very very very far from the far-right but — both relatively and absolutely — right?
In any case, I feel much better now, now that I’ve gotten that goddam “far-right” right out of my hair. You too, I suspect.
Now, where were we?
Yes, Geert Wilders, and the present Minister for European Affairs, a member of the Labor Party, a Mr. Timmermans. Timmermans is hysterically afraid, but is couching his hysteria in an ostentatious “reasonable and calm” tone, but one which reduces the justified fear, all over the Netherlands, all over Europe, all over the Infidel world, of Islam and those who take Islam to heart, as merely a matter of our psychic neediness, our requirement that we create, and then hate, the “Other.” Timmermans simply refuses to look around the world, for if he did, he would see that this need to “create the Other” is not limited to the Western world. For some reason Buddhists who saw the Bamiyan Buddhas destroyed, who know what Islam meant for tens of thousands of Buddhist temples and stupas throughout Asia, who know what Muslims have done to Buddhists in Bangladesh (where some remain in the Chittagong Hills area), and to Buddhists in Southern Thailand, also in their fear of Islam apparently have had to create “the Other.”
And Hindus, too, have had to create “the Other.” For they have been on the receiving end of Muslim murderousness and terrorism, in Afghanistan (where the Taliban made them wear, as dhimmis, identifying garb “for their own protection”), and in Pakistan, and in Bangladesh (where Hindus have been beaten to death by Muslim crowds for the sin of having been in the vicinity of a mosque when Friday Prayers let out), and in Indian-held Kashmir, and in India itself, where Muslim terrorism has never let up, but only now is being recognized not as a mutation of Islam, but an inevitable part of Islam, when Muslims feel they can get away with it. For violence is the original method of Jihad, the one that Muhammad used, and the other instruments of Jihad – the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest – were later additions to the Muslim armory. For more than a thousand years, violence – called qitaal – was the main weapon of Jihad. And those who have been on the receiving end of this, including many black Africans, and many Asians, would laugh at Frans Timmermans and his Eurocentric view of things – Eurocentric in the sense that matters, that he sees only what is happening in Europe, where he can construct a case against the local white West for reducing Muslim immigrants to “the Other.” Passing strange, is it not, that he doesn’t ask himself why so many other, but non-Muslim immigrants, are welcomed, and eventually integrated perfectly well into Dutch society? Don’t they, too, qualify to be regarded as “the Other” by the Dutch, in Frans Timmermans’ view? But they seem not to pose the same permanent, intractable problems as Muslims do. Might that have anything to do with the ideology of Islam? Or is Frans Timmermans, Man of the Left, as deeply respectful of something called, faute de mieux, a “religion” – as deeply respectful as was, in his day, George Bush? They would laugh even more bitterly in hearing Timmermans insist that the increasing dismay and distrust of the famously-tolerant Dutch for the Muslims in their midst is not based on reality, but only reflects the need of the Dutch, the need of the White West (fons et origo of everything that, in the view of the frans-timmermans of this world, needs to be changed) to create this “Other” and fill it with their own fears, their own baseless dread.
It is all so absurd. You can see for yourself the clever but vacuous Frans Timmerman at Youtube, where his message comes down to this: Who Are You Going To Believe, Me, Or Your Lying Eyes? Are you going to believe what you actually see, every day, if you live in Rotterdam or Amsterdam, or another Dutch city, or for that matter if you live in Malmo, or in Marseilles, or near the banlieues of Paris, or in Bradford or Leeds or a dozen other English cities? Are you going to believe what you read, with those same Lying Eyes, if what you read was written by a defector from the Army of Islam – say Wafa Sultan or Ayaan Hirsi Ali – or by a great Western scholar of Islam, and the greatest of all happens to have been a Dutchman, C. Snouck Hurgronje?
You think I’m being unfair to Frans Timmermans? Well, watch him in sly action, right here.
Go ahead. Let him be your psychoanalyst, telling you that you must “Confront Your Fears” and you must “embrace your fears” and stop, for god’s sake stop, making up all these stories about Muslims that reflect only your deep and unhappy psychic need to create an “Other.” Get over it. And note, please, that Islam is, top to bottom, and every which way including up, based on the strict division of the world between Believer and Unbeliever, Muslim and Infidel. And between the two there exists, Muslims are taught (in Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira), a state of permanent war (though not always of permanent warfare) between the two, until such time as Dar al-Islam expands and swallows up what remains of Dar al-Harb, and the whole world is gloriously submissive to Islam, and non-Muslims, those who may remain, are dhimmis, submissive to the rule of Muslims. In other words, Islam is based on the idea of “the Other.”
Maybe you don’t quite agree with the general view of all right-thinking people. Maybe you refuse to burn incense on the altar of various Idols of the Age, including those who simply invoke, and exploit, unopposed untouchable desiderata such as “Diversity” (unexamined, unanalysed, with no distinctions made as to the kind, the amount, the effect, of such “Diversity”). Maybe you think that there are a thousand reasons to worry about the large-scale Muslim presence in the tolerant, advanced, imperiled countries of Western Europe. Maybe you think that the Shari’a, in letter and spirit, flatly contradicts the principles that underlay the legal and political institutions that over the past four hundred years have been created in the Netherlands. Maybe you think that the Enlightenment, that had its beginnings not in France with Voltaire, Diderot, and d’Alembert, but much earlier, with Baruch Spinoza in the Netherlands, and which could never for one minute have occurred in lands where Islam dominates and Muslims rule, is worth defending. Maybe you think that art, that sculpture and the painting of living creatures that is forbidden in Islam, is worth protecting (Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hooch). Maybe you think that the free and skeptical inquiry that Islam discourages everywhere, and that is essential for the enterprise of science (and without science it will be impossible to ameliorate the mess we have made), needs to be protected. Maybe you cannot bear the collectivism of Islam, according to which individual Believers are not allowed to leave Islam because that would bring it, the Faith, into disrepute, and the true object of worship in Islam is Islam itself. Maybe you have learned something of what Muhammad said and did, and are horrified that Muslims regard Muhammad as the Perfect Man, al-insan al-kamil.
And if you are those things, you will have to support Geert Wilders and the Freedom Party. You may agree more on one matter with another party or another candidate, or on another matter with another party. You may agree with another party or candidate on everything, except on the meaning and menace of Islam, where you agree with Geert Wilders. And that means you have to ignore that preposterous epithet “far-right” and that absurd “xenophobia.” You have to see through all the desperate attempts to blacken his name, including the latest transparent attempt to trick unwary voters into believing that they can retain their moral sense only by voting against Geert Wilders. This attempt consists of publicizing some twelve-year-old Dutch girl’s sentimental screed about how “the Netherlands that Geert Wilders says he wants is not the Netherlands I recognize, because the Netherlands I recognize does not distinguish among people on the basis of their ideas, their religion, their race.” Really? Are these quite the same thing? Are “ideas” the same as “religion” and “race”? If that “idea” is the idea of Nazism, or Soviet Communism, is it impermissible to wish to prevent the adherents of those ideas from taking over, especially if they come from outside, and settle without so much as a by-your-leave in one’s own small and now imperiled country? Not so fast, please, with what is simply sentimental tosh when it comes from a twelve-year-child, but when it is deliberately exploited by adults who know exactly what they are doing, is not sentimental tosh but something far more sinister. Given what is at stake, you have to vote for the Freedom Party candidates. His party ran last week in two of nearly 400 districts, and came in first in Amere and second in the Hague. Now come the elections of June 9. If you are Dutch, reading this, you know whom to vote for. You can do no other. And if you are not Dutch, and did not know before whom the Dutch should vote for, and why, I hope that now, by this last phrase in the last sentence in the last paragraph, you too, know what they should do.