Essay – Europe should actively aim to deconvert its Muslim population through welcoming kindness, it’s the only option it has
تا پیروزی به نافرمانی مدنی علیه حجاب اجباری ادامه میدهیم. ورودی مسجد بیاد #دختران_خیابان_انقلاب #چهارشنبه_های_سفید
Until our victory, we will continue our civil disobedience against compulsory hijab. Here, at the entrance of the mosque in memory of the #GirlsOfRevolutionStreet pic.twitter.com/j8ayc0ZLW9
— My Stealthy Freedom (@masihpooyan) 11 april 2018
The most important question in any Pan-European forum is: what, and who, is European? For an organization like the European Union, the answer is easy; a coalition of all European nations. Unfortunately, that is an answer to a different question, namely, how we prevent interstate war in Europe. It is, I believe, the right answer. But now we have a new challenge. We are faced with a large minority from an Islamic background, a significant amount of whom cherish beliefs and conduct themselves in ways that threaten the foundations of European civilisation. Not simply because they oppose our values, but that the simplest, most radical solution that comes to mind, is even more of a threat to us and our values. We appear stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. If Europe fights, it loses as a culture, it will die; if we try to swim away, we drown. But perhaps there is a third option.
Firstly, I want to introduce you all to a man who has long been associated with the political left, and has currently formed part of the unholy triumvirate (along with Steve Biko and Achille Mbembe) of thinkers in the emerging black nationalism/fascism in South Africa. His name is Frantz Fanon.
His story is not exactly the story of a racist, of a mindless resentful radical, as many who identify with the right see him. Nor is he an enlightened shepherd of the coming end of universal history in which race and gender will be dissolved, as the “left” fantastically wishes to imagine. He is, instead, a black European who was betrayed by his people, and responded by creating the most vicious philosophy of revenge I know of, whose followers are now threatening to eradicate the last outpost of European settlement on the African continent. Just check out South-African MP and “Commander-in-Chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters” Julius Malema below, if you want to see what my people have to fear.
Yes, I am a white South African.
Today, in the modern world, the way in which we speak of values and depth of character has become fraught. The use of the powerful and noble language of friendship and comradery, of honour and courage, truth and beauty has become rare. People like Jordan Peterson have made headway in the public because our thirst for the moral currency of the bygone ages of apparent moral certainty is at this point approaching existential deprivation. It makes most modern people quail, these ideas of respectability and responsibility stick in the throat, like “I love you” sticks in the throat of an awkward teenager who barely understands the gravity of the thing itself. And in the past, we abused these sacred words. We spoke of honour, yet betrayed. We spoke of freedom, yet we enslaved. We spoke of fraternity, yet slaughtered our brethren. We spoke of spreading civilization, but when those we civilized wished to participate in that civilization, we lost heart, and turned them away.
The racist betrayal of a black European patriot
Franz Fanon is one these men. Born on the island of Martinique in 1925, he was a member of the tiny black middle class, and went to the best school on the island. Seeing the violence of the Vichy forces in Martinique as the Second World War broke out, he committed to joining the Gaullist forces in France. He was posted to Casablanca, and fought in Alsace. For his courage, he was awarded the Croix-de-Guerre. And yet, as the victorious Allied French forces marched into Paris, he along with all black French soldiers, were made to leave their regiments and march at the back of the victory parade. The liberated women often preferred to dance with the fascists who terrorized them than with the black members of the armies who liberated them. Though Fanon was taught in high school by the black-radical Aime Cesaire, he writes that he did not truly feel drawn into that radicalism as he was after the war. Even then, rather than be drawn into the ideas of cultural relativism or the praise of stereotypically “black” behaviour (like Cesaire’s ‘négritude’), he aspired to the ideas of the Western Enlightenment – longed to be seen as a rational, reasoning person; not white or black, but European.
But after being exposed to a racist betrayal of his noble sacrifice for Europe, he returned to Martinique and his old teacher Aimé Cesaire, and after repatriation helped him campaign for office in the Communist Party. He completed his baccalaureate, and left for the University of Lyon to become a psychiatrist. As he boarded the boat at Fort-de-France, his entire community came, in their hundreds, to watch him leave, the first of his people to attend a French university – a great honour.
He not only studied medicine, but dedicated himself to Western Philosophical thought, absorbing radical and revolutionary ideas. And yet he criticised Aimé Cesaire’s négritude for perpetuating black stereotypes and insisted that, rather than being proud of being black, one should instead cultivate pride in yourself as a human being, a rational individual. He married a white woman, Josie.
In his case studies as a psychiatrist, he noted that the violent trauma created by revenge and extreme violence destroyed the very soul of those who committed the act. The way that a Muslim immigrant who murdered his white mistress’s husband was devastated by the weight of his actions, suffering from what we would now call PTSD. Murderers tend to become either animals or wrecks – it is the entire reason for the old gas chambers: German soldiers were losing their minds as they were forced to kill en masse in person. But he was still dedicated to the same values which drew him to fight for the Resistance during. For this reason, he joined the Algerian Front de Libération Nationale (FLN).
Seeing the violence and torture visited on the Algerian resistance to French rule by the French officials, the state-sponsored terrorism and vicious torture, he abandoned his conciliatory attitude. The violence of the French state called for more violence, for it was “the only language they understood”. Going against his clinical experience, he claimed that the miserable, self-hating inferiority complex of the natives could only be cured through bloodshed.
More to the point, he inserted that they could only be spiritually liberated through the exercise of violence, specifically against the Pieds-Noires. Violence he said, was a good in itself – no liberation was complete unless taken at gunpoint, it could not be given. He naively came to believe that the FLN would usher in an age of compassion and enlightenment in Algeria, where humanity was finally realised. He never got to see the truth, and died of leukaemia in 1961, leaving his wife to publish his final political manifesto, The Wretched of the Earth posthumously. When the FLN turned out to be the bloodthirsty gang of tyrants history knows them to be, his widow committed suicide in despair, after the bloody purges of 88/89.
Europe should not ignore its colonial history
There are several things Fanon’s life teaches us, as Europeans. For one, we cannot simply shut out our colonial history and hope it goes away. If anything, our inability to address this is what fuels the insanity of the radical left in Western academia today, the facile defenders of radical Islam. Chiefly, it is transparent to me, that if the European authorities of his day had recognised the voluntary sacrifice he made on behalf of Europe, his radicalisation may never have taken place in the way it did. Certainly, if they had shown evenhandedness and restraint, rather than racist barbarism in Algeria, the FLN would not have had such a firm political foundation from which to draw support.
Fanon was raised in a colony, and educated in French society, through modern science and Western Philosophy. He dressed, ate and spoke European. So why did he “betray” Europe? Well, for fear of stating the obvious, because Europe betrayed him. And in doing so, Europe betrayed its own values. This does not justify the more repugnant aspects of his philosophy. But when things started burning, Fanon knew which side he would run to for shelter, and it wasn’t Europe, to whose ranks he once aspired. The same goes for our own nativists here in Europe. They all know that when chaos visits, ethnicity is a shelter. But so is religion. Islam shelters all who call themselves Muslim and follow the rules.
Europe should assertively spread its values
There is a strong case to be made that Islamic culture and religion run counter to values Europe and the rest of the West holds dear. Its holy texts sanction violence against apostates, homosexuals, critics from within or without, slavery both in sexual and general labour, and encourages group punishment. Not merely as relics of a pre-Mohammedan past, but as a direct proclamation of the infallible prophet himself. And yet as we well know, ex-Muslims, who are without a doubt our greatest allies in this cultural struggle, which is of far greater importance than any other aspect of our current malaise, are subject to racial discrimination, and cynical use for political point-scoring.
Many on the right still cling to these old prejudices and practices. We cannot afford them anymore. There is only one goal – replicate and preserve our culture. The only way to do that is to welcome those who cast out of theirs. That does not mean immigration; we do not need more surplus low scaled labour, there are millions of unemployed Greeks, Italians and Spaniards.
It means that those with the will to abandon the cruel medieval superstition of their forebears should be welcomed into our social groups with open arms. Any European citizen of any ethnic origin or persuasion, who takes part in our celebrations, our rituals and our lives, should be embraced.
What are the end games?
It is likely that you are not convinced. So let’s get practical. Obviously, from as soon as possible, we must halt immigration. But in the long term, there are only two options. They’re a broad stroke, but big history doesn’t care too much for details, and they’re not an easy pill to swallow, but the alternative is a fragmented Balkanised Europe organized along tribal ethno-religious fault lines: One, Muslims are assimilated, or two, Europe expels them. If European people want to expel them, but their governments refuse to cooperate, European nations will fall apart. If some nations do decide to expel Muslims, which will require enormous resources, and quite a bit of coercion, it is a certainty that a large body of Europe’s native population will come to their defence.
By then, all the freedoms which make Europe Europe will be gone, in service of either enforcing or combating nativism, and maintaining order in the midst of chaos. No, there is only one option: deconversion. This too is a hard pill to swallow, and a fine line to tread, especially for many conservatives: it means we must all become acquainted with the contradictions in Islam, its cruelties and venality; then proceed to befriend those who believe these ghastly things are holy.
Don’t attack them, invite them in
Perhaps this is implausible to you. But the truth of the matter is, there are only two routes to deradicalization, or conversion, from any hateful way of life to any good one, and that is to invite people in. If you don’t believe me, check out stories on former neo-nazis, or ex-Muslims. People are never convinced to leave their religion by hostility.
None of us should shy away from speaking openly, and without vitriol about this. Ignoring scandals like Telford, disasters like Bataclan, and any other of a host of Islamist atrocities on our soil should no longer be accepted or tolerated. Islam is, without any deviation from appropriate context, a justification for great evil. But for the sake of our continued (co)existence, we cannot afford for Muslims to seek shelter amongst themselves.
Like Europe’s Christian cultural tradition ought to have taught it, vengeance will destroy us all, and only through the weary and often completely unrewarding slog towards compassionate recruitment can we hope to save ourselves from being torn apart. But let us make no sacred cows here. Let us continue to draw Mohammed. Let us continue to ridicule extremists, the petty cowards that they are, too small of mind to embrace new ideas, too weak of heart to embrace humanity. By fearing retribution, we will only empower them. By attacking them, we lose ourselves. They must live by the rules, and if they do, they must be treated as warmly as we do any neighbour.
What Europe offers, more than any other civilisation on the planet, is pleasure. Not simply the crass pleasure of gorging ourselves on food and casual sex, but the highest pleasures of the finest cuisine, music and architecture, literature and art, produced during the longest and most prolific period of freedom of association and expression any people anywhere in the world has ever seen. Because we are free, and have been for longer than elsewhere, Europe’s art and culture reflects its true nature more purely, more sincerely. I insist that since all people have that same spark of humanity, there is no cultural milieu in which they will be capable of more profound personal enrichment than here.
What does Islam offer? To any who join, its censoriousness denies the right to be honest, its puritanism denies the right to love freely and determine one’s destiny. Its vengeful wrath denies human compassion. Wherever it sets its boundaries, it clips wings, severs limbs, and suffocates mouths. To any left-leaning reader; yes, I acknowledge, we have done the same. But we do not believe in repeating the crimes of our forefathers, not even the vast majority of our most conservative brethren. We are the only civilisation in the history of the world for which that statement can be truly claimed. And that is why we are better.
There are no policies which can ever serve as a magic bullet. And yes, we are going to be cursed to live with at least a few evil extremists who don’t assimilate – most societies are. But we can drain their supports by putting our efforts into converting these people. Not as governments, but as individuals. Do you have a Muslim colleague? A classmate? Invite him to festivals, social gatherings, show him that there is a life beyond Islam, and that it might actually be better. And be a good friend. Betrayal and cowardice, the failure to stand up for a friend is met with a hardened hatred, a desire for revenge.
Muslims may be afraid of what their families would think. But so did Catholics, Protestants and Jews not so long ago. We will not survive swimming out into the seas of multicultural globalisation, and we cannot fight the devil without becoming like him ourselves, and being torn to pieces in the process. But if we can persuade a part of him to come with us, we can walk out of the trap as free people. It isn’t satisfying, but it is the only option we’ve got.