Friday 13 February 2015

A cold wind from Sweden

Continuing on from the previous post...

The latest Letter from Europe came from anti-Israeli activist/Swedish novelist Henning Mankell (author of the Wallander books).

In a dreary voice, Mr Mankell told us that Europe is built on immigration and that Europe must embrace and learn from all cultures, especially Arab and Muslim cultures. He said that anti-Muslim feeling is a growing problem, that European Muslims are feeling a cold wind on their faces and that they do not deserve to be on the receiving end of such feelings.

Having initially only mentioned the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and on the police and failed to mention the attack on the Jewish supermarket, I thought that Henning Mankell was going to ignore anti-Semitism completely, but he didn't. He briefly mentioned it, but only to describe it as equivalent to 'Islamophobia' and to airbrush away Muslim and left-wing anti-Semitism in Western Europe. His clear implication was that anti-Semitism is solely a white, right-wing phenomenon:
Anti-Semitism has never completely disappeared from Europe. It must be obvious to everyone that anti-Semitism and Islamphobia are two sides of the same coin. The argument from those you meet in Europe who claim the saviours of the European identity are mostly identical, whether they talk about Jews or Muslims. They are foreign. Their cultures have nothing to do with what is the pure European identity. Which is obviously not true. 
It's important to remember that, like the other letters in the series, this piece was specially-commissioned by the BBC Radio 4 as a response to the terrorist attacks in Paris and the anti-Islamisation protests in Germany. Thus, it tells us what BBC Radio 4 appears to consider the appropriate sort (and range) of responses.

That range appears to be very limited. Except for one portion of yesterday's talk, which completely contradicted Mankell's "obvious" equivalence point, the 'letters' have been quite remorseless in pushing pro-immigration, pro-Islam, and anti-'Islamophobia' angles.

This is just what we'd expect from the biased BBC, and the biased BBC hasn't surprised us here - except, perhaps, by how openly they've exposed their own biases.

The final piece, from Lydie Salvayre, will be on at 13.45 today. It doesn't look as if it will contain any surprises either and will doubtless reinforce the same basic message: Europe shouldn't fear Islamisation but should instead embrace Islam and mass immigration. 

We shall see.

And some hot air from Spain...

Update: 2.00pm We have seen. Lydie Salvayre's piece, closing the series, was entirely in keeping with this morning's 'letter' and most of the rest of the series.

Promising not be be 'high-flown', she outlined in high-flown language a variety of points.

The main focus of her piece was in wondering why "men" behave like the Paris attackers. She talked off the terrible state of the suburbs and the "stigmatisation" they faced as a community. She said they preferred death to life in the suburbs. She wondered about the kinds of "forsaken childhood", "loneliness", etc, they may have suffered. She blamed Western politicians for their actions around the world, and for sweeping the suburbs "under the carpet". She blamed us [more 'we-are-all-to-blamery' from this series]. She denounced our "double standards" over free speech. She bemoaned the fact that the world is "one vast corporate market place".

Then she began talking about "faith", "religion" and "fanaticism". Strangely, there was no mention of the words "Islam" or "Muslim". She studiously avoided them. She was far less coy about naming and shaming "Catholics" for supporting the "Francoist crimes" of the Spanish Civil War [and only the crimes of one side in that war seemed to bother her]. She described their "refusal of knowledge", their "madness", their "passion for ignorance". Her suggested explanation for all such behaviour is that "men" are "incapable of freedom".

She ended by saying that we should "not answer hate by hate" and by deploring "today's commentators" who say we don't want "the other". She herself doesn't want a culture of "sameness". Being half-Spanish, half-French, she's happy swimming "between two shores", between the two cultures, and recommends that we all try to do the same.


  1. Remorseless is the right word.

    The BBC aren't going to allow any deviation from the autobahn of political correctness.

    I am searching for a word to describe this particular territory of the mind - this province of political correctness.

    How about "Equivalence Dogma"?

    Because at its heart that seems to be what is being claimed:

    Islam is the "same" as Judaism.

    Islamophobia is the "same" as Anti-semitism.

    Protestors against Sharia law are the "same" as Islamic terrorists.

    Refugees from Communist East Germany and Fascist Spain are always the "same" as refugees from Arab regimes.

    All religions are "the same".

    And so on...

    Equivalence Dogma seems quite a good way of describing this "Samey-mania". Or maybe "Samey-mania" is better!

    One result of this stultifying dogma, much like older dogmas of the Catholic Church, is that intellectuals become incapable of real thinking: they simply express formulaic ideas. You can just about detect the tell tale flatness of tone of the dogmatic, those who no longer question or investigate, are no longer emotionally engaged.

  2. Yes, that critique is spot on. Very perceptive.

    I was listening too and had exactly the same reaction. Was he not going to mention the attacks on the Jewish supermarket? Well, as you say, he did mention antisemitism, but - still, not the supermarket!

    I wouldn’t have described his voice was ‘dreary’. It was measured and slightly doleful, with that air of “Hark! A great man is speaking’.

  3. Lydie's piece sounds like a repeat of her L'Humanite article and just as vacuuous of real understanding of the Jihadi phenomenon.

    The "poverty" narrative is obviously wrong in the sense of being a necessary or sufficient explanation for involvement in pro-Sharia activity or Jihadism.
    There have been plenty of middle class terrorists, including the leader of the 9-11 gang and the two "sleeper" Doctors involved in the Glasgow Airport terror attacks. Equally there are lots of poor animists and Christians in the banlieues who don't seek the violent overthrow of democracy.

    These people aren't intellectuals. They are anti-illectuals: they positively do not want ANYONE to explore the phenomenon of Jihadism. They seek to close down inquiry and debate. They have no interest in Islamic texts, or what is taught and preached in Mosques or what Muslims actually believe (as revealed by opinion surveys).

    So rather than seek lawful,non-violent and realistic solutions to the phenomenon, they are prepared to let the toxic mess continue.

    Collectively they have their fingers crossed - that's all. They just hope somehow that social optimism will triumph but they've no idea how to achieve that. You couldn't play a more dangerous game with the fate of some 500 million people.

  4. "Anonymous" has it spot on. Lydie's piece could have been generated by any left-wing computer, BBc's or otherwise , it is so boringly predictable.
    To my surprise, the BBC actually reported the 27 (?) Egyptian Coptic Christians who are being held hostage in Libya accused of a "Crusade" and converting muslims to christianity.
    "Equivalence Dogma" indeed.

  5. This also seems symptomatic of the BBC’s obsession with the opinions of people from the world of popular culture. Henning Mankell is the author of a series of crime novels, hardly a great thinker, Why should his opinion be accorded more gravitas than that of anybody else?

  6. Anonymous @ 12:21,

    The term you're looking for is "Post-Modern Relativism". It's the apotheosis of doublethink.


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