Friday, September 24, 2004

82. Letter to a Friend in Spain

I just know they are going to re-elect Bush. It's like waiting for the other shoe to drop. Twenty years of war, conscription revived (how can they do it otherwise?), fear, travel restrictions - Cat Stevens? - while America tries to take over the world. It's not going to happen. We can't let it happen. Yeah, right, how?

Dear old civilised (blood-drenched) Europe. What are we going to do with this idiot? What are we going to do with the flood of immigrants?

The European governments finally make sense. They have actually learned something from the nationalistic rivalries of the last two centuries, as in leave that stuff behind. The problems they face now are different problems. One is the dangerous behaviour of the United States and the other is the very real pressure from economic immigrants with no intention whatsoever to integrate into the local cultures. This is a serious consideration. How can little countries absorb all these people and still hold on to a national identity that goes back in most cases for a 1000 years and more? Denmark, Norway, Ireland, for example? We have seen the problems already in Britain, France and Italy.

Spain, too, perhaps.

Europe has reached a point in its history where it wants to be liberal, sophisticated, and relaxed. We adore travelling, exercising our language skills, eating well, and drinking fine wines. It's all very pleasant and civilised. Unfortunately. it's like the latter stages of the Roman Empire with the barbarians at the gates. We have two lots of barbarians to choose from. On one side we have the Americans and on the other we have about 900 years of built-up resentment against the West in general and the Yanks in particular (now, anyway) on the part of the Islamic World. A war of civilizations, we are told -- the last thing we bloody well need. Is this really necessary? Nevertheless, we are being asked to choose sides. This is not only unwanted and tiresome but we are also being forced into a situation which is perilous and not of our own making.

Fight? We know how to fight only too well. The history of Europe is a record of endless warfare and violence. We've been through it for centuries and we are sick of it. Only a few years ago we saw how easy it is for prejudice and hatred to get started again. That was the Balkans. People say the Balkans are always going to be difficult because the people are "backward" and the area is a patchwork of ethnic resentments. Look around. Put a compass on a map with the centre where you live. Draw a circle with a 100 km radius and tell me everybody is the same. Oh, yes, but that was the old days of Napoleon, Bismarck, the Kaiser, and Hitler.

True. In the past all our enemies were local. Not any more.

Nobody in their right mind would want the materialistic culture of America to replace the worlds of feeling with which we have all grown up with in our separate countries (let there be a curse on MacDonalds, Burger King, Monday Night Football, Playboy, Hollywood, and porn-on-demand) but nobody in civilised Europe wants to go back to the strictures of the (Islamic) 7th century either. Absolutely not!!

Why are we being prodded to choose between two CLEARLY idiotic choices, neither of which promises joy and neither of which holds out any form of credible solution or even simple delivery from the human condition? Why are both sides of this idiotic equation using violence and the threat of violence to scare us into complicity? The simple answer, I think, is that we are living in hard-won decent democratic countries with political gangsters crowding in from both sides -- the Americans and the Islamists alike Sooner or later we are going to have to fight again. Nobody wants to, I know. We've been through all this before -- 2000 years of fighting, even more. I don't believe we can take sides this time. Political Islam has to be resisted, if not the religion itself, and we also need to keep the Americans out of our daily lives and on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. They have their own country. Apart from tourists and friendly deputations let them stay there. Stop interfering, and by the Grace of God, we will slowly work things out. The bad guys deserve to get nailed, yes, but not at the price of burying innocent women and children under "precision" air strikes. Killing people is easy but it is not always a good idea. Your own soldiers will come home and tell you.