Apart from humorous moments granted by historical 20/20 vision, such as praising the relationship between Putin and Bush, one thing really stuck out like a sore thumb in Oriana Fallaci’s “The Rage and the Pride”. In it she laments the relationship between the West and the Islamic world. Conceived shortly after the 9/11 attacks one would think that high strung emotionality would be a core part of this book, and to a certain extent it is. How could it not following the most devastating terrorist attack ever? Wider society and American politics certainly were overcome with non-rational emotion based actions. A different outcome would have required a massive number of really cool-headed people in leadership positions.
No, what really strikes me about the book is that I find myself longing for this time in history. Even when I remember how bad it was back then, the situation now is urgent and significantly worse. The migrants occupying a public square in Italy pales in comparison to the European Migrant Crisis. The numbers are several orders of magnitude larger now. When Fallaci talks negatively about the influx of subdued Muslim women popping out babies conveyor-belt style, one begins to wonder why nothing was done back then when the larger issue of tensions between the West and the Islamic world were somewhat manageable. Now millions of migrants have already come and the demographic shifts are larger and more urgent if the seemingly inevitable result is going to be altered.
Fallaci was understandably angry post 9/11, the support for the attacks found in different Muslim circles especially infuriated her. People saying that the West brought this calamity upon ourselves also drew her ire. Apart from some pointless and economically disastrous wars, there really wasn’t a significant response to the emerging criticality of the problem. Apart from the emergence of a thinly justified surveillance state of course. I was too young at the time to remember this clearly, but it seems to me that the forces of “peace and love” have gained in strength, along with the rising severity of the civilizational conflict. The West has repeatedly bent the knee, when it comes to immigration policy, defense of free speech, equality before the law, gender equality and so on.
The anger expressed and sought after in Fallaci’s words has to a great extent failed to materialize. Instead, most Westerners have found psychological refuge in shrouding themselves in a naive welcoming and conciliatory mindset. We behave as guests when we visit other countries and we behave as guests in our own countries by failing to uphold our societal values and standards. This brings me to the core of my point. We have in recent years seen the rise of popular countermovements to the larger trends within society. Pegida, the English Defense League, Soldiers of Odin, the Nordic Resistance Movement and other anti-Islam organisations have appeared on the political map. Some of these have been unfairly depicted in the media, while some are to a large and lesser extent deserving of their reputations.
I shall not delve into the merits of each group here. Instead I wish to point out that any response at all, such as the formation of such groups is better than not having them. At least there has been an answer to what is going on around us. Fundamentally, it shows that people care. Often one is left with the sentiment that people avoid discussing and doing something about such issues out of a deep-seated fear of being labelled racist or similar terms. Fallaci questioned why we weren’t angry. Although we consider ourselves modern men with smart phones, 3D printing, robotic lawn mowers and the like, we still repeat historical patterns like man did for centuries beforehand. We avoid problems when they are small out of a desire to not have to deal with social censure and similar mild “punishments”. Again and again, we kick the can down the road until the problem has grown so large that we have run out of road.
The most known case of this phenomenon might be the appeasement of Hitler, not intervening when he violated the tenets of the Treaty of Versailles and built up the German war machine. Hitler could annex land seemingly at will without serious negative repercussions. We all know what a bloody, murderous and disastrous calamity ensued following the failed policy of appeasement. There is a real and concrete price to pay for avoidance. Just ask any doctor. My fundamental desire for peace and stability is deeply saddened by the events related to the civilizational conflict between Islam and the West. The naive, short sighted and pathological idealism of politicians and the political left has, is and will continue to wreac havoc on Europe unless a course change is implemented. I want to be proven wrong desperately, but I forecast that the cycles of history will repeat, and a meaningful course change will remain theoretical.