Monday, October 02, 2006

Europe's Fleeting Moments of Clarity

In alcoholism, drug addiction, in a destructive relationship or a cult, people change and adapt to worsened circumstances accepting them as normal.

They lose their friends, their possessions, their freedom, the entirety of their life as they had lived it until now often without realizing that they've lost anything. While people from outside can see quite well how badly off they are, they cannot. Except for touchstone moments, moments of clarity when they see how low they've fallen.

Europe is dying. Its birth rate is below replacement, its economies are weak and its societies bureaucrat-ridden. Its shores are overwhelmed with a tidal wave of hostile Moslem immigrants remaking the nations of Europe in their own image through multiculturalism and force, city by city. But lately Europe has been having moments of clarity and it is odd what these moments are.

When a German opera house pulled an opera that featured Mohammed's severed head after being warned that it would pose an incalculable security risk, Germany finally had a moment of clarity.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “I think the cancellation was a mistake. I think self-censorship does not help us against people who want to practice violence in the name of Islam,” she told reporters. “It makes no sense to retreat.”

Deputy parliamentary speaker Wolfgang Thierse said, "Has it come so far that we must limit artistic expression? What will be next?"

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also criticized the decision. "We tend to become crazy if we start to forbid Mozart operas being played. We will not accept it," he told a news conference during a visit to Washington stating that the conference participants were united in their call for the opera to restart performances of "Idomeneo...To send a signal, we could all go to the performance together."

This sudden German Opera Rising seems a little absurd. After all Europe has been living since under an unspoken ban on offending Muslims for a while now. In 1988 when Salman Rushdie's T'he Satanic Verses' came out, Muslims responded with death threats and murder and plenty in the European cultural establishment defended them.

It's nearly two decades later and it's a given that anything that offends Muslims will result in violence and possibly death. The Danish cartoons represented a showdown between Freedom of Speech and Islam and for the most part Islam won and Europe's highest law has become, 'Don't Provoke the Muslims.'

Whence the German Rising then? The key can be found in Merkel's wording when she along with other critics branded it 'self-censorship.' After all it was not threats of Muslim violence that shuttered the production. The Muslims never had the chance. Instead the directress of the Opera received a phone call from Berlin's top police official, Ehrhart Koerting, who informed her that there would be horrific consequences if the show went forward.

Had it been a show critical of the government there would have been a good deal of outrage at such a phone call, but such phone calls are made regularly these days. Yet this one provoked an uprising precisely because it served as a moment of clarity.

If Germans pride themselves on one thing, it's culture. Militarism is off limits in the public sphere but the belief in the greatness of their musical and literary past outweighs the legendary Teutonic knights. Culture, though it may be fossilized relics of the past, is Germany's claim to greatness among the nations. High in that pantheon is Mozart, whose opera Idomeneo is after all. And opera is an art form Germany likes to lay claim to as much as it can.

To foreigners it may seem odd to see top German politicians so worked up over canceling an opera, but within Germany it represents an attack at the heart of German identity. As the Interior Minister said, the very idea is maddening. Take away Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner and the Opera Houses and what does Germany have left to distinguish it from Poland except its automobile industry.

Yet had the cancellation truly come about through Muslim threats it is not likely that it would have resulted in this moment of clarity. Instead it was something far more pernicious, self-censorship.

Self-censorship occurs in dictatorships, in abusive relationships, in smothering workplaces. It happens not when you are beaten into silence but when you internalize the beater's code of conduct so that you have learned to silence yourself. Germany woke to the silence of a Mozart opera and realized they were the ones who had silenced it.

The resulting moment of clarity is something like that storybook gambler pawning his dead wife's ring or the boozing writer selling off his typewriter. It's a shocking moment when you realize how low you have fallen and look around in dazed disbelief.

Germany has 3.2 million Muslims. France has 5 million. They did not come overnight but month by month and year by year. They did not declare overnight that the countries they had emigrated to would now have to live by their rule. It all took decades of a slowly growing minority and a slowly growing pressure exploding in bursts of violence.

The relationship between Europe and Islam slowly turned abusive. Now Europe is climbing out of bed with two black eyes and a broken arm and looking in the mirror trying to understand what's going on. In Sweden the right has won election for the first time ever. In Belgium, the capital of the EU, the right may duplicate that feat. Holland has already done it. France, of all places, is headed for a 'Tough on Islam' President. Germany has a conservative pro-US Prime Minister.

America had its moment of clarity on September 11th. It passed for some. It endured for others. Much of the War on Terror blogsphere is the product of men and women, many of them liberals, who experienced their own moments of clarity.

Now Europe is beginning to wake.


Lemon Lime Moon said...

I sure hope they wake up soon and that America is hot on their heels with the immigration fiasco here as well.

Louis DePalma said...

Great Post Sultan!
You have hit the nail on the head
You compare Europe to a battered wife and its very apt I think

Jeremayakovka said...

Merciless and necessary. Great photo, too.

Keliata said...

I couldn't agree more Louis. The comparision to the fear of inciting Muslim violence and self-censorship is very much like the dynamics involved in an abusive relationship.

Many women will only leave an abusive husband or boryfriend when the children are in danger. In the case of Germany, the opera is symbolic of the precious child at risk.

I certainly hope all of Europe has more lucid moments.

Great post.

Yobeeone said...

I wonder if it's a real wake up or only talk. I'd love to see someone fight back with something other than words for once. Even if it is the Germans. (says the little German Jew)

Andy said...

Hi Sultan. As someone who emmigrated from Germany to America this speaks very close to my heart. It's also interesting that Jews as long as I can remember always felt most comfortable living in Germany, feeling well accepted and part of the mainstream culture. Unfortunately the same was true with before he showed his true colors. Hitler. Even so Germany is the birthplace of the final solution but some of the "occupied" countries like France and ally Italy was well too eager to comply with Hitler's policy when it came to the Jews. And you can see this even nowadays where apart from Islamic terror against Jews in France even French people act out against Jews in various forms. You didn't see Jews making Aliyah from Germany but from France just in the recent past. Nonetheless, this very thing can happen in Germany as well if Islam is taking over. It's not the Turks that pose that problem for the moment. They could but sofar they don't see themselves the same way that Arab Muslims see themselves. However, this can change the more we welcome Muslims from other countries that may feel quite differently about Islam. What Germany and Europe needs to do is to stand up in the face of evil and tell every Muslim to accept our ways or get out and if you don't we enforce it with all the legal means we have, just like the Australians pronounced. Europe and the West needs to stop excussing Muslim terrorists as frinch groups but must accept the fact that they act out in full compliance with the Koran. Personally I hope that it's not too late for my country but the way things are going in America I'm not so sure about ourselves either.
By the way, I phoned the Airport Authority in St. Paul/Minneapolis. That reeks.

Keliata said...

Very interesting post Andy. I've been researching my family history and apparently some ancestors fled from Prussia to Germany because of persecution. A guess at one time Germany was a place of safe refuge.

BTW Andy, I sent the Mnpls airport authority an email. The PR people said my concerns were "hypothetical" and not under consideration.

They just don't get it.

Anonymous said...


Celal Birader said...

Sultan ... Europe is wallowing in a miasma of post-christianism that slaps down any expression of Christian belief or social action while at the same time allowing free rein to Islam and Islamists in the name of political correctness.

And so Europe is laid open and completely defenseless against this tidal wave of darkness unless and until it returns to the Bible and to the biblical reformation which made Northern Europe the cutting edge of global civilisation for the past 400 years.

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