Posted by Curt on 11 January, 2016 at 6:48 pm. 3 comments already!


Robert Tracinski:

A specter is haunting Europe. The specter of Islam.

George W. Bush used to say that we had to fight the terrorists over there, in the Middle East, so we wouldn’t have to fight them here at home. A long period of relative security made that claim seem overblown, like a lame justification for interventionism. But it just might turn out that he was right, and that it is even more true for Europe than it is for us.

I was reminded of this reading about the curtailed New Year’s Eve celebrations in Paris.

About 60,000 police officers and troops were deployed across the country, and revelers said that made them feel safer. “The same troops who used to be in Mali, Chad, French Guyana or the Central African Republic are now ensuring the protection of French people,” said Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

In Belgium, the New Year’s Eve festivities were canceled entirely.

In Brussels, 2016 was rung in without the customary fireworks display and downtown street party…. Earlier this week, Belgian authorities announced they had arrested two men suspected of planning to stage attacks in Brussels over the holidays…. On Thursday morning, forklifts and trucks removed generators and other equipment from the Place de Brouckere, the broad square in central Brussels where the fireworks show was supposed to happen.

In Paris, they were significantly scaled down.

Paris canceled its usual fireworks display in favor of a five-minute video performance at the Arc de Triomphe just before midnight, relayed on screens along the Champs Elysee, where people chanted. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the show was aimed at “sending the world the message that Paris is standing, proud of its lifestyle and living together.”

Well, no, if Paris were standing tall, it would have had its usual celebrations. Fireworks have an interesting symbolism, recalling the sights and sounds of war. Presumably that’s the problem this year: fireworks would be good cover for another shooting rampage. In the United States, legend has it that the reason we have fireworks on the Fourth of July is to remember the wars we fought to gain and keep our independence — the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air. But you only want to remember that if you won the war. If you’re losing, I can see why you wouldn’t be so excited about the fireworks.

The most dispiriting thing said about Paris was from a Parisienne on the street: “It was a very strange year, and we just want 2016 to be different, simply a normal one. It does not need to be an excellent one, but just a normal one.” Way to aim high.

But I doubt 2016 is going to be a normal year for Europeans. German officials just admitted that a little more than half of a wave of attacks during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne were by North African and Middle Eastern asylum seekers who have flooded into the country during the Syrian civil war and have been welcomed under a foolishly, sanctimoniously overgenerous refugee policy.

The most disturbing thing about the Cologne attacks was the prevalence of sexual assault as a weapon, complete with gangs of Muslim men stalking German women through the streets, yelling obscenities at them and threatening them with sexual violence. Note to Western feminists: we finally found real “rape culture” for you. Unfortunately, it is not found primarily among middle-class American college boys, which is what you were hoping for.

This is “normal” — if that word can be applied here — in the Arab and Muslim world. Wherever large crowds gather, unaccompanied women are in danger. (Remember the brutal attack on CBS reporter Lara Logan during the Egyptian revolution.) This is a measure of the extent to which the culture of Islam, as it is practiced in much of the world, deranges and brutalizes its believers, particularly when it comes to their attitudes toward women and sex. This is what has now arrived in the heart of a free, civilized, enlightened Europe.

But take heart, some people in Europe are really thinking ahead. The famed Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana in now offering high-end hijabs. So yes, it turns out that burqas do come in sizes.

This is an inauspicious start to 2016 — but it is exactly what we should expect after 2015, which was the year the Specter of Islam rose to loom high over the capitals of Europe.

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