THE MUSLIM SWARM.
Part ONE: STORMING EUROPE’S INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL BORDERS.
By Paul Merkley.
The Sudden Appearance of the “Migrant Crisis.”
As this year began, our television news organizations began to take note of the appalling fate that was befalling persons fleeing, in great swarms, on decrepit boats, out of Africa, North Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan (among other places.) Many of these boats – more of them, no doubt than we shall ever know — capsized, spilling frenzied men, women and children into the sea. “People –smuggling” was the aspect of this story that dominated our attentions at first. Who were the soul-less profiteers who lured these innocent thousands to undertake the risk of death at sea for themselves and their children?
Some bold voices suggested that – obscene though it might seem to say so out loud – that there was an opportunistic side to the rationale of the victims. All of those who had scraped up the few thousand dollars to purchase entry onto the boats would claim when they reached Europe that they were victims from political oppression. But common sense tells us that many were simply taking the poorly-calculated gamble of emerging alive in a “better place” – somewhere where they would shortly find a job, but in the meanwhile would at least find European social systems concerned for their welfare as the officials they had left behind were not.
Although thousands were coming from as far away as Yemen, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Gambia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, 71% of those arriving via the Mediterranean Ocean (as of early September 2015) originated in Syria, Afghanistan or Eritrea. Seventy-two per cent were adult men. The phrase “European migrant crisis” first surfaced in the media in April 2015, when five boats carrying almost two thousand migrants to Europe sank in the Mediterranean Sea, with a combined death toll estimated at more than 1,200 people.
According to the official site of the European Commission, EU member states received 626,000 asylum applications in 2014, the highest number since the 672,000 applications received in 1992 (that is, following the collapse of European Communism.) Of these about 65% have received the privilege of asylum in a European country. It is simply too soon to find realistic numbers for asylum seekers and recipients for this year 2015, but we get some idea of the proportions from the such flotsams of fact as that during the first half of this year alone, more than 179,000 people applied for asylum in Germany, a country of about 80 million. That is an increase of 132 percent over the same period in 2014.
Europe’s Reception of the “Migrants”.
Most of us were caught off guard by the display of humanitarian spirit in popular response to the crisis. The media concentrated immediately and unremittingly upon personal tragedies, and clearly most hearts were moved by stories and graphic pictures of the suffering and the dead.
Pope Francis intervened dramatically in the affair, insisting in several statements that the Gospel unambiguously called for the reception, without questions asked, of these hundreds of thousands as suddenly-needy neighbours. As a practical solution to immediate needs he called for “a refugee family in every parish, monastery, shrine and community of religious in Europe” – a radical and yet an entirely practical approach that surely speaks to the obligation that every Christian feels under the Gospel and that seems to have been universally applauded.
In subsequent remarks to a Portuguese radio station, the Pope “applauded those European countries that had welcomed in migrants and warned what awaits those that don’t: ‘On Judgment Day, we already know what we’ll be judged on,’ he said, reciting the Biblical verse from Matthew 25: ‘When I was hungry, did you give me food?’ “Those countries that answered ‘Yes’— I congratulate them. They’ll pass the test,’ he said. (www.osservatoreromano.va/en, September 7, 2015. )
Belatedly, and in passing, the Pope has recently conceded the inevitability of ISIS’s intrusion with impunity into our world on account of the Islamic swarm and the subsequent collapse of all international borders. (“Pope Francis fears ISIS jihadists ‘infiltrating’ Europe through refugee crisis,” Independent, September 14, 2015.) But, having brought this matter to light, it seems that the Pope has no interest in examining the connection between the forces that sustain ISIS and the other Islamist horrors and the Muslim faith of all but a tiny handful of the migrants.
Chancellor Merkel Takes the Megaphone.
From the moment when the “migrant crisis” took hold in the imaginations of the press, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took the lead in suggesting Europe’s only possible response to the crisis. The Washington Post reported on September 11:
The German leader is getting raves for her moral leadership regarding the refugee crisis. She is being called “Europe’s conscience” not only for her country’s willingness to take in hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, but for stepping up to push for a Europe-wide response to the crisis. Merkel has denounced xenophobic protests over the refugees, saying, “there is no tolerance toward those who question the dignity of other people.” Migrants pose for her with selfies and express their appreciation in images shared on social media. Refugees are calling her “Mama Merkel” and naming their babies after her. (“On Refugee Crisis, Germany’s Angela Merkel has found a bold voice,” Washington Post, September 11, 2015.)
But within hours of Merkel’s uttering these words it became clear that no one in a responsible position anywhere on earth really knew how many people were in motion towards Europe – only that there were more and limitless more where those came from and from beyond. The emigration had become a swarm, already of uncalculated proportions and multiplying by unpredictable factors. Where the swarm encountered a border, it quickly swept aside the officials nominally responsible for securing it.
At first, massive worldwide sympathy was on the side of the swarm – other things being equal, a response that seems to do credit to European character. But then it developed that everyone in any official position was in fear and trembling of appearing to raise his hand against women and children. And so the lines of police and military melted, as the swarm proceeded across the borders of the Balkans and Central Europe and towards Germany, becoming more aggressive, assaulting police lines, becoming more violent and abusive in word and in action
The German government did not hesitate to pour shame upon the governments that stood in the path towards Germany, encouraging the migrants to swarm the boundaries of these nations and rush into the welcoming arms of the German people. Railroad schedules on the lines leading from the east and the south into Germany were simply set aside while all available rail capacity was rushed to take the migrants across Germany’s border.
At first, Frau Merkel seemed to have the advantage with German public opinion; the western television channels were offering up non-step pictorial proof of the hospitality of the German people. But within a very short time, cracks began to appear in the facade of German unity on this issue. Then, on September 13, the German Defense Minister “admitted that the country was verging on ‘an emergency’ and that some 4000 German troops have been put on standby.”
A very awkward situation had emerged. It was becoming impossible to avoid the fact that the ‘Migrant crisis” might not have an end and that neither Germany nor any other nation had a plan for meeting this contingency. And just as this point was reached (as commentator Durdin puts it) “Germany is now in a lose-lose situation, with the facade of its former faux generosity crumbling, just as countless more migrants are set to lose their lives on their way to a promised land.” (Tyler Durdin, “Germans, Czechs return to ‘border controls’ with Austria, riot Police dispatched to contain refugee crisis,” www.zerohedge.com; September 13; Tyler Durden, “Europe Approves “Military Action” Against Refugee Smugglers As Germany Warns 1 Million Coming,” www.zerohedge.com, September 14, 2015.)
In short: this bemused orgy of self-congratulatory philanthropy has set in motion all over the Mediterranean armadas of leaky boats, jammed full with human cargo by unscrupulous people-smugglers. Reports of drowning were pouring in within hours.
A U-turn for Germany’s government was now necessary. But it was not the chancellor who stepped forward to announce it. On September 13, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced that Germany would restore checks on newcomers crossing its borders – “temporarily” repudiating the pledge that all the EU countries have made to live without borders against each other. Significantly it was not the Chancellor who issued the new line; in fact, her image disappeared for several days thereafter. CBSNews, was now positing that
In the space of two months, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has gone from being portrayed as the heartless villain in Europe’s debt crisis to the heroine of those flooding in to find refuge on the continent….Her insistence that Germany and its fellow members of the 28-nation European Union all have a duty to shelter people fleeing civil wars has cemented something similar among hopeful migrants. Some have held aloft pictures of Angela Merkel, and she was greeted with applause and cheers at a Berlin refugee home. (“Angela Merkel from Debt Villain to Migrant Heroine,” CBSNews, September 13, 2015.)
Announcements similar to those of the German Interior Minister were made within a few hours by the Czech Republic, Slovenia and the Netherlands. German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel predicted that as many as 1 million refugees may arrive by the end of the year. According to the Washington Post, this German U-turn “underscored how quickly the numbers fleeing to Germany are spiraling upward. The official government estimate, released just a few weeks ago, is for roughly 800,000 in 2015, nearly four times the 2014 figure.” (Europe Fortifies Frontier as Germany Imposes Border Controls September 14, 2015.) Impenetrable fences went up within hours along the borders of all the states lying in the path of the swarm and enroute to Germany.
What is “The Cause” of the Muslim Swarm?
In light of these sobering developments, it is in order to look more closely at the Pope’s diagnosis of the “cause” behind this suddenly-appearing crisis, as a wrong diagnosis could easily deflect the energies of statesmen away from realistic policies.
“The poor people are fleeing war, hunger,” he says, “but that is the tip of the iceberg. Because underneath that is the cause, and the cause is a bad and unjust socio-economic system.”
This is in line with the leitmotif of his Pontificate so far: a single line runs straight across the globe, dividing us all into two distinct camps, the wealthy and the poor, overlapping with the oppressors and oppressed. Inequality in wealthy is the primary cause of injustice and therefore of political unrest everywhere and always. The blatant irrelevance of this diagnosis to the present “migrant crisis” occurs to us immediately when we ask: Why are Europeans and American not fleeing for rescue from “a bad and unjust socio-economic system” into the Middle East?
Emigration into Muslim countries from non-Muslim countries simply doesn’t happen in the real world! This profoundly telling circumstance is the elephant in the room that all the commentators ignore.
The Pope’s analysis of the cause of the migrant crisis overlooks the blatant fact that these are people fleeing an unjust and incompetent political order that is reared upon a religious tradition – the religious tradition that dominates the entire Middle East and has done so for over fourteen hundred years. That religious tradition, until recently, has been marginal to any description of life as it is lived in Europe or in America.
These “migrants” are fleeing from the legacy of a religion that has so far proved incapable of finding a basis for government that is proficient – capable of sustaining prosperity for large masses of people and capable of providing a continuing foundation for a tranquil civil life that stands upon consent of the governed — a civil life that is not chronically interrupted (as the history of Islamic civilization has been) by outbursts of popular rage that end in equally frequent episodes of bloody suppression.
The ultimate cause of the so-called migrant crisis is the incapacity of Islam to provide grounds for competent government – let alone just government. This truth, proved consistently by the record of fourteen centuries, has been rehearsed all over again in the story of the so-called Arab spring which began in the last weeks of 2010 and whose net effect has been to reduce areas of the Arab world in which stable and or decent government exists. Everywhere that signs of Spring appeared before the cameras of our global news-media four years ago and subsequent experiments in electoral democracy collapsed under the strain of containing various Islamist parties; and where there is anything resembling government today it under the aegis of tribes and regional elements which simply ignore the pretended central authority.