Reverse Swing: Europe’s cultural nightmare

There’s a galloping sense of ‘buyer’s remorse’, as the Old Continent wakes up to the truth that it has taken on a mass of people who cannot be assimilated.

Written by Tunku Varadarajan | Published:January 31, 2016 12:17 am
Women protest against sexism in Cologne following the rash of sex attacks on New Year's Eve. (Source:Reuters) Women protest against sexism in Cologne following the rash of sex attacks on New Year’s Eve. (Source:Reuters)

Europe is in a state of existential upheaval. Having agreed to let in many thousands of refugees from the Islamic lands to its south, the Old Continent is awakening to the cultural and political fiasco in its midst.

The mass groping of women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, by men of North African and Middle Eastern origin, has offered the most lurid and distasteful example to date of the culture clash between the host societies and many of the young migrant men who have sought refuge in Europe.

Cologne was a watershed, and there has been a hardening of European attitudes toward Muslim migrants after the events there. For the first time, the liberal left has grown afraid, viewing the misogyny embedded in the culture of the displaced men in their midst as a threat to women’s safety and to hard-won women’s rights.

There’s a galloping sense of “buyer’s remorse,” as Europe awakens to the truth that it has taken on a mass of people who cannot be assimilated. They’re unassimilable not only because resources are scarce and migrants too numerous to be dispersed among the native people of relatively small countries, but also because the migrants’ culture resists assimilation into Europe.

These obstacles present themselves in societies where the natives don’t want the migrants anyway, approaching the task of assimilating them with scant enthusiasm. Witness Denmark’s demand that migrants hand over their assets to pay for upkeep. (Personally, I’d rather the migrants were asked to give up most of their values, not their valuables.)

Many Europeans, already dismayed over concessions they perceive being made to migrants, were shocked when the Italian government covered up nude statues in Rome’s Capitoline Museum last week so as not to give offence to the delegation of Iran’s President Rouhani. This cultural kowtow was all the more remarkable for it being entirely voluntary on the part of the Italians.

By refreshing contrast, the French government refused to bow to the demands of Rouhani’s team. Travelling to Paris after Rome, the Iranians had insisted that the State banquet for Rouhani be halal for EVERYONE, and that wine be served to NO ONE. The French responded that they’d be happy to fill the Iranians’ glasses with Perrier and heap their plates with halal, but that the hosts would dine in the French way—with wine. The Iranians said no and the banquet was cancelled.

Some critics suggest that this was poor French diplomacy. I disagree. In a city that saw murderous Islamist terrorism last year, it would be culturally untenable to bow to the Islamist chauvinism of the Iranians. Besides, civilised guests with dietary restrictions request their hosts to make exceptions for those with restrictions; they do not foist their narrower rules on the entire table.

The Rouhani demands are but a high-profile preview of the clamour for cultural carve-outs that is likely to ensue from migrants in their new European lands of refuge. With that in mind, I offer a “Manifesto for Middle-Eastern Migrants in Europe”: You may enter Europe, provided you commit to the following: (1) Remember you’re no longer in Syria/Iraq/Unfreedonia. (2) Remember that women are equal citizens. (3) Learn the local language. (4) Do not agitate for cultural, legal, and educational exceptions for yourself. (5) Abandon jihad. (6) Pledge loyalty to your new country. It saved you from ISIS.

Hand this manifesto to every migrant over 16. It will, at the very least, signal publicly that Europe isn’t prepared to roll over and play dead.

The writer is the Virginia Hobbs Carpenter Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Follow the author on Twitter: @tunkuv
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