Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eurabia Debunked ...

... by my friend Justin Vaïsse, with panache. And Henry Farrell points to what happens when an American racist visits France:

As Clive Davis notes, Charles Murray “is disconcerted by the number of black and brown faces he sees around him” during three days that he recently spent stranded in Paris.

I collected data as I walked along, counting people who looked like native French (which probably added in a few Brits and other Europeans) versus everyone else. I can’t vouch for the representativeness of the sample, but at about eight o’clock last night in the St. Denis area of Paris, it worked out to about 50-50, with the non-native French half consisting, in order of proportion, of African blacks, Middle-Eastern types, and East Asians. And on December 22, I don’t think a lot of them were tourists. Mark Steyn and Christopher Caldwell have already explained this to the rest of the world—Europe as we have known it is about to disappear—but it was still a shock to see how rapid the change has been in just the last half-dozen years.

The term “looked like native French” is an interesting euphemism, given that a quite substantial percentage (and, I suspect, a large majority) of the people whom Murray worried about during his peregrinations were citizens of France. I rather think that the word that Murray was looking for here is “white.”

Not just citizens, by the way, but "native" French in the sense of having been born in France.


FRANCIS said...

Surprise, surprise, the comments on Mr Vaysse paper are sufficient to confront your enthusiasm with a reality check. Just an example (and there are more):

Where are the facts?

I was hoping to read an article that would credibly challenge the "Eurabian" hypotheses. Instead this article is merely an assertion of the author's opinion (that Eurabia is merely hot air blown by American 9/11 scaremongers) with no facts to back it up.

The other claim you do you not dare confront is that while the adult & elderly Muslim population are mostly moderate, it is the younger generation that is much more radicalized.

Anonymous said...

Murray's comments, whether motivated by racist distrust of non-white French citizens or not, strikes me as a crude formulation of the fundamental question "What does it mean to be 'integrated' into a society?" I was struck today on hearing of the death of Philippe Seguin by Jacques Chirac's comments: he used the term "enracine" to describe Seguin's engagement with France. Was Chirac's use of that word racist? Is it then illegitimate to ask "What, then, does it mean to be "rooted" in a country?" Numerous studies in France have offered a variety of theories --to be French is to have died for France in one of its wars, goes one definition. Another describes an adherence to the norms of the standard French language and social milieu. Comparisons are made in the popular press, as well as in the academic literature between the Portuguese, a large immigrant group that has taken on French identity, and more refractory groups. The issue obsesses France, the lack of information-gathering about its demography notwithstanding.

--The question of integration remains and will remain fundamental so long as a government promulgates, poorly or well, rights and duties of citizens in return for its protection.

Without a doubt, (and as Murray seems to fail to realize) France's loyal citizens include many black and brown citizens. Nonetheless, given the size of the deracinated, alienated, Muslim population in France, it is not necessarily racist to see Paris in 2010 as less cosmopolitan a city than it was by a spate of measures --of which social integration is just one, along with cultural influence and economic weight-- and, therefore not as an example of successful urban integration. It is undeniable that one view of Paris is that it is just -- a series of enclosed ghettos, larded between the affluent "centre ville" and the BCBG outlying suburbs. These ghettos and the alienation they breed are so well depicted in films like "La Haine", and "Entre Les Murs" that the films are widely recognized in France as a kind of indictment of France's politics of integration. Those politics are still evolving, lately by means of such measures as required language proficiency demonstrated by successful examination, prohibition of polygamy and genital cutting, required education of girls to the same minimal level as boys.

Murray merely reflects his own history with the country of France, which has changed radically since his youth --after the end of the Second World War, since 1968, since the 80s. It seems awfully petty to make so much of Murray's discomfort, which amounts to a nostalgic longing for the France he used to know. As Simone Signoret said, "Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be"!.

Accordingly, throwing the word "racist" around to insult Murray doesn't disguise that social changes bring dislocation and that they present challenges to governments. The illusion that the past was better than it was, is a favorite, but essentially harmless, "idee fixe" of the aging. Nonetheless the widely-held anxiety about the future Murray's comments indicate is echoed in the views of many French citizens, and therefore it has some traction in discussions of modern French society and ought not to be minimized.


DavidinParis said...

And when the 'real' French need someone to babysit, repair the toilets, clean the buildings, collect the trash, scrape the dirt off the walls of the metro station and perform other essential tasks that assure that the daily life can continue, who do they employ? You guessed it...the ones who don't look French, and perhaps don't act French because they understand what 'hard work' really is and somehow making it to work even when there is a greve. If 'they' all left France tomorrow, this country would come to a grinding halt.

Anonymous said...

Murray says he was in the St.Denis area of Paris - which I take to be around Strasbourg-St.Denis metro? Imagine if he had taken a walk in the city of Saint-Denis in the "neuf-trois". His brain prolly would've exploded!

Murray isn't alone and his remark doesn't seem exceptional or even shocking. His attitude reminds me of the old-time Northeastern WASP bigotry - a complaceny in one's own ignorance and assuredness in the socio-economic & cultural superiority of the group into which one is born. Its an attitude that can't withstand the test of scrutiny. Especially when the premises of so much vaunted high-culture & refinement is rooted in so much stupidity.

that being said, I can't for the life of me take this national debate on identity seriously. It shouldn't be top-down with l'Etat determining what the French national identity is. Especially with "He-who-I-dare-not-make-fun-of-for-fear-of-being-attacked-in-court-for-defamation" at the helm. Rather, it should be - and is in many ways - bottom-up with the citoyens and all the tohu-bohu of civil society mashing it out among themselves to make sense of national identity. Over time a consensus will be reached. This is a matter too important to be left to politicians who are primarily interest in short-term gains & petty-politicking.

Chris P.

Anonymous said...

And ? What's your point ? That's it's racist to oppose the conquest of own's own country through immigration ?

I guess all the peoples in the world are racist, then, on such grounds.

The only difference being that, alone in the world, Western, Christian, white people are forbidden to be "racist".

FrédéricLN said...

As much as I disagree with Robert Marchenoir (that is, 100% disagreement) -

if you walk between the "Strasbourg Saint-Denis area" of Paris and the nearby Saint-Denis town, it's not unrealistic to meet in the streets around 50% of people who will not be native French (not born in France). This area, between Roissy airport and Paris center, is the main entry point for foreigners - kind of role New York has played during the XXth century for the Eastern part of the US?

And so what?