Safe Spaces

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.50.28 PM.pngAgain. News floods in from Brussels, this time. Attacks at the airport and a metro station. Result – dead bodies, multiple injuries, extensive property damage and, above all, chaos. Which was the whole point. The bell-wether of the extent of the uncertainty was, of course, the stock market and investors scrambled to get rid of European stocks and head for the safety of gold and Government bonds.

The radical cults of Islam have one thing in common; the propagation of a mindset of not feeling safe anywhere. One never knows where the Lions of Islam, or whatever the nom du jour happens to be, are going to strike next. It might be a repeat of the somewhat clumsy but effective targeting of Israeli tourists on Istiklal Cad in Istanbul, or a more disruptive and spectacular attack on the infrastructure of a city, as in this case. In the next few hours, somebody, probably holed up in a war zone somewhere, is going to proudly emerge as the spokesman for the group responsible, doubtless using revenge as the primary motive.

But, revenge is a convenient and transparently false scapegoat. Radical Islam does not distinguish between civilians and military targets, to them, the enemy is all and everyone outside of dar al Islam with whom, by definition, they are at war. It makes no difference whether people are capable of defending themselves or not, the objective is to terrorise everyone thus driving them into the submissive jaws of Islam. An artificially manufactured story of revenge is a smokescreen to disguise the truth.

At the risk of extrapolation of the conspiracy theories with which the Internet is so infested, I have sometimes wondered whether the creation and proliferation of the many-faceted monster that is radical Islam has been orchestrated and managed in some hitherto unknown fashion. Shadowy, global puppet masters, meeting in secret, with boundless wealth and influence all over the Muslim world have set about a determined propagation of a radical, perhaps Wahhabist doctrine and in so doing have let slip the dogs of war with the explicit purpose of creating havoc. Extrapolitical, unknown to the governments of their respective homelands, they work towards a restoration of the Ottoman Empire and a recapture of long-lost territories in Europe. This may only be the beginning. Their ultimate objective may be too appalling for anyone to actually contemplate.

The massive migrations of refugees, both economic and political, is unprecedented since the Second World War and nobody has a coherent strategy for managing it. Under cover of the chaos, so carefully manufactured, it is almost certain that those with murderous intent have slipped uninvited into our midst, sheltering in the safe havens that the Europeans have so conveniently provided. It is deeply unfashionable here in France to even suggest that such places exist, but exist they must, since the assembling of explosives, planning and tactical operation requires cover and, if not outright connivance, a conveniently blind eye when required. What better than to hide in plain sight with people of one’s own kind? The problem of Islamic extremism is caused – astonishingly enough – by Islamic extremism. As France, Belgium and many other societies can now attest, the larger the Muslim population, the larger the Islamic extremism problem. Not because most Muslims are terrorists. Obviously not. But because that “small minority” we always hear about grows proportionally bigger the larger the community is. What matters is the numbers, the density (thus their ability to hide and be hidden) and the type of Islam that is followed. In jihadist launchpads like Molenbeek, radicalism flourishes. Given Europe’s current demographic trajectory this constitutes a terrifying problem which we’ll have to face up to one day. But in the meantime it remains so much more comfortable to blame the only people we’re kidding. Ourselves.

One disturbing consequence is noticeable all over the democratic world. People have begun to polarise politically, abandoning centrist politics which has served very well in times of comparative security. It has been replaced by disproportionate gains by the far Left and Right, from Marine le Pen and Nigel Farage, to Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and others. The unspoken psychology of huddling together and seeking safe political spaces is a function of the threat level that people experience. The fact is that, for most of us, the nearest we will ever get to a terrorist attack is via the vicarious empathy of the media and such is its influence our own safe spaces seem smaller and more fragile, and our instinct, like threatened but often ill-equipped marmosets, is to throw up earthworks to protect ourselves.

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