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A South Asian Reader on Le Pen
I have numerous correspondents of South Asian descent. One of the most perceptive and independent-minded sent me his thoughts on Jean-Marie Le Pen's defeat of the Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin in the first round of the French Presidential election. He points out that Le Pen's long opposition to Muslim immigration has been proved prescient by the grotesque pogroms against French Jews being carried out by Muslim hooligans. As you read the press about the French election, note how few establishment media news stories draw that connection.
By the way, the most balanced introduction to Le Pen may well be his April 18th interview with the outstanding leftist Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz.
I was logged into the Internet when the news of Le Pen's victory flashed in. It was accompanied by the usual pooh-poohing nonsense about abstractions like "Crime" and "Insecurity," though they never care to explain what the "insecurity" is about. And worst of all, the media never tires of prattling about the "shock" of Le Pen's strong showing. This is all nonsense, of course. Only people blinded by their smugness and self-righteousness refused to see the writing on the wall. Le Pen got 15.2% of the vote last time and 14.4% in 1988. He merely garnered an extra 2.3 percentage points. But the point is, the very fact that he got 15% of the vote in '95 ought to have rung a few bells in the halls of the "diversity" worshippers.
Like a lot of nations in Europe, the French feel under siege. Different sections of the populace have differing perspectives on it, depending on whether they are on the right or left. But there is no doubt that France is at its core a very conservative country that feels its very existence threatened by massive immigration and Americanization. Americanization is not seen by the French as an unadulterated boon. In Hollywood movies, they see a repulsive sort of culture, which leftists and conservatives equally believe is poisonous to the minds of the young. It is coincidental that you reviewed "Scorpion King" just above the Le Pen story. That movie, like most other contemporary Hollywood blockbusters, represents all that is wrong with American culture in the minds of the French. And, I believe, France is the beginning of a rebellion that has been brewing in Europe for some time.
Unlike America, France or Europe never were lands of massive large-scale immigration, though arguably immigration has been a feature of European life on a very small scale. But the current influx is seen by most Europeans as life-threatening. The political Establishment has reacted to this widespread feeling with disdain.
I have had this apprehension for some time that the disdain of the elitists for popular dislike of immigration would some day throw up people that most "liberals" (or even decent conservatives) wouldn't find palatable. If you may recall, I wrote an earlier mail about immigration in Europe and the perspective offered by Pat Buchanan's book. I said in that email that I didn't think the Europeans (especially those on the continent) were going to take mass immigration lying down like American voters.
The other point about immigration in Europe is that it is largely drawn from North Africa. These immigrants are Arabs who are staunchly religious, deeply attached to their own culture, and therefore unlikely to assimilate. Add to this volatile equation the Arab hatred of Jews. The attacks on synagogues and Jews in France have been carried out almost exclusively by Arabs. It is rather strange that, while the media prattles on about anti-Semitism, it doesn't mention the identity of the attackers.
The French vote is a warning shot to the political Establishment of Europe. If they refuse to address the concerns of average Europeans, men like Haider and La Pen may, in the foreseeable future, be governing every European country. And it would be the free immigration fanatics and the asylee-helpers who will be responsible.
P.S.: Please keep my identity confidential.
April 23, 2002