Saturday, 20 December 2014

SAILING TO BYZANTIUM: THE CAMP OF THE SAINTS




A nation which you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labours; and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually; so that you shall be driven mad by the sight which your eyes shall see.

Deuteronomy 28:33

 

All your things will lose their meaning.

Jean Raspail, The Camp of the Saints

 

If traveller and writer Jean Raspail had written The Camp of the Saints, his novel of mass ethnic migration by sea, ten years ago, it would have been prophetic. Now we are used to regular tragedies involving sunken migrant boats, and Lampedusa is no longer known as an island resort but as the European entry point of choice for many tens of thousands of illegal mariners, Raspail would have seemed a prophet had The Camp of the Saints been written at the turn of the millennium. It was not; it was written in 1973.

Although over four decades old, The Camp of the Saints is set in the near future and, to read this strange artefact, we may easily assume that we now inhabit its timeframe. The difference is that our arrivistes, for the most part, have no need of the rusting flotillas of the book to establish their beach-heads in the West; our elites are all too happy to lay on transport as well as accommodation.

The plot is simple but enthralling. Almost a million Hindu refugees set sail from the Ganges delta in a fleet of 99 boats – the ‘Last Chance Armada’ – and make for the Western lands of what they hope will be milk and honey. As they approach the West, the traditional institutions of state, military and church, as well as an upstart media, work themselves up into paroxysms of justification and exaggerated rituals of welcome for this exodus of the disenfranchised. There are dissenting voices, but they are silenced by a mixture of peer pressure and fear of seeming racist. Sound familiar?

I won’t throw out any spoilers, because I think this book should become widely read as an accurate prediction of the reaction of the Western elites to the current influx of cultural difference, our importation of the radically Other. But a day after the headline in The Times reads ‘Migrant controls in chaos’, the book ought to be included on the reading list – if there is such a thing – of everyone involved in the machinations of the UK Home Office.

The novel is championed by anti-jihadist website Gates of Vienna and the impression I had formed before reading it was of a dour, prophetic tome. Not so. The Camp of the Saints is a highly comic novel. The ideological buffoonery and blustering cognitive dissonance make for laughter in the dark, certainly, and this is what gives the book its relevance to our current plight, but there are delightful vignettes amid the absurdity:

‘And speaking of clowns... That airplane, covered with painted flowers and Hindu sayings, like a neighbourhood hippie’s cheap little buggy! A twin-engine rig, flown in by an English singing group...’

This could almost be prime-time Waugh or Burgess. Never has the decline of the West been so amusing. But the laughter may be misplaced whistling past the graveyard. Regardless of your political position, it must at least be possible to question the wisdom of a fast-track importation of cultures inimical to that of the host West, such as that culture is. And yet, to question anything to do with the multiculturalist aspirations of the elites is to risk pariah status and worse. Witness the Netherlands, whose judicial system is working overtime to try to make a bona fide political prisoner of elected politician Geert Wilders for the post-modern equivalent of heresy.

De facto, there is an occupation of the northern hemisphere by the southern. ‘Occupation’ is a word with many shades of meaning; military, spatial, temporal. Some more militant incoming members of La Raza in America openly refer to their demographic shift in time and space as ‘reconquista’, an emotive word in these times. It is no longer possible not to believe that social engineering on a geopolitical scale is in place. We as a culture may have forgotten religion, but we have not rid ourselves of its more morbid habits; persecution, censorship, the flames. We shall see, as my immigrant Serbian friend wisely says, what happens.

There is a moving coda to The Camp of the Saints. We, the progressive, enlightened, post-racial colonised, have been warned off discussion of immigration and informed in no uncertain terms that it is good for us, essential to our ailing economies, the answer to the problems of a greying population with no young people to do the hard work. Of course, as Takuan Seiyo points out in From Meccania to Atlantis, this is to assume that

‘[S]ub-literate, sub-90 IQ “youth” from white-despising cultures could or would bail out in the next 20 years a generation of spoiled white geezers.’

But, as noted, we have been warned off dissent concerning our versions of the Last Chance Armada and its dubious benefits. I hope our leaders and betters are right, and that racism is a bad thing in and of itself rather than an instinctive reaction to the arrival of an other which, like vampires, must be invited in but, once inside, can never be cast out. Raspail;

‘The most I can expect is that, some day, my grandchildren may read my words without too much disgust that my blood runs through their veins. Besides, how much will they even understand? Will the word racism have any meaning for them at all? Even in my day the meaning has changed. What I always understood to be a simple expression of the races’ inability to get along together has become for my contemporaries – or most of them, I daresay – a war cry, a call to arms, a crime against humanity and the dignity of man. Too bad. Let them understand the word as the best they can.’

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