Friday, January 08, 2010

What Makes (some) Americans Buy the Eurabia Myth.

While in France, the debate over the ban of the burqa is raging, it seems that some American conservatives have their own obsession with Islam in Europe, and it’s not pretty.
During his holidays in France, conservative political scientist Charles Alan Murray was in Paris and this is what he reported :

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. (here)

Of course, Murray did not bother to tell you that the St Denis area of Paris is well known for its immigrant population. It’s a bit as if you went to South L.A. and concluded that the American population was mostly made up of latinos and blacks.
The fear of a rising Eurabia is nothing new of course, especially since 9/11 and we have indeed posted on this topic in the past, and so we are not yet again going to go on about why this is simply a myth.
I would like to focus more this time on the racist aspect of the whole theory because it shows very clearly in what Murray says. By using the euphemism “people who looked like native French.”, he of course means “white people” as opposed to those with brown skin. Sure, Murray is just a racist moron, but unfortunately the Eurabia myth seems to be very popular in some conservative circles United-States including its racist undertone.
The question is why is this theory so popular in the United-States. It is not like Europe does not have its share of racist morons. French historian Justine Vaisse wrote in Foreign Policy that “despite their Europe-focused content, these books are a largely North American phenomenon”, and I agree with him.
His theory is that those books…
“offer a variation on the conservative Cold War vision of Europe as vulnerable to the spread of communism -- only now, Muslims have replaced Soviets and Euro-communists as the enemies. The continuity in clichés with the Europhobic literature of the 1970s and 1980s is striking: In both periods Europe is described with terms like appeasing, impotent, asexual, feminine, post-nationalistic, irreligious, apologetic, self-loathing, naive, decadent, and so forth.”.
The parallel is thought-provoking, and certainly worth exploring.

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