Category Archives: Brussels

Whited sepulchre

Marlowe-Dalrymple in Europe’s heart of darkness

Dalrymple once took a job in the tropics, and his employer sent him for a medical examination to check that he was fit for hardship. He writes:

My medical was just like the one that Marlowe underwent in Heart of Darkness, before he went out to the Congo.

Marlowe’s medical was in Brussels, a city, Marlowe says, that ‘always makes me think of a whited sepulchre’. And then Marlowe adds, ‘Prejudice no doubt.’ Dalrymple confesses to

a similar prejudice. Brussels shows us our glorious future: bureaucracy and sex shows.

Types of Muslim perversion: Gramscian and Stalinist

Islamisation of the young — fundamentalism sweeps them

One view, Dalrymple notes, is that the radicalisation of a small minority of the Muslim young of Brussels (the European city with the highest proportion of Muslims)

was brought about not from the influence of their immigrant parents, or by the religious institutions in their country of origin (mainly Morocco), but by the preaching of members of the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand, and of Wahhabi or Salafist missionaries on the other.

Dalrymple explains the difference between the two strains.

  • Muslim Brotherhood: new-Left, or Gramscian, wing of Islamism. Claims (at least for public consumption) an ‘interpretive’ reading of the Koran. Even has a feminist wing
  • Wahhabists: old-Left, or Stalinist, flank of Islamism. Cleaves to literalism. Obligation for women to wear the veil incontestable

Het Molenbeekprobleem

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 18.58.41Dalrymple schrijft:

We zaten op onze vlucht naar Parijs te wachten toen de annulatie van de volgende vlucht naar Brussel werd omgeroepen. Geruchten deden snel de ronde, maar de werkelijkheid bleek erger te zijn dan iemand verwachtte. Enkele uren later reden we in een taxi weg van de luchthaven Charles De Gaulle. Een radiozender wist te vertellen dat er twintig doden waren, een andere beweerde vierendertig. Eén van de zenders kondigde aan dat die avond de Eifeltoren in de Belgische kleuren zou worden verlicht. Wellicht zal er een tijdje een moratorium liggen op de Belgenmoppen in Frankrijk. Het gevoel van solidariteit is oprecht. Het is dan ook nog maar vijf maanden sinds de gruwelijkheden in Parijs.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 18.59.33Onze chauffeur was een moslim van Noord-Afrikaanse origine. Hij was duidelijk een integere man, welwillend en eerlijk. De chauffeur was woedend op Uber, dat zijn inkomen halveerde. Wat de abstracte economische argumenten ook zijn in deze zaak, het was moeilijk om geen sympathie op te brengen voor deze man. Maar het waren de terroristen die hem meer bezighielden. ‘Het zijn allemaal criminelen’, zei hij. ‘Ze hebben allemaal in de gevangenis gezeten.’ Hij sprak geëmotioneerd. ‘Het zijn mensensmokkelaars, bandieten.’ Ik wilde er nog aan toevoegen dat het allemaal liefhebbers zijn van rapmuziek, maar ik zweeg, ook al speelde er tussen de nieuwsberichten door barokmuziek op zijn radio. ‘Dit heeft niets vandoen met religie’, sprak hij. ‘Ze gaan meteen van de misdaad naar het terrorisme.’

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 18.57.21Het leek me het beste – opdat ik de man waar ik sympathie voor koesterde niet zou ontstemmen – om te zeggen dat dit maar ten dele juist was. De islam is niet de hele oorzaak, zeker, maar kan er ook niet los van gezien worden. Uiteindelijk blazen de talrijke verarmde christelijke Congolezen in België zichzelf niet op in een metro of de luchthaven. ‘We oogsten wat we hebben gezaaid’, ging hij verder, ‘met al die bemoeienissen in Libië en Mali’. Opnieuw zag ik slechts een vaag verband, en als er al één was, dan vond ik dat niet echt flatterend voor de moslimmigranten. ‘En hoe hebben ze Molenbeek zo laten evolueren dat het een plaats werd waar het extremisme kon bloeien?’

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 18.58.59Inderdaad, hoe? En wat te doen nu het er is? Tijdens mijn bezoek aan die Brusselse wijk enkele jaren terug kon ik de gevaren al duidelijk vaststellen. Een man zoals Salah Abdeslam, de gearresteerde terrorist, zal zich daar als een vis in het water hebben gevoeld, om met Mao te spreken. Het was een perfecte schuilplaats daar, tussen de sympathisanten en de rest van de gemeenschap die men tot stilte kon intimideren. Deze sociale wereld was ondoordringbaar voor de staatsdiensten. Een kennis vertelde me dat de Belgische overheid er niet in slaagt daar belastingen te innen, hoewel het er wel lukt om de sociale gelden uit te keren uit de staatskas.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 18.57.06Hoe houd je de vorming van getto’s zoals Molenbeek tegen en wat doe je eraan eens ze er zijn? Het antwoord van de taxichauffeur was eenvoudig: dwing ze om ergens anders te wonen. Een simpel plan, maar in de praktijk heel moeilijk. Het Europese Hof van de Mensenrechten veroordeelde onlangs Duitsland, omdat het die exacte plannen koesterde. Nadat een miljoen Syrische vluchtelingen en migranten in het land werden opgevangen, wilde de Duitse overheid de vorming van islamitische getto’s voorkomen door de immigranten te spreiden over het hele land. Het Hof oordeelde dat dit tegen de fundamentele mensenrechten van deze migranten inging, en dus verwerven ze het recht om enkele — of vele — Molenbeeks te vormen.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 18.57.37 Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 18.57.48

City of the free lunch

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 09.05.24Dalrymple writes that he has

a sneaking regard

for Brussels. What appeals to him is

  • its down-at-heelness
  • its comfortable air of concentrated mediocrity
  • its excellence only in beer and food

It is the kind of place, he says, that

I could easily and happily fit into.

Dalrymple points out that the value that most prevails in Brussels, thanks to the European Parliament, the European Commission, and other institutions, is that of

the free lunch. I have met European politicians there who haven’t paid for so much as a single course of a meal for 40 years or more, and who develop as a consequence that gray, slablike or tombstone countenance that members of the Soviet Politburo used to have.

Dalrymple has

nothing against free lunches myself—indeed I have enjoyed many—but I have never made them the acme of my ambition, nor did it ever occur to me that, in seeking and eating them, I was defending, furthering, or expressing ‘our values’.

The State dare not take on Molenbeek

Tax-exempt

Tax haven

Dalrymple writes that on his visit to Molenbeek, the Islamist quarter of Brussels,

I could see the dangers clearly enough.

People like Salah Abdeslam, the Moslem fundamentalist terrorist,

would swim like a fish in the sea there, to use a Maoist metaphor. Between the sympathetic locals and the rest of the population—whom they could intimidate into silence—it would be easy to hide.

This social world

is impenetrable to the forces of the State.

The Belgian government

is unable to collect taxes from businesses there, though it is able to distribute social security.

Another episode of tic douloureux

John Fothergill gave a still useful description of trigeminal neuralgia in 1773

John Fothergill gave a useful description
of trigeminal neuralgia in 1773

Dalrymple likens the periodic anguish, convulsions and agitation caused by Islamist terrorist attacks to Fothergill’s disease or prosopalgia. He writes:

Every incident is now like an episode of tic douloureux: a condition very difficult to treat.

One not insignificant feature of the problem, he points out, is that their religion, for certain Muslims, is

the continuation of delinquency by other means.

Nicolas André coined the term tic douloureux in his Observations pratiques sur les maladies de l'urètre et sur plusieurs faits convulsifs (1756)

Nicolas André coined the term tic douloureux in his Observations pratiques sur les maladies de l’urètre et sur plusieurs faits convulsifs (1756)

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 16.27.19

Molenbeek: hoofddoeken en moslimextremisten

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 12.45.15Dalrymple schrijft over Molenbeek, de wijk waar terrorist Salah Abdeslam zich waarschijnlijk ruim vier maanden heeft schuilgehouden:

  • Alle vrouwen dragen een hoofddoek
  • Jonge mannen kleden zich als Amerikaanse rapmuziek-fans
  • De politie vertoont zich zelden in de wijk en maakt zich meer zorgen om islamitische gevoeligheden te vermijden — bijvoorbeeld door niet in het openbaar te eten tijdens de ramadan — dan om boeven op te sporen en te vangen die de wijk tot een gevaarlijk crimineel terrein maken
  • Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 12.40.47Bedrijven betalen geen belastingen, maar worden niet onderzocht op belastingontduiking
  • Prediking en samenzwering door moslim extremisten is schering en inslag, maar er wordt niets gedaan om het te stoppen. Men probeert aldus de gespannen en de broze vrede zo lang mogelijk in stand te houden
  • Sympathie voor terrorisme is de norm — of liever gezegd niemand durft openlijk zijn stem daartegen te verheffen

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 12.49.59Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 12.51.27

A continent limping towards the abyss

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 23.36.42Dalrymple points out that ‘ever closer union’

resuscitates old national stereotypes and antagonisms and increases the likelihood of real conflict.

He notes that politicians and bureaucrats,

like all people with bad habits, are infinitely inventive when it comes to rationalising the European Project, though they’re inventive in nothing else.

  • Without the Union, they say, there would be no peace; when it’s pointed out that the Union is the consequence of peace, not its cause, they say that no small country can survive on its own.
  • When it is pointed out that Singapore, Switzerland, and Norway seem to have no difficulties in that regard, they say that pan-European regulations create economies of scale that promote productive efficiency.
  • When it is pointed out that European productivity lags behind the rest of the world’s, they say that European social protections are more generous than anywhere else.
  • If it is then noted that long-term unemployment rates in Europe are higher than elsewhere, another apology follows.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 08.42.50The fact is that for European politicians and bureaucrats,

the European Project is like God — good by definition, which means that they have subsequently to work out a theodicy to explain, or explain away, its manifest and manifold deficiencies.

The personal interests of European politicians and bureaucrats,

with their grossly inflated, tax-free salaries, are perfectly obvious. For politicians who have fallen out of favour at home, or grown bored with the political process, Brussels acts as a vast and luxurious retirement home, with the additional gratification of the retention of power.

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 23.41.11The name of a man such as Herman Van Rompuy,

whose charisma makes Hillary Clinton look like Mata Hari, would, without the existence of the European Union, have reached most of the continent’s newspapers only if he had paid for a classified advertisement in them.

Corporate interests,

ever anxious to suppress competition, approve of European Union regulations because they render next to impossible the entry of competitors into any market in which they already enjoy a dominant position, while also allowing them to extend their domination into new markets. That is why the CAC 40 (the French bourse benchmark) will have more or less the same names 100 years hence.

Dalrymple reminds us of the European Union’s role in corroding civil society.

Suppose you have an association for the protection of hedgehogs. The European Union then offers your association money to expand its activities, which of course it accepts. The Union then proposes a measure allegedly for the protection of hedgehogs, but actually intended to promote a large agrarian or industrial interest over a small one, first asking the association’s opinion about the proposed measure. Naturally, your association supports the Union because it has become dependent on the Union’s subsidy. The Union then claims that it enjoys the support of those who want to protect hedgehogs.

The best description of this process is

fascist corporatism, which so far lacks the paramilitary and repressive paraphernalia of real fascism. But as the European economic crisis mounts, that distinction could vanish.

One should not mistake the dullness of Eurocrats

for lack of ambition, or the lack of flamboyance for the presence of scruple. History can repeat itself.

Dalrymple says that whenever he reads the French press on the subject of the European crisis,

I’m struck by how little questions of freedom, political legitimacy, separation of powers, representative government, or the rule of law feature, even in articles by academic political philosophers. For them, the problem is mainly technical: that of finding a solution that will preserve the status quo (there is no such solution, but intelligent people searched for the philosopher’s stone for centuries).

As for the British political class,

it is composed largely of careerists,

and in the world of the Eurocrats,

ignoring arguments is the highest form of refutation.

苍白无力的欧洲普世主义

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 20.21.41Dalrymple writes:

By now the story of Omar Ismail Mostefai, the first of the perpetrators of the Paris attacks to be named, is depressingly familiar. One could almost have written his biography before knowing anything about him. A petty criminal of Algerian parentage from what all the world now calls the banlieue, he was sustained largely by the social security system, an erstwhile fan of rap music, and a votary of what might be called the continuation of criminality by other means, which is to say Islamism and the grandiose purpose in life that it gives to its adherents. For feeble minds, the extremity of the consequences for self and others serves as some kind of guarantee that their cause is just.

到今天,巴黎袭击事件中第一个确定姓名的案犯Omar Ismail Mostefai的故事已经家喻户晓了。即使对他完全不了解,人们也能凭猜测为他写出一本传记。一个小混混,有着阿尔及利亚血统,成长于今天被世人称为 “暴力街区”的市郊,主要依靠社保体系生活,曾经是饶舌音乐的爱好者,热诚地致力于伊斯兰教和它给予信徒们的宏伟人生目标——或者,从另一种意义上也可以 说,是持续犯罪。对那些意志薄弱的人来说,最终将自己和他人带向死亡,也有着某种正当理由。

Nor was the connection to Molenbeek, a neighbourhood in Brussels where at least three of the terrorists lived, much of a surprise to anyone. Brussels—the “capital of Europe,” be it remembered—is slightly more than a quarter Muslim, and nearly 100 percent of Molenbeek’s residents are Muslims of North African background. When a few years ago I was shown around the place, my acquaintances told me it was virtually extraterritorial as far as the Belgian state was concerned—apart from the collection of social security, of course.

而他与莫伦贝克区(至少三名参与巴黎恐袭的恐怖分子都来自这里)之间的联系也丝毫不会让人感到惊奇。布鲁塞尔——人们记忆中的“欧洲之都”——的穆 斯林人口占比略高于四分之一,而几乎所有的莫伦贝克区居民都是北非裔穆斯林。几年前一些熟人带着我在那里参观的时候,他们告诉我,对比利时政府来说,这个 区域几乎就是“免受司法管辖的治外之地”——当然,除了它还享受着这个国家的社保体系之外。

All the women wore headscarves, and the young men dressed like American rap music fans. The police rarely entered and were far more concerned not to offend Muslim sensibilities—for example, by not being seen to eat during Ramadan—than to find or capture the miscreants who made the area so dangerously crime-ridden. Businesses there (so my guides told me) paid no taxes but were not investigated for evasion by the tax authorities: it was the tax authorities who did the evading.

那里所有的女人都戴着头巾,而年轻男人都穿得像是美国饶舌音乐的狂热粉丝。警察很少进入这个区域,相比追踪和抓捕那些将这里变成一个犯罪猖獗之地的 恶棍,他们更关心的是千万不要触碰到穆斯林的敏感之处——例如,不要在斋月期间被穆斯林看到在白天吃东西。在那里做各种生意(我的导游告诉我)都不交税, 而且也不会受到税务局的调查:相反,税务局只要一听这个地方就会躲得远远的。

Everyone knew Islamist preaching and plotting were rife in Molenbeek, but nothing was done to stop it, in order to keep the tense and fragile peace going as long as possible. Sympathy for terrorism was the norm—or, it would be more correct to say, that no one dared publicly voice opposition to it.

所有人都知道,莫伦贝克区伊斯兰极端分子的宣传策划工作十分猖獗,却没有任何加以阻止的努力,而这只是为了将现有的脆弱和平状态维持得尽量久一些。对恐怖主义的同情成为常态——或者更准确的说,没有谁敢于公开反对。

If my informants were right, this was the perfect place for psychopaths with an illusion of purpose to flourish and make plans undisturbed by the authorities, while being supported by the welfare state. Events since have demonstrated that they did not exaggerate (as, to my regret, I rather suspected at the time that they did, for alarm is so often disproportionate to the reality that gives rise to it).

如果告诉我这些的人是对的,那么对于那些抱有疯狂幻想并且希望在不受当局干扰的状态下筹划自己行动的疯子们而言,这里就是人间天堂,与此同时,他们 还能够享受福利国家的支持。之后发生的事件已经证明了他们并没有夸大其词(而令我后悔的是,当时他们提醒我时,我也对他们的看法表示怀疑,相比警告成真后 人们所面对的残酷现实,之前的警告声总是显得微不足道)。

Recall that the terrorists who were disarmed on the train from Amsterdam to Paris in August came from Molenbeek, as did the man who killed four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in 2014. More volunteers to fight for ISIS have come from Molenbeek than anywhere else in Europe.

回想一下,今年8月那帮在阿姆斯特丹开往巴黎的火车上被人们提前发现并解除了武装的恐怖分子就来自于莫伦贝克区,而那个2014年在布鲁塞尔的犹太人博物馆里杀害了4个人的凶手也同样来自那里。莫伦贝克区为ISIS提供了比全欧洲任何其它地方都要多的志愿战士。

The Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, has now virtually admitted that the area was extraterritorial to Belgium, and out of all control. The time had come “to focus more on repression,” he said. But whether the determination or sufficient political unity necessary to carry it out will last is doubtful. Repression requires discrimination; we live in a regime in which murderers may come and go, but social security goes on forever.

现在,比利时首相米歇尔实际上已经承认该区域已成比利时的“治外之地”,并且已经完全失去了控制。他说,现在应该“把更多的注意力集中在压制上”。 但这种决心是否能得以坚持,或者,为实现这一目标所必须的足够的政治团结能够得以坚持,是值得怀疑的。压制就意味着区别对待,但在我们如今生活的这个社会 制度下,杀人犯来来去去,而社会保障则永不中断。

Do we have the stomach to tar many people with the same brush? That we now know that terrorists among the Syrian refugees have entered Europe, which was precisely the objection of those opposed to accepting them (who were vilified by immigration-liberals for their moral obtuseness or nastiness, and have been proven right, which is even more unforgivable), now raises the disturbing question: How many innocent people should Europe accept for one suicide bomber?

但我们要不要一竿子打倒一船人呢?现在我们已经知道,有些恐怖分子藏在叙利亚难民队伍里混入了欧洲,这正是之前那些反对接纳叙利亚难民入欧的人们所 提出的拒绝理由(为了诋毁他们,那些移民自由派们给他们扣上了“道德迟钝”或“道德败坏”之类的帽子,但最终事实证明他们的担忧是对的,这就让我们所犯下 的错误变得更加不可原谅),而现状又给我们提出了一个令人困扰的问题:为了一个自杀式炸弹袭击者欧洲要接纳多少无辜的难民?

A striking thing about the immigration debate before the massacres of November 13 was the almost complete absence of references, at least by the “respectable” politicians, to the national interest of the various countries. The debate was couched in Kantian moral terms. Sweden, for example, which has no imperative to take refugees other than moral grandiosity and its desire to feel itself virtuous, has had a hard enough time integrating the immigrants it has already taken; their entry has made that country one with nearly the highest crime rate in Western Europe. Current family re-unification laws in Europe mean that the numbers any country agrees to take will soon be expanded.

11月13日的巴黎大屠杀发生之前,在有关移民政策的辩论中令人吃惊的一点是,几乎完全没有人——至少那些“令人尊敬的”政客们中没有人——提及各 国的国家利益。这场辩论是以一种康德式道德辩论的方式进行的。举例来说,除了道德上华而不实的崇高感以及让自己觉得高尚之外,瑞典并没有任何必要去接收难 民,整合已接收的难民也让其已经历了一段非常困难的时期;这些难民进入之后,几乎把瑞典变成了整个西欧犯罪率最高的国家。而当前欧洲有关家庭重聚的法律则 意味着,很快每个国家都将同意接收数量更多的难民。

There is a real moral dilemma, of course. Recently in Bodrum, on the Aegean coast of Turkey, I was approached by a family of four Syrian refugees begging for alms. The father of the family showed me his Syrian passport (precisely of the kind so easily forged by the terrorists), but all I could see was his wife and two small children who were obviously bereft of support and who would obviously suffer without charity. That day, 22 refugees were reported drowned as they tried to reach Turkey by boat, an occurrence so regular that it was not reported in the Western press. No one undertakes such a journey lightly: only safety or an egocentric thirst for “martyrdom” could impel him.

显然,这里有个道德困境。最近在土耳其爱琴海沿岸城市博德鲁姆,一个叙利亚难民的四口之家走近我,希望我能施舍给他们些什么。这家的父亲给我看了他 的叙利亚护照(正是那种恐怖分子非常容易伪造的护照),但我所看到的只是他妻子和两个年幼的孩子所表现出的无助,如果得不到施舍,他们显然会吃很多苦。在 同一天,当地新闻报道了22名难民在乘船试图前往土耳其的途中溺水身亡的消息,而由于这类事情发生得如此频繁,西方媒体甚至都没有报道这条消息。没有人会 轻易选择踏上这样一段旅途:只有对安全的强烈渴求或是个人主义的“殉道”热望才能让人踏上这条路。

Europe has nothing equivalent to national interest, and if it did, it would have no way of acting on it. A kind of bloodless universalism has rushed in to fill the vacuum, whose consequences are now visible to all. The first thing President Hollande tried to do after the attacks was close the borders; he now talks (understandably, of course) of national security. He talks also of defeating ISIS militarily, but France, along with all of the other European countries, has run down its armed forces in the name of the social security that paid for at least some of the terrorists.

欧洲没有国家利益之类的东西,即使有,也不存在以之为名做些什么的政治途径。于是一种苍白无力的普世主义便趁虚而入填补了这一空白,其后果已经呈现 在了每个人面前。巴黎恐怖袭击发生后,奥朗德总统试图做的第一件事就是关闭边境;他现在开始谈论国家安全了(当然,这可以理解)。他同样开始谈论军事打击 ISIS,然而法国和其它的欧洲国家一样,已经以社保资金不足为由削减了自己武装力量,而这些钱中至少有一部分落入了恐怖分子的口袋。

Just because Europe’s weakness is clear doesn’t mean that our heads are clear. Three days after the attacks, the most influential newspaper in Britain (and in certain ways the best), the liberal-Left Guardian, ran 40 small photos of some the victims, with the headline, “Killed in the Pitiless Name of Terrorism.”

虽然欧洲的弱点已展露无遗,但这并不意味着我们的脑子就清醒了。在巴黎恐怖袭击发生仅仅三天之后,英国最具影响力的报纸(从某些角度说也是最好的)——左翼自由派的《卫报》,刊登了40张遇害者的小幅照片,而使用的标题则是“以冷酷的恐怖主义之名而遭杀害”。

They were not killed in the pitiless name of terrorism, of course. They were killed in the pitiless name of Islam—not the only possible interpretation if Islam, no doubt, but still in its name. In the cowardice of this headline was the encapsulated all the weakness of Europe, a real encouragement to the terrorists.

当然,他们并非以冷酷的恐怖主义之名而被杀死。他们是以冷酷无情的伊斯兰之名而被杀死——是的,这不是解读伊斯兰的唯一方式,但这些杀戮仍是以伊斯兰之名而行。《卫报》标题中所表现出的懦弱是今天欧洲所有弱点的集中体现,而这对恐怖分子们来说则是一种实实在在的激励。

Europe’s Muslims and social exclusion

Dalrymple identifies as a large threat to Europe’s future the presence of a sizeable and growing immigrant population, a big part of which, he says with delicate understatement, 

is not necessarily interested in integration.

As the population ages, the need for immigrant labour increases, and among sources of such labour are the Maghreb, the Middle East, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Dalrymple writes:

When I recently drove to Antwerp from the south of France, I thought I had arrived in Casablanca. There are parts of Brussels where the police are enjoined not to be seen eating or drinking during Ramadan. Similar accommodations are occurring all over Europe: in the Central Library in Birmingham, for example, I found a women-only table occupied exclusively by young Muslims dressed in the hijab. (They were the lucky ones, members of liberal households that allowed them out on their own.)

Across the non-border in France, there has been

a salutary monoculturalism,

but the country’s cock-eyed economic and social policies have

helped, if not to create, at least to maintain Muslim ghettoes. On one hand, the children of immigrants were told they were French; on the other, they were de facto excluded from the rest of society. Ferocious resentment was the result, and we ain’t seen nothing yet.

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