July 19, 2006

Why the love of England makes me sad

It took Melanie Phillips three years to find a publisher for her book "Londonistan". Three weeks ago, it was finally published and is a bestseller in England already.

The website of the German newspaper DIE WELT performed an interview with Melanie Phillips under the header "Bei uns ist der Terrorist das Opfer" (Here, The Terrorist Is The Victim), of which I post a short but decisive part here.

I had to re-translate it from German to English, and I hope that my translation meets Ms. Phillips' intentions.
Phillips: What the British establishment don't understand is that the conflict has religious roots. They prefer to look for excuses for terrorists with the result that they are blaming themselves in the end. Following this logic, Muslims are victims of prejudice, xenophobia, poverty or foreign politics. Our society is paralysed by the doctrine of multiculturalism. Any criticism of a minority can only be rooted in prejudice. Additionally, many Englishmen don't understand religious fanaticism.

WELT online: That shouldn't be too different from the rest of Europe.

Phillips: But even more so in England. It was a specific strength of the Brits for centuries, and a great protection against tyranny, that they never subscribed much to the "world of ideas". They tend to only believe what they see. The flipside of this anti-intellectualism is that the concept of religious fanaticism is completely alien to them. If somebody commits suicide, that is an unfathomable, incomprehensible deed, and the reason for it can only be that the terrorist must have suffered unfathomable, incomprehensible things to do what he did. Thus, the terrorist becomes the victim. The Brits are in a state of denial. They refuse to face the full extent of the threat.
Ms. Phillips clarifies for me what I always felt on a gut level, namely that dwelling among the English is preferable to dwelling among my own countrymen precisely because of the lack of intolerance and zealotry, both so firmly established in the German mindset (and yes, including my own). Now it is turned against them.

I love England and I am sad.