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.


Pastorius said...

I see what you mean. My relatives are English. For the past few years, I have only heard the anti-Semitism and the anti-Americanism. So, that's what I have come to associate with England.

I think I understand the anti-Americanism, but I wonder how Melanie Phillips would explain the anti-Semitism.

The_Editrix said...

You are a bit hard on England and would be amazed if your relatives were German.

English antisemitism is, from what I see in both countries, more of the xenophobic kind and not of the eliminatory racist kind the Germans did exercise and are still cultivating.

Why that is so I can only guess. First it is the relative freedom from fanaticism and rejection of ideologies the English exercise, as Phillips describes it.

Second, my guess would be that the feudal system has a lot to answer for as well.

America, which was founded as a rejection of feudalism, is as far as possible free from antisemitism.

In Germany, the feudal structures were specifically intransigent with a corresponding antisemitism. England with more penetrable structures hence has a less virulent form of antisemitism.

Of course, the "White guilt" complex of a former major colonialist power adds to a politically correct and "multi-cultural" outlook.

And antiamericanism? The Germans can't forgive the Americans that they freed them from Hitlerism and the French and the Brits that they had to save their sorry asses twice in less than thirty years.

Just my theories, of course.

A Free Man said...

I agree with you, it is very sad the place where the English find themselves now! They are one of the great races of the world, they built a glorious empire, spreading liberty, parliaments, free trade, the rule of law across the world.
Now they are reduced to this, being blown up on their way to work. A government that has betrayed them, opened the borders and casaully allowed millions in, who should not be here! They are betrayed to the EU, an orginisation determined to abolish the UK!
Treason is not too harsh a word when discussing the British elite and it's treatment of the British people over the past 40 years