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Paris burning: How empires end

by Patrick J. Buchanan
November 09, 2005

The Romans conquered the barbarians – and the barbarians conquered Rome. So it goes with empires. And comes now the final chapter in the history of the empires of the West.

This is the larger meaning of the ritual murder of Theo van Gogh in Holland, the subway bombings in London, the train bombings in Madrid and the Paris riots spreading across France. The perpetrators of these crimes in the capitals of Europe are the children of immigrants who were once the colonial subjects of the European empires.

At this writing, the riots are entering their 12th night and have spread to Rouen, Lille, Marseille, Toulouse, Dijon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Cannes and Nice. Thousands of cars and buses have been torched, and several nursery schools firebombed. One fleeing and terrified woman was doused with gasoline and set ablaze. French police are now being shot at and wounded.

The rioters are of Arab and African descent, and Muslim. While almost all are French citizens, they are not part of the French people. For never have they been assimilated into French culture or society. And some wish to remain who and what they are. They live in France, but are not French.

The rampage began on Oct. 27, when two Arab youths, fleeing what they mistakenly thought was police pursuit, leapt onto power lines and were electrocuted. The two deaths ignited the riots.

Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy, a candidate to succeed President Chirac, is said to have infuriated and inflamed the rioters. Before the rampage began, he promised "war without mercy" on crime in the teeming suburbs, where unemployment runs at 20 percent and income is 40 percent below the national average. He has denounced the rioters as "scum" and "rabble" – and if the riots persist, his stock will rise.

Like the urban riots in America in the 1960s, which the Kerner Commission blamed on "white racism," Paris' riots are being blamed on France's failure to bring Islamic immigrants into the social and economic mainstream. Solutions being offered range from voting rights for non-citizens to affirmative action in hiring the children of Third World immigrants.

To understand why this is unlikely to solve France's crisis, consider how America succeeded, and often failed, in solving her own racial crisis.

While, as late as the 1950s, black Americans were not integrated fully into our economy or society, they had been assimilated into American culture. They worshipped the same God, spoke the same language, had endured the same Depression and war, listened to the same music and radio, watched the same TV shows, laughed at the same comedians, went to the same movies, ate the same foods, read the same books, magazines and newspapers, and went to schools where, even when they were segregated, they learned the same history.

We were divided, but we were also one nation and one people. Black folks were as American as apple pie, having lived in our common land longer than almost every other ethnic group save Native Americans. And America had a history of having assimilated immigrants in the tens of millions from Europe.

But no European nation has ever assimilated a large body of immigrant peoples, let alone people of color. Moreover, the African and Islamic peoples pouring into Europe – there are 20 million there now – are, unlike black Americans, strangers in a new land, and millions wish to remain proud Algerians, Muslims, Moroccans.

These newcomers worship a different God and practice a faith historically hostile to Christianity, a traditionalist faith that is rising again and recoils violently from a secular culture saturated in sex.

Severed from the civilization and cultures of their parents, these Arab and Muslim youth may hold French citizenship and carry French passports, but they are no more French than Americans who live in Paris. Searching for a community to which they can truly belong, they gravitate to mosques where the imams, many themselves immigrants, teach and preach that the West is not their true home, but a civilization alien to their values and historically hostile to their nations and Islam.

In any "war of civilizations," the soaring Muslim population is a potential Fifth Column inside Europe.

Nevertheless, their numbers must grow. For not only do they have a higher birthrate than the native-born Europeans, no European nation, save Muslim Albania, has a birthrate (2.1 births per woman) that will enable it to endure for many more generations. The West is aging, shrinking and dying.

Yet, to keep Europe's economy growing and taxes coming in to fund the health and pension programs of Europe's rising numbers of retired and elderly, Europe needs scores of millions of new workers. And Europe can only find them in the Third World.

Nor should Americans take comfort in France's distress. By 2050, there will be 100 million Hispanics in the United States – half of them of Mexican ancestry – heavily concentrated in a Southwest most Mexicans still believe by right belongs to them.

Colonization of the mother countries by subject peoples is the last chapter in the history of empires – and the next chapter in the history of the West, which is now coming to a close.

2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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