The worldwide commotion let loose by the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that was published a few years ago in Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper was both a surprise and a tragedy, especially for those directly affected by it. Lives were lost, buildings were destroyed , and people were driven into hiding.
And yet the unbalanced reactions to the not-so-provocative caricatures – loud denunciations and even death threats toward us, but very little outrage toward the people who attacked two Danish Embassies – unmasked unpleasant realities about Europe’s failed experiment with multiculturalism. It’s time for the Old Continent to face facts and make some profound changes in its outlook on immigration, integration, and the coming Muslim demographic surge. After decades of appeasement and political correctness, combined with growing fear of a radical minority prepared to commit serious violence, Europe’s moment of truth is here.
Europe today finds itself trapped in a posture of moral relativism that is undermining its liberal values. An unholy three-cornered alliance between Middle East dictators, radical imams who live in Europe, and Europe’s traditional left wing is enabling a politics of a vicious circle. This politics drives a culture that resists integration and adaptation, perpetuates national and religious differences, and aggravates such debilitating social ills as high immigrant crime rates and entrenched unemployment.
I saw life through the lens of the countercultural turmoil, adopting both the hippie pose and the political superiority complex of my generation. My high school peers and I believed that the West was imperialistic and racist. We analysed decaying Western civilisation through the texts of Marx and Engels and lionized John Lennon’s beautiful but stupid tune about an ideal world without private property: “Imagine no possessions/ I wonder if you can/ No need for greed or hunger/ A brotherhood of man/ Imagine all the people/ Sharing all the world.”
It took me only a month and cable television to help me realise what a world without private property looks like, although many years had to pass until the full implications of the central Marxist dogma became clear to me.
That experience was the beginning of a long intellectual journey that has thus far culminated in the reactions to the Mohammed cartoons. Point of conclusion would be equal treatment is the democratic way to overcome traditional barriers of blood and soil for newcomers. To me, that means treating immigrants just as I would any other Australians.
Maybe Australia needs to take a leaf – or a whole book – from the American experience. For a new Australia of many cultures that is somehow a single entity to emerge, as it has in the United States, will take effort from both sides – the native-born and the newly arrived. For the immigrants, the expectation that they not only learn the host language but also respect their new countries’ political and cultural traditions is not too much to demand, and some stringent (maybe too stringent) new laws are being passed to force that. At the same time, Aussies must show a willingness to jettison entrenched notions of blood and soil and accept people from foreign countries and cultures as just what they are, the new Aussies.