Meanwhile, Back in France


Silvio Berlusconi’s finest 1/2 hour came shortly after 9/11 when he became the first and only Western leader to point out the duh-obvious distinctions between Western civilization and Islam — essentially, one culture enshrines liberty, one does not — and made the rather modest call for us to be aware of the distinction. For this he was pilloried, excoriated, heaped with scorn the world over, and beat a retreat rapido. (I discuss the episode at some length in The Death of the Grown-Up.)

This plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face observation thus successfully purged from the political mainstream, it became the hotly controversial domain of so-called “far right” political figures across Europe, from Filip Dewinter in Belgium to Geert Wilders in Holland to Oskar Freysinger on Switzerland to Heinz Christian Straache in Austria to Pia Kjærsgaard in Denmark and on into Italy, Britain, France, Germany and more.

Now, a French interior minister in Nicolas Sarkozy’s government has stepped onto the chopping block with the same message, albeit with more bite. Not only should we be aware of the distinction, we should protect our pro-humanity Western civilization. He made his “outrageous” comments on Saturday. Now, watch the denunciations fly.

Suspense: Will he cave?

AFP reports:

    French Interior Minister Claude Guéant said on Sunday he stood by remarks that not all civilisations are equal,

    as critics denounced his comments as dangerous and xenophobic. Guéant, who is also responsible for immigration and is known as a hardliner, provoked a storm of controversy with the comments on Saturday.

    “Contrary to what the left’s relativist ideology says, for us all civilisations are not of equal value,” Guéant told a gathering of right-wing students.

    “Those which defend humanity seem to us to be more advanced than those that do not,” he said.

    “Those which defend liberty, equality and fraternity, seem to us superior to those which accept tyranny, the subservience of women, social and ethnic hatred,” he said in his speech, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

    He also stressed the need to “protect our civilisation”.

    The sky is blue, the pope is Catholic, Grant is buried in Grant’s Tomb and the Battle of White Plains took place in White Plains.

    “I do not regret (the comments),” Guéant said on Sunday, though he accused critics of taking them “out of context”.

    The left denounced his speech as an attempt by President Nicolas Sarkozy to woo supporters of the the far-right National Front (FN) ahead of a two-round presidential election in April and May.

    Harlem Desir, the number two in the French Socialist Party, slammed “the pitiful provocation from a minister reduced to a mouthpiece for the FN”.

    Bernard Cazeneuve, a spokesman for Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande, denounced the remarks as “divisive and degrading” while former Socialist candidate Ségolène Royal called them “dangerous.”

    Sarkozy’s allies were quick to defend the minister, however.

    Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said it was simply “common sense” to suggest that civilisations could be ranked according to values such as “respecting personal rights, rejecting violence or abolishing the death penalty”.

    Finance Minister François Baroin accused the left of “exploiting the statements for electoral gain”.

    Foreign Minister Alain Juppé suggested that his colleague had meant to say that “all ideas, all political systems are not equal”.

    Speaking on BFM television, Juppé said however one should avoid talking of a shock of civilisations, suggesting the term was “inadequate”.

    Guéant has repeatedly linked immigration with crime in France and last month said the delinquency rate among immigrants was “two to three times higher” than the national average.

    In April, he declared that an increase in the number of Muslim faithful in France posed a “problem”.

Quelle probleme!

    He has also said that he wants to reduce the number of legal immigrants entering France, including those coming to work legally or to join their families.

    His latest comments came as the FN’s presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is credited with about 20 percent support in opinion polls. Contributor Diana West is a journalist and columnist whose writing appears in several high profile outlets. She also has a website:

February 7, 2012 | 5 Comments »

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

Leave a Reply

5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. This handily sums up the battle of the 21st century. Is there an absolute truth or is truth simply a relative concept determined by the beholder with each and every beholder being of the same value in terms of what they behold? This conflict is the thread that runs though every major conflict on the planet today. It is what defines and differentiates the left from the right, the democrat from the republican, the Islamist from the Judea-Christian, the liberal from the conservative, the religious from the secular and so on. How it will resolve is destined to transform the planet as we know it. May the resolution come soon and be as bloodless and painless as possible!

  2. Isn’t it perverse that those who defend freedom and respect for human rights and enlightened western values are regarded as right wing extremists, while those defending totalitarian islam are regarded as “liberals”? How does one justify calling for tolerance for an intolerant ideology? How do those who proclaim they are liberal defend the imposition on western societies of a backward culture which violates basic human rights and denies freedoms and condemn others who tout western liberal values?

  3. If I read correctly Bat Ye’Or’s books on the Islamization of Europe, it is a bit too late for courageous, anti-multiculturism statements of the sort. But there are necessary nevertheless. We should hold tumbs and toes for those who dare to make them.