Deporting the Other

Deporting the Other

by Rev. Frank Julian Gelli

Eric Zemmour likes to annoy, provoke and infuriate. A habitual critic of bagatelles like Anglo-Saxon world hegemony, free trade, feminism, gays and Islam, the vitriolic French journalist may have gone too far in plugging bad ideas: the removal of millions of French Muslims, voila’!

Shades of Spanish King Philip III. 416 years ago that Habsburg monarch decreed the expulsion of the Moriscos. People descended from the Arab conquerors of Spain centuries before and left behind after the fall of Granada in 1492. Nominally baptised Christians, most Moriscos privately stuck to Islamic rites and diet. No fans of religious pluralism and backed by the Inquisition, Philip and his chief minister, the Duke of Lerma, had over 300.00 Muslims forcibly put on ships and dumped on the North African coast. Role models for Zemmour?

The Frenchman did not use the toxic word ‘deportation’. An Italian journalist - a notable conjunction of names indicating duplicity – mentioned it during an interview. Zemmour called it ‘unrealistic’ but he also invoked creepy historical examples, like the post-WWII expulsion of millions of Germans from Eastern Europe and the 1960 exodus of over a million French colonists from Algeria. (The latter left voluntarily but remaining to face the vengeance of the Arabs was never a jolly option for Europeans.) Moreover, he also intimated that, realistic or not, his idea was better than risking future chaos and civil war.

Suspend disbelief for a moment. I see two big problems with this scenario: justice and feasibility. Take it the latter first. It took Spaniards nearly five years to expel 300.00 Moriscos by sea. And the Spanish Moors were a defeated, subjugated and downcast race, unable to offer much resistance.  French Muslims – five millions of them - are not like that. It is unlikely they would gladly agree to depart of their own free will. Brute force, violence would have to be employed. Besides, I imagine quite a few Frenchmen would take the Muslims’ side. Wouldn’t that then throw France into that very civil war Zemmour pretends seeking to avoid?

Moreover, has this smart journalist given any thought to the matter of retaliation? Arab and Islamic countries would be enraged – can you blame them? They could do tit for tat. What if they started kicking out their own European or Christian minorities? What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Justice. France is a nation based on the principles of the 1789 revolution. She boasts her allegiance to the sacred secular trinity of ‘liberte’, egalite’, fraternite’. No analogy at all with 17th century Spain, a country driven by a militant Catholic self-consciousness and sense of spiritual supremacy. Her laws enforced by the Crown, the Church and the Inquisition. The French state by contrast is non-religious. It strictly upholds the laicite’, separation from Church and State. France is a liberal-democratic polity, committed to the rule of law, same rights for all French citizens. Legally, it seems impossible that millions of people could be forcibly transferred elsewhere. Oh, yes, it would also violate international law.

One justification given for deporting the Moriscos was that they were disloyal subjects. A fifth column, potentially in league with Spain’s deadliest enemies, the Ottoman Turks, and willing to stab Catholics in the back during war. Again, there is no parallel with French Muslims. France is not menaced with invasion by any Islamic country. Internal jihadists are a miniscule minority and the overwhelming majority of followers of the Crescent are peaceful, minding their own business and their religion.

I suspect Zemmour, a clever man, is not serious. He does not really believe in his loopy proposal. You see, he has a book to sell, The French Suicide. And selling it he does, 400.00 copies so far. Bad publicity, they say, is better than no publicity. Himself of immigrant, Jewish origins, Zemmour might as well with similar shock and horror have suggested the repatriation of his own community to the State of Israel. (Presumably the latter would be over the moon, as Zionism desperately needs immigrants.) Maybe next time he can try that one…

The Islamification of France is a frightful bogey agitated by the Right. I wonder why. The Right is supposed to care for Christianity. How do Muslims stop French Christians from being Christians? Do Muslims stand at the doors of churches, preventing the faithful from going in? From celebrating their festivals? If you can’t get Christmas, religious postcards (A Frenchie I met at the Wimbledon post office told me so) it is because of the hideous laicite’ state dogma, not because of Muslims.

Nor does Islam stop French females from having lots of kids and giving them Christian names. If too many Frenchmen are atheists or lukewarm about their ancestral faith, how is that the fault of Muslims? If anything, the presence in your midst of fervent believers in another religion should be a spur to being more serious and zealous about your own, no?

Above all,  Zemmour is illogical. If he is really so worried about feminism, homosexuality, American cultural influence and free market, libertarian economics, has he ever thought that he could find in Islam a friend rather than a foe?

Of course, the possibility is that he just does not like Muslims.

Too bad. He’d better put up with them because I prophesy this: they are not leaving.

Rant Number 614       3 January 2015     .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)