But not many years later a prominent colonial era Aussie politician (someone called Henry, I seem to recall: probably Henry Wrixon of Victoria yet possibly Henry Parkes of New South Wales) was writing of the futility people made in undertaking trips back to the Motherland for nostalgia's sake. After twenty years in Australia, he mused, those who visited their former abodes with idealistic expectations were bound to be disappointed: time and mores and people had not stood still; recapturing the remembered past was impossible.
As the British novelist L. P. Hartley put it, famously, more recently, "the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there". He wrote that in 1953. How unnervingly apt, indeed how almost literally apt, it is 60 years later, with the Muslim population doubling in the past ten years and with immigration-driven demographic change occurring on a scale not seen since that wrought by the Norman Conquest, leading to predictions that, if current trends continue, by 2066 the "white British" will be a minority in their native Isles.
And Hartley's phrase is apt not only to Britain, but elsewhere in Eurabia. As a Dutch-born commenter observes on this Sydney Morning Herald op-ed by Paul Sheehan deploring certain difficulties Geert Wilders's forthcoming speaking tour of Australia under the auspices of the Q Society in Australia is encountering,
"Having grown up in the Netherlands, I have first hand seen what tolerance has done to that little nation. Not saying that all Muslims are the same, but there is certainly a very big cultural difference between the Muslim thought and the Western societies they live in. Especially the intolerance from them is what is causing a lot of the problems...."Of course not all Muslims should be tarred with the same brush. To do so is unconscionable. But, irrespective of whether or not Wilders should be scorned or lauded, it is essential for free societies to be wary. Remember that Sydney demo last year, at which the above photo was taken? Remember those Hizb-ut-Tahrir videos I've linked to from time to time? Despite such manifestations of extremism, some Australians are just too phlegmatic. Take, for example, this comment by one Davo on Sheehan's piece:
"So the Q society want to let Aussies know how Islam can change society. Are you for real? Muslims account for approximately 2% of our population. Fear, paranoia and downright bullshit...."A suitable riposte came from a commenter called Ironbark:
"There was a stage when the Islamic population represented 2% of the French and Dutch populations....
The problem is that combining continuing immigration with developing world birth rates and 2% very quickly becomes the 10% that now exists in France with Muhammad now being the most popular boys name in Rotterdam.... [I]t is not hysteria to talk about these demographic trends when there is clear evidence in other countries on where this leads.
There are examples of this if one is prepared to look. Take Bradford, England. The majority of new marriages in Bradford are now 'cousin marriages' - i.e. marrying ones first cousin which is common in rural Pakistan. This is a practice common amongst 1 billion people - but not in England. In the space of 30 years, the culture of a city has changed dramatically without the consent of the original inhabitants of the city.
Australians have a right to say who may live in their community and the values that are necessary for everyone to get along. If people believe in totalitarianism and Sharia law, there are plenty of societies that they can live in without inflicting those values on people who believe we are free born men and women living with private property rights, individual liberties and a representative democracy."And of course the support for Hezbollah seen in Australia at the weekend (hat tip: reader Ian) reinforces the need for concern.
As reported here,
"Hundreds of Syrians and left-wing activists assembled in Sydney, Australia Sunday in a show of support for beleaguered Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad. Waving Syrian flags, as well as flags of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, the protestors accused the U.S., the U.K., and Israel of seeking to destabilize Syria. A popular sign at the rally showed the flag of the Syrian revolutionary forces modified with Jewish stars of David replacing the five-pointed Arab stars...."Regarding the incongruous support that Western lefties show to Islamists, Daniel Pipes put it well in a review of an important work by Pascal Bruckner:
'.... As shown by the Madrid bombing and countless other acts of violence, Muslims tend to have the most hostile attitudes toward the West, and Palestinians rank as the most hostile of Muslims. That Palestinians face off against Jews, the extreme victims of Western murderousness, makes them a perversely ideal vehicle for rebutting Western guilt. Making matters worse, even as Europeans disarm themselves, Jews take up the sword and wield it unashamedly.
Europe exonerates itself of crimes against Jews by extolling Palestinians as victims, no matter how viciously they act, and by portraying Israelis as latter-day Nazis, no matter how necessary their self-defense. Thus has the Palestinian question "quietly relegitimated hatred of the Jews." Europeans focus on Israel with such an intensity that one could think the fate of the planet will be determined "in a tiny stretch of land between Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and Gaza." ....'Read all of Pipes's review here