The Revenge of Islam
In March of 2009, I posted my translation of an article by René Servoise, former ambassador of France to Indonesia. At that time, the article appeared at several French websites, but only after much searching did I locate what might have been its original date - sometime around or before 1993. I entitled the article A Warning to the French People, but I could have entitled it The Handwriting on the Wall. My version received tremendous coverage on the Internet.
After more searching I found another, similarly prescient, article by ambassador Servoise, one that had appeared in Le Monde, specifically dated January 7, 1988, entitled Listen, White Man... and reprinted later at Voix des Français. Bear in mind this date, because there are references to the USSR:
Today, borne on one of those immense deep waves that periodically lift it high, Islam is enjoying a renewal born from the depths of its being. But there is more; in our time, it is fed by the resentments of proletarian peoples. Thus, religious aspirations and material dissatisfaction are closely mixed, and often connect to a concern for the future.
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Morocco to Indonesia; from North to South, from the Islamic Republics of the USSR to black Africa, Islam is awakening. Islam is imposing itself through its numbers (a thousand million faithful) and even more so through the simplicity of its doctrine: "Obey the will of God and force the infidels to obey." Young Islam, young through the composition of its growing population, while the West that "snuffed out its sons in its bed" is aging and not renewing itself. Islam, decisively aided by its women who are terrified by the society into which Western amorality, so lethal to the weak, is drawing them. Islam, which like any movement cannot succeed unless it is confronted by an opponent that aggrandizes it. It has found such an opponent in the West, and combining its own combat with the aspirations of the Third World, it has transformed this combat into the struggle of the century.
Only the West could have allowed Islam to mobilize and re-mobilize. Why? Because the West, having consummated its rupture with the Eternal, is a scandal in the eyes of believers throughout the world. The West more and more is affirming its true nature. "The Westerner, at bottom, is an atheist." (Alain) The Oriental, by contrast, is religious and refuses the desacralization of the universe, perceiving it as a mutilation. In addition, the liquidation of colonial empires is on-going in our time. Here is the second phase: the eradication of the moral heritage bequeathed by the West, denounced for its cultural domination and its economic exploitation. That is the general cause. What is the particular detonator? The hundreds of thousands of refugees, sons and daughters of Palestinians, who were yesterday sitting in refugee camps, and today are strewn like so many twigs in the immensity of the Islamic world, following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
Islam has incorporated into its combat all those aspirations of men naively denied and systematically rejected by atheist Marxism. Islam has integrated them into its demands. The revolt is therefore not only that of a few countries affected by Islamic fundamentalism. Black Africa or Latin America or the Far East certainly could have conceived of it and formulated it, but they could not have universalized it in its articulation. For that, they needed a philosophy, a religion which, transcending the borders imposed by Europe, proves itself capable of uniting, in one same wave, peoples who differ from each other by their skin color, of bringing them together under the same banner, and of leading them by means of commandements. We are indeed, let's admit it, confronted with a tremendous pulsation of history.
After decades, if not centuries, of slumber and at times submission, the hour of revenge has come. The hour of inebriation too, even if in this heterogenous coalition there are opposing ambitions and rival dogmas. In countries where there is sunlight or shadow, the believer or the infidel, the vision is simple: everything is either black or white. Good or Evil are incarnated in people. There is God or Satan. In shanty towns and in universities, hundreds of thousands of Julien Sorels - their minds uncultivated or turned towards mystic callings - are chomping at the bit. Marxism offers a simplified explanation for their misery and their underdevelopment. And here they are, spiritually armed. In short, they are resentful and they are after us.
At a time when Maoism has joined its founder in the grave, when Marxism is being questioned even in the USSR; when Christianity is more preoccupied with self-analysis than with inspiring the West, Islam (which means "submission") is affirming itself in the world as an immense upheavel. Its contradictions are not so much weaknesses as they are opportunities for oneupmanship. It reflects and conveys the aspirations of the third world as entitlements. Muslim fundamentalism is on the march.
Note: Alain (1868 - 1951) is the nom de plume of Emile-Auguste Chartier, a French writer devoted pacifism and anti-fascism.
Julien Sorel is the confused and naively ambitious protagonist of The Red and the Black, a novel by Stendhal. You can read a synopsis of the story at Wikipedia.
Below, celebrating Eïd in Trafalgar Square
Below, New York City lights up green for Eïd.