Regular readers are familiar with Anne-Kit’s excellent translations from Danish to English. As a change of pace, she has contributed an essay of her own, a meditation inpired by Jean Raspail’s novel The Camp of the Saints.
We were warned
by Anne-Kit of Perth, Australia
“In order to be, a society must defend itself against whatever and whoever might threaten its existence. The inability to defend oneself against the enemy has always been the sign of approaching death … Men can live and act together only if they are bound together by code and custom, myth and legend, sculpture and song … Where such underlying orthodoxy is lacking we find ourselves in the midst of an aggregate of ghettos, not a society.”
— Frederick Wilhelmsen, Editor of National Review, early 1960s
Imagine this scenario: The time is the near future; the setting is the South of France. It is Easter Sunday and 100 rusty, decrepit ships have just run aground off the coast of Provence, having completed a spontaneous and precarious journey half way around the world from India and bearing a cargo of 1 million destitute refugees from the subcontinent about to spill out and swarm ashore. The emaciated corpses of those who didn’t survive the journey litter the water around the ships. The squalor and the stench of unwashed bodies and excrement are indescribable.
We observe this through the eyes of M. Calguès, a retired professor of literature, ensconced in his 17th century ancestral home high in the hills of Provence and watching it all through a spyglass on his spacious terrace. Everyone else has fled and left their homes and belongings to the conquerors; he alone has decided to stay and await his destiny.
His home, a symbol of Western Civilisation, is a fortress, well-stocked with bread, cheese, ham, olives, home grown vegetables, wine, brandy and cigars. Curiously, he leaves his front door open, for “can a door protect a world that has lived too long?” He turns on his radio: Gone is the pop and jazz, the vapid talk show hosts, the experts on health and love and sex. Only Mozart is playing on every station.
Almost four decades ago, in 1973, French writer Jean Raspail published his novel The Camp of the Saints, which served as a worst-case scenario warning about the consequences of unchecked immigration into his native France and, by extension, all of the Western world. It could have been written yesterday. This is a deeply prophetic and extremely disturbing allegory of what is happening to the West today.
The novel takes place over a period of 50 days during which a flotilla of 100 unseaworthy ships filled to the brim with 1 million starving, miserable refugees from India whose only weapons are numbers and helplessness travel towards Europe with the intention of settling in the promised lands flowing with milk and honey.
No one invited them, but they were aided, abetted and encouraged by local Christian missionaries and left-wing human rights activists on the ground. When Belgium decides to terminate a Third World adoption program which had allowed for 40,000 Indian children to be adopted by Belgian families, a great throng of hungry Indians take it upon themselves to commandeer a fleet of rusty steamers in Calcutta and embark on a voyage to Europe.
We follow the events through several characters in France and observe the world reaction to the progress of the refugee fleet, with the media and intellectuals — and the church — praising and encouraging the undertaking, preparing to welcome “our guests” and continuing the guilt-ridden self-flagellation with which the West has been obsessed for the past three decades at least. A slogan is born, with disturbing modern resonances: “We are all from the Ganges now!”
A few whistleblowers see the impending catastrophe for what it is. The problem is what to do about it. Do we cave in, the result of which will be the certain death of Western Civilisation and the white race? For if the first wave succeeds, others will follow. Or do we resist? And how? Do we kill 1 million defenceless human beings, many of them women and children? If not, how else do we resist and stop the destruction of our civilisation? Or perhaps the question is, do we have the strength and even the collective will to stop it?
– – – – – – – – –
In the last days before the ships lurch through the Straits of Gibraltar and it becomes obvious that they are headed for France, the French begin to panic. At the last minute the President commands the armed forces to defend the country but it is too late. Most of the army and navy desert; the inhabitants of the south flee north, police abandon their posts, jails are opened and prisoners rampage.
When the Ganges refugees swarm ashore in the South of France, others around the world follow suit in their respective regions.
A small band of stalwarts with the will to defend their last little corner of Provence to the bitter end find their way to M. Calguès and his villa in the hills, where — reminiscent of the protagonists of Boccaccio’s Decameron awaiting the plague — they spend a few weeks talking and laughing, eating and drinking, singing and shooting anyone approaching the house. They keep a tally of enemies killed: Those from the Ganges and those they call “fellow travellers” or traitors. The end comes in the form of an aerial attack which turns the ancient homestead to rubble. The West dies with it, and an Orwellian society emerges out of the ashes into some sort of multi-racial commune.
Raspail states in his introduction to the 1985 French Edition: “For the West is empty, even if it has not yet become really aware of it. An extraordinarily inventive civilisation, surely the only one capable of meeting the challenges of the third millennium, the West has no soul left. At every level — nations, races, cultures, as well as individuals — it is always the soul that wins the decisive battles. It is only the soul that forms the weave of gold and brass from which the shields that save the strong are fashioned. I can hardly discern any soul in us.”
Raspail was of course vilified as a racist when the book was published, but it is interesting to note that he conveys — through characters in the book — that “being white isn’t really a question of colour. It’s a whole mental outlook.” In other words, as with Islam, it is not a question of skin colour but rather of culture, of civilisation, mindset and outlook. It is appropriate that the character speaking these words is a well-assimilated Ceylonese (or Sri Lankan, in contemporary terminology) who joins the “resistance” fighting on the side of the West. Early on he calls in to a talk radio show which is engaged in eulogising the voyage of the refugees: “You don’t know my people. The squalor, the superstitions, the fatalistic sloth they’ve wallowed in for generations. You don’t know what you’re in for if that fleet of brutes ever lands in your lap! Everything will change in this country of yours. My country now, too. They’ll swallow you up …” and then they cut him off.
That the church in the story has sold out on Western Civilisation and, in essence, on Christianity, is a painful reminder of its real-world parallel in the UK, where the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, actively encourages the introduction of Sharia law to further social cohesion. Not to mention the ultimate Establishment figure, the Prince of Wales, who has publicly declared that when he is King he will be the “Defender of Faith”, not the “Defender of the Faith”. What a difference a word makes!
As in the novel, it takes someone from the former colonies, former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali to stand up for Western values and defend the Judeo-Christian heritage which underpins our way of life.
Raspail explains how he was inspired to write the book which “seemed to have been dictated by an otherworldly force, by an inspiration from on high I wouldn’t dare name … Where the devil would I otherwise have drawn the courage to write it? I came out of these eighteen months of work unrecognisable, judging by the photograph on the back of the jacket of the first edition: my face exhausted, older by ten years than my age today, and with the look of someone tormented by too many visions.”
Many have wondered why, in The Camp of The Saints, it is brown and black human masses coming from the far-away Ganges rather than Muslims from the shores of the Mediterranean that overwhelm the South of France. One word: Prudence. Even back in 1973 it would have been too dangerous and politically explosive to exacerbate the cultural tensions already discernible.
The book is mesmerising, terrifying. It will shake you to the core and I doubt if anyone would read it for pleasure, but it is impossible to dismiss and the feelings of revulsion and unease will stay with you for weeks. But I believe it is a crucial work that needs to be brought to the attention of people everywhere, for the problems it deals with are problems we will all be forced to deal with before long. There will be no fence sitting in this matter, and we cannot say we were not warned.
Although it is clear that the issues are of a cultural more than a racial nature I confess that I struggle with the race issue myself. I am Scandinavian: My father was Danish and my mother Norwegian, and though I now live in Australia I retain very strong feelings and connections to my native country, to the point that I have not taken Australian citizenship purely because I’d have to give up my Danish nationality, as Denmark does not recognise dual citizenship.
I do not hate other races and do not want to wipe anyone else out, but I have an affinity for my own kind, and I would be very sad if there were no longer any blue-eyed blond people on this earth. It is not that we are more beautiful than people with other colouring but we are just as beautiful and just as worthy of preservation. Doesn’t everyone want to preserve their own kind? Isn’t that just human nature? We occupy ourselves these days with the conservation of obscure species of plants and animals found to be on the brink of extinction, but if I start talking about keeping my race or bloodline pure it sounds like Nazi propaganda, even to my own ears.
Is there a way around this?
Why am I made to feel it is wrong and shameful to want to see my own kind perpetuated?
It may be futile anyway; it may be too late. How can we fight the facts? Almost 7 billion people on the earth, only 900 million of whom are white.
Raspail: “What’s to be done, since no one would wish to renounce his own human dignity by acquiescing to racism? What’s to be done since, simultaneously, all persons and all nations have the sacred right to preserve their differences and identities, in the name of their own future and their own past?”
I am sitting in my office. I have Beethoven, Mozart, Grieg and Handel playing through the speakers, celebrating these giants of Western culture and civilisation.
If Raspail’s prophecy is fulfilled, will we still be listening to them in 2100?