This post was first published on April 1. It was a “sticky” feature for a week; scroll down for more recent items.
Spring Fundraiser 2019, Day Seven
Update from the Baron: Burnout
The theme of this week’s bleg has been the history of Gates of Vienna. My final update, which is somewhat tangential to the main theme, is burnout. Which is a significant concern for those of us who work full-time in this field.
But first the nuts and bolts of what we’ve been doing this week: This is a quarterly week-long begging exercise in which Dymphna and I blather on while asking our readers to drop money in our tip cup (or use this PayPal link). This is how we keep this website alive — we don’t have jobs, no foundation sponsors us, and there are no paid ads on the site. We don’t even get any Russian money, sad to say!
And now a few brief thoughts on burnout.
This is a tough line of work. If you pay close attention to the Great Jihad and related issues, you encounter nasty things that you’d really rather not see or hear about. Add to that the drumbeat of dhimmitude — the constant stream of news reports on the cultural and political submission of the West to Islam — and it gets pretty dispiriting.
To make matters even worse, there’s the vicious opprobrium that awaits anyone whose “Islamophobic” opinions and activities are exposed to public view. We’re fortunate to live out here in the back of beyond where most people are “deplorables” of one sort or another, and hardly anybody even pays attention to this sort of thing. But people who live in big cities, especially on the East or Left Coasts, can really pay a price if their opinions become public knowledge. Their lives can be made a living hell.
All of this is a recipe for burnout. I’ve seen a fair number of Counterjihadists burn out during the past fifteen years. Some of them were actually burned out of the game by flamethrowers directed at them during the Breivik crisis. But most just reached the limit of what they could take — “I really don’t think I want to do this anymore.”
This seems to be especially true of translators. In order to translate articles or videos, they have to pay close attention to the material, and read or listen to it over and over again. If, like most people, they had previously been averting their gaze from all that ugliness, the rush of evil information they take in day after day can really weigh them down. After a while their production starts to tail off, and they gradually retire from translation.
I admire the doughty folks who have stuck to the translation task year after year. They all deserve our gratitude for their persistence.
Vlad and I have been working together for ten years, and we help keep each other from going insane in the face of all the stuff we encounter. When we have to deal with something particularly vile, we get on the phone and discuss all the various aspects of it, which prevents the monstrousness from overwhelming us entirely. I remember how bad it got back during the summer of 2014, when the Islamic State was beheading its way through Syria and North Africa. We had to watch those nightmare-inducing videos all the time. I finally had to quit watching them — “I’ve seen enough, no more for me.” I don’t know how Vlad does it.
Anyway, I haven’t burned out, not yet. I plan to carry on with this work for as long as I possibly can.
Saturday’s gifts flowed in from:
Stateside: Alaska, Arizona, California, Michigan, and Virginia
Far Abroad: Hungary, Israel, and the UK
The spring fundraiser will be officially over this time tomorrow. I’ll post the wrap-up — including the final list of all the locations — a day or two later.
Dymphna’s Saturday Update:
With historical endeavors, it’s probably a wise thing to start with beginnings, though in this case we just jumped right into the middle. What were we thinking? Maybe it wasn’t thinking but more like enthusiasm — e.g. “Oh, let’s talk about that”. Whatever ‘that’ was… my mind begins to resemble a trackless waste with a few desiccated cacti.
Oh, before I forget again: at the beginning of each fundraiser post I’m supposed to make the plug for donations, please.
Dinero. Shekels. Dollars. [See the Baron for the etymological connections] In other words, money enough to keep us going to the next milestone, which is but a few months away, not counting timeslips. Or times’ lips — whichever touches us first.
Our donors have been a varied bunch. Their living circumstances run the gamut from pensione to mansion, with stops in between. Back when I could function I loved looking up all the places our donors lived. Coon Rapids?? Really? Why haven’t the PC town fathers ditched that one? Traverse City, from whence (I now know) come our cherries in summer. Looking up all those places meant it took me weeks to respond to donors and that would not end well: the B got nervous about the time lag. It still remains the case: give me a new donor to thank and I’m driven to know more about their locality. Betcha don’t know whence come many of the roses (plants) you buy at the nursery, hmm? I know now, or at least my knowledge was current a few years back. And it seems like nearly every American town has a Wikipedia page, no matter how small the hamlet. That’s a good thing.
For most of us, our equilibrium depends upon having a firm sense of place. Or as the nervous airplane passenger said, “the more the firma, the less terror”. [That’s a pun on “terra firma” and no, it can’t be removed.]
Gates of Vienna is now established as a place; a destination for those who read our random News Feed, just for one example. Some correspondents tell us this is where they go with their morning coffee.
For the B and me GoV has become where we live and move and have our being. It’s akin to housing a child who never leaves home, a permanent resident hunkering down in our divers computers, demanding attention. Electric outages and connectivity interruptions are far more freighted than they used to be before the advent of Gates of Vienna.
Many of you already know our beginnings, but I have the freedom of repeating myself at this stage. It’s one of the few privileges of age.
Truthfully, Gov began life as a distraction (which is not so different from many human conceptions, no?). Back before GoV, I was suffering from a myriad of losses which occurred rather quickly in succession. For one thing, the B had a very long commute to a Big Job, so I only saw him once during the week. And the future Baron had started college, leaving an echo behind. My daughter had died in that spring before he left for school in September. Listening to music became painful; I preferred the caverns of silence to the noise of memories.
Was I suffering? Not emotionally: I somatized, turning it all into fibromyalgia and foggy fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel. A few years later, after the blog was established, I ran across T.H. White’s The Once and Future King, where Merlin says:
“The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
Merlin was right! Learning something new does keep the sadness at bay. [It might be why children read cereal boxes at breakfast — or bury themselves in their media, earning a middle-aged slump by the time they’re twelve. You can bet they will be objects of ridicule when they, in turn, have children. Some things never change, but technology sure will. Their kids will have the stuff delivered to a chip in their temporal lobe.]
Fortunately, the B knew me well; he understood that my healing must needs be intellectual, since that was how I’d coped my whole life. So he took it upon himself to begin a blog, inviting me to come along for the ride.
Not realizing it was all for practice, we’d been daily commenters at Belmont Club back then, back when Richard Fernandez went by the nic of “Wretchard” and resided in blogspot. It turned out that his nic derived from the resident cat at the boarding house when he lived in Belmont, commuting to Harvard. I don’t doubt we probably caught the same streetcar into Harvard Square, since I lived the next town over from him at the time. We’d both have had our noses buried in a book. Somehow I knew instinctively that this now-Australian, brilliant essayist was referring to Belmont, Massachusetts when he titled his blog.
Wretchard had been a scholarship boy, earning his way into that position via an essay he wrote for the American embassy in Manila; it sponsored deserving scholars back then. Before that, he fought in the underground against Marcos. No wonder we found his site attractive!
So Wretchard became our blogfather. We honed ourselves against the sharp edges of his analyses and then set off on our own, to create our own brand. Besides, we were taking up too much bandwidth on Belmont, as one commenter complained. Poor Nahncy found us tiresomely verbose… Wretchard had plans for an internet community and for a while I was a member. But he didn’t have the time to set it up, nor the funding it would require. His would have been a kinder, more incisive community than the one he ended up joining.
So for us, the Baron set everything up: name, format, art, etc., and then invited me in to look around. I was enchanted. While he was in Richmond running long programs, he’d have time here and there to check in. Before cell phones, our backchat helped raise my spirits and gave me subjects to discuss.
From the beginning, we knew we’d focus on Islamic jihad. At the time, America was displaying its usual split personality demons over the war in Iraq. George W was being crucified over that war, though I doubt any of our “conflicts” was ever so thoroughly vetted by the U.N. before we went in as that one was. But never mind. And never mind the way Turkey played and betrayed us from the get-go, helping ensure a huge snafu on the literal eve of battle. Later, Obama was to create his own version of quicksand, but he’s in a category of his own, one beyond even Trump or Hillary.
GoV has grown since then. As the B said back then:
The thesis of this blog is that, like it or not, we are in a religious war. We do not define the terms but we should take careful note of them. We are mistaken if we think the Enemy wants merely to kill us. Once again, Jihad offers two choices to the West: conversion or death. Jihad exists in order to annihilate unbelief. Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists, or Wiccans, it is all the same to him.
Once again, our survival depends on our capacity to unite in a common cause against physical and cultural destruction.
We might change some of the emphases. The thrust of jihad has changed after all, though its intent remains the same.
Our advantage was the B’s deep knowledge of history and the sciences; that fount would serve us well. In the beginning, I was the better writer, but as he did more and more editing, the man surpassed me. Ol’ Lightning May, the neighbors call him [interpolation from the Baron: She made that up]. It’s just as well, since his health is now far more robust than mine. I am most fortunate to have married a younger man, one who is resilient, persevering, and endlessly curious.
I took you on the long road home. Always do. I managed to avoid the mudholes and didn’t swerve much, except for the deer intent on Bambicide. Some things are just existential. I’d promise to take a short cut the next time, but I gave up prevaricating for Lent.
As for us, we’ll be observing the anniversary of the Battle of Sayler’s Creek today. It was the last conflict before the surrender at Appomattox, which came hurtling on a few days later. As the Baron wrote in his poem “Sayler’s Creek”:
There is too much history here in Virginia;
we are drowning in its muddy flood.
The day was sunny and warm and it happened to be Palm Sunday as they set about killing one another. Starved and worn out, the boys in grey sure had their Passion Week. Grant was kind to let them take their horses and mules for spring plowing. He even gave them provisions for the long walk home. But they had to surrender their weapons, which is one reason the Second Amendment is felt so deeply in the South. Hard to bring down game with a slingshot.
On Friday our kind donors chipped in from:
Stateside: California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and the U.S. Military (APO)
Far Abroad: The Czech Republic, Kuwait, New Zealand, and the UK
The Baron will be back tomorrow for the final update to this endless fundraiser post.
Friday’s update from the Baron: Translations
The theme of this week’s fundraiser is the 15-year history of Gates of Vienna. Each day Dymphna and I have grabbed hold of one part or another of the elephant of what we’ve been doing for the past decade and a half, in an effort to provide some insight into how we got where we are now.
But before I get into that, I need to remind everybody of what we’re doing: Our quarterly bleg is how we keep this site going, and how Dymphna and I are able to avoid absolute penury in our old age.
Y’all have done really well so far this week — the response has been unusually heartening — and we’re very grateful to everyone who has chipped in so far. If you haven’t yet done so, you can click the tip cup on our sidebar, or alternatively use this PayPal link.
This morning’s reminiscences concern the gradual development of our specialization in providing translations of foreign-language news and opinion into English.
When we started out back in 2004, Gates of Vienna mostly consisted of text essays and digests of the news — in English, of course. There was no YouTube back then (or not for us, anyway — we didn’t learn about it till a few years later), so we didn’t have any videos. Just boring old text.
The first translations we published were from the Danish (back in 2006), thanks to the efforts of a Dane who called himself Rune. The popularity of those posts attracted other volunteers, and within the space of a few months we featured material translated from all three Scandinavian languages. That’s when I learned that Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians can all understand and translate each other’s languages. When Vlad came along, he collectively dubbed all the Scandinavian languages “Horn-Helmet”, to avoid having to remember exactly which one he was dealing with.
Which brings up the topic of Vlad and video. When Vlad and I started working together in 2009 (ten years ago!), he began to specialize in video. By that time we had acquired additional languages — H. Numan for Dutch, for example, and several volunteers for French — so that we could cover a wider range of foreign articles in major European languages. German was the last big holdout — we didn’t get fully up to speed in it until 2010. Now, of course, we have more translators for German than for any of the other languages.
Vlad’s video work brought an osmotic pressure to bear, sucking in more translators for more languages as the need arose. He acquired subtitling software and learned how to use it, so that he eventually was able to produce videos subtitled in English very quickly. My job was (and is) to edit text and convert a transcript in any format into an .SRT file that he can use with his subtitler. I’ve written a lot of software to automate the production as much as possible.
Over the years we’ve undertaken several major “Rosetta Stone” projects to get certain important videos, notably Geert Wilders’ Fitna, into as many languages as possible. At various times we’ve been able to field translators for 35 languages, with as many as 21 working on a single project. Some of the less common languages — Welsh, for example, or Esperanto — were included simply because people volunteered to do them. But the major European languages have remained mandatory, and for nine years we’ve consistently kept the ability to translate to and from French, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Bulgarian, Italian, and German. Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, and some of the other more exotic languages have been harder to maintain, but we’ve been able to do all of them at various times. Vlad has recently acquired a new volunteer for Arabic.
The production of translations has become the major specialty of Gates of Vienna. Sometimes the editing of texts and the making of transcripts take up most of my time, six or eight hours a day. But it’s worth it — through them I have been able to gain a perspective on what’s going on in Europe that I would have never been able to otherwise. My knowledge would have been limited to what is published in the English-language MSM and alternative Internet sites. The latter are certainly useful, but from my perspective the primary-source material that passes through our hands provides a greater richness and depth.
One final note: I’d like to highlight how important the Hungarian translations have been. When CrossWare came on board in the summer of 2015, she began to supply regular, lengthy translations of important material from Hungary. I had had only the sketchiest idea of what went on there, but she changed all that. Her translations of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are especially valuable — he turned out to be a great hero of Western Civilization, head and shoulders above any other contender.
I wouldn’t have had any idea about Mr. Orbán’s stature if it weren’t for CrossWare’s hard work. Some of those speeches she translates are forty or fifty minutes long, and she produces them in record time. We all owe a great debt of gratitude to her.
Note: Vlad made a special four-second subtitled video clip just so he could screen-cap it to provide the image at the top of this update.
Thursday’s donors checked in from:
Stateside: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia
Far Abroad: New Zealand and the UK
Canada: Alberta and British Columbia
Dymphna will be here tomorrow for the Saturday update.
Thursday’s update from Dymphna
A quiet day on the donations front, but the cumulative amounts are respectable. I have every confidence that the pace will pick up as the week draws down; we’re moving past the curve even as I ponder our history.
That’s something I do all the time — think about our unlikely journey in the ether (who could have guessed?) — which is what led me to suggest GoV’s history as a theme for this quarter. And by “history” I meant the eruptions and disruptions we have witnessed, and those in which we found ourselves enmeshed. Those disruptions served as nodal points which caused us to grow a carapace. No wonder the Baron’s totem is a tortoise.
In our fifteen years of existence, Gates of Vienna has seen its share of ugliness; in a less-than-perfect world that will always be the case. No doubt all of you have your own wounds to prove my contention. As the curtain is drawn back from the guys in the back, impatient with the slow pace of normal entropy, who want to run things into chaos even faster, one becomes inured (mostly) to the slings and arrows. But in the final analysis, any “to-be-or-not-to-be” for Gates of Vienna lies not in our efforts but with you, our readers, who decide to give or not to give. We ain’t running ads on our pages, come what may. The Gates will shut rather than bear those jumpy advertisements demanding that readers buy more stuff. Ugh.
One topic high on the list of Historical Ugly on our website was the brouhaha brought about by the demented efforts to shun and marginalize Diana West for daring to write about the 20th-century history of Soviet incursions into American government. One of the fellows who led the charge against American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character was Ron Radosh. Now, in his NeverTrumper decline, he’s been outed finally as the leftist he always was. It’s never too late for a turncoat to turn that jacket over again. Surprisingly, it is his boyhood friend David Horowitz, a fellow Red-Diaper baby, who has led the charge against Radosh, just as he’d led the charge against Diana West, using Radosh to do so. Is that leftist behavior, or what?
Now Horowitz has turned to his employee, Daniel Greenfield, in order to bury his BFF, Ron Radosh. It really is true: wait long enough, and things transmogrify, especially in the sphere of perfervid political ideology. Radosh is a NeverTrumper who decided to revert rather than suffer the ignominy of our current American president. He has company on the Right. Many of those formerly Conservative NTs are sawing off the tree limbs on which they precariously perch. Hard to make a posh living as a public intellectual when you huffily exit the train… and it continues without you.
That original attempt (in 2013ff) to marginalize and destroy Diana West was coordinated by those two Red Diaper babies, Horowitz and Radosh, with lots of help from the National Review and huge echoing silences from those who should have defended her. Now, in old age, the long friendship of those Red Diaper boys has unraveled. I almost feel sorry for them.
Almost, but not quite, given their level of vitriolic animosity toward a conservative writer who spent two long years researching a book she didn’t realize she’d need to write. Her sin of uncovering the Soviet incursions into American government was beyond the pale for ex-lefties. What she learned certainly left her shaken. Much as Emmet Scott’s book on Islam caused a paradigm shift in those who read it, so did Diana West’s uncovering of the reality of America’s sometimes perfidious role in World War II. How many millions died because of our actions? How many American POW soldiers were forced into Siberia by the actions of those in charge? They were never heard from again.
You can understand why They wanted to shut her down. As the Baron said at the time, some Planet X was exerting an influence none of us could see. In fact, that entity is still obscured.
We entered into the fray for Diana West back then because we had observed her integrity, and her incisive analysis proved our estimation. The way in which David Horowitz went about his attempt to marginalize her definitive work in numerous personal attacks left us no choice but to defend it in turn. So we did, for years. In fact, here’s the whole megillah, collected for posterity.
And now she’s back, this time to explain the Soviet influences still present in our government. After the mortal threat of Donald Trump’s most unlikely election, those swamp creatures were determined to take him down. That they didn’t succeed gives one hope.
Ms. West’s new book The Red Thread: A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy, came out before Mueller turned in his nothing burger to the Justice Department. [Someone needs to do the tee shirt: “Two years and $30mil later and all I get is the Mueller Report?”] Nonetheless, it is a crucial handbook for sorting out the players and their lifelong leftist/Marxist connections.
The Red Thread is short and deadly. As usual, Ms. West has done her homework, but since she ran her marathon in Betrayal this book can serve as her victory lap. By now she is a virtuoso who can recite this stuff in her sleep. As a result, The Red Thread is a brief, compelling book. It is a guidebook, a warning of what we were/are dealing with in our fight against the permanent bureaucracy. If the latter were but dedicated Americans, they’d still be a problem due to their outsized influence to re-make our laws via regulation.
But they are not patriots; many of them are frankly treasonous true believers in socialism and redistributionist dogma. It simply took the advent of a maverick like Donald Trump to scare the bejeezus out of them and send them scurrying. Scared dogmatists are loose cannons. Soon of these apparatchiks will begin firing on one another from within their circle to save themselves.
Rather than give you a précis of the book, here is an exposition by Matt Bracken of The Red Thread, and his brief interview with Diana:
I hope it motivates you to read the book for yourself. And I hope you find her work as compelling as I did. One hundred lean pages — that’s about half the size of the Mueller Report, and more interesting. In fact, more crucial to your own understanding of The Swamp.
We survived these extended attacks created by those who fear the truth. We’re not bloody but unbowed; in fact, we cleaned up pretty well, and the stitches have long healed. But it does make you wonder what’s lurking around the next bend, eh?
Our donors from yesterday:
Stateside: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia
Far Abroad: New Zealand and the UK
Canada: British Columbia and Ontario
Australia: New South Wales and Victoria
The B will be back tomorrow with another thread from our history.
Wednesday’s update from the Baron
This is the third day of our quarterly fundraising week, in which we entertain you with opinions and anecdotes and bafflegab while begging you to give us money.
This week’s anecdotes are drawn from the fifteen-year history of this site. My contribution this morning will be to outline the history of the Counterjihad conferences held in Europe and the UK from 2007 to 2013.
Before I get to that, however, I must reiterate: These fundraisers are what keep us going. Just like local Public Radio stations, only with fewer Social Justice Warriors and no coffee mugs or gift certificates sent out as premiums to donors. After the week is over there’ll be another three (sometimes four) months of Counterjihad until we do it all again.
Just click the tip cup on the sidebar (or use this new PayPal link).
The annual Counterjihad conferences grew out of the activities of the 910 Group, which was formed here in the comments on a post from September 2006 called “The Emperor is Naked”. The group that collected there later morphed into the Center for Vigilant Freedom, and eventually became the International Civil Liberties Alliance.
In early 2007 the leaders of the 910 Group got on skype and started planning a counterjihad conference in Copenhagen for March of that year. The idea was to bring like-minded people together from the UK and Denmark to discuss strategies for opposing the Islamization of their respective countries. The scope of the event eventually grew to include activists from Norway, Sweden, and Belgium as well as Denmark and the UK. That’s where the nucleus was formed for later annual events to be held in Europe.
The same leadership group started planning a more ambitious event for the following October: Counterjihad Brussels. It was a much larger operation, with speakers that included Robert Spencer and Bat Ye’or, and representatives from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, Canada, the USA, and the UK. And possibly others that I’m forgetting.
This was the conference that caused Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs to turn against us and declare digital war against the European Counterjihad. His sudden animosity blindside everyone — Dymphna touched briefly on this in yesterday’s update — and kicked off a period of fratricide within the community that went on for months, into the middle of 2008 and beyond. You can find some posts about it during that time (see “Suggested Corrections for Charles Johnson”), but a lot of nastiness also went on behind the scenes in emails, on skype, and by phone. From our perspective the end of the affair was when Pajamas Media kicked us out in April of 2008. The LGF Wars weren’t the proximate cause, but I’m sure they played their part. Charles didn’t get eased out of PJM until a while after, and he eventually turned against everyone on the right side of the blogosphere, including Instapundit and Bruce Bawer.
Those conflicts sucked up a lot of energy, but they didn’t keep us from holding our next conference, which took place in Vienna in May 2008, and was managed by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. The year after that we met in Copenhagen again, and at both those events our featured speaker was Srdja Trifkovic, who provided us with a unique perspective from the heart of the area of the Ottoman jihad in the Balkans.
In 2010 we gathered in Zurich with a slightly different focus. The emphasis was on extending and strengthening the networks of activists, so that information could spread efficiently and resources could be shared. We held a series of workshops covering various aspects of the process.
And it’s a good thing we did, because the following year we were hit with the massacre in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik, which was specifically designed to do damage to the transatlantic Counterjihad. And it managed to do that, but probably not as much as his handlers had hoped for. Fjordman was forced into hiding, but Jihad Watch and Gates of Vienna, being based in the USA, remained intact. However, a number European groups and individuals of my acquaintance were knocked out of the game — they were exposed (we would now say “doxxed”), fired from their jobs, harassed by the media, and otherwise had their lives ruined by the aftershocks from Breivik.
Later, when the Butcher of Utøya wrote from his prison cell that his Counterjihad connections had just been a feint, and the Nordic neo-Nazis were his real pals, the media steadfastly ignored it. To this day we are referred to as “Breivik’s mentors” by leftist writers.
The parallels between what happened in 2011 and Brenton Tarrant’s massacre in Christchurch are striking. Look at the damage done to Martin Sellner in Austria, for example. It seems Candace Owens was also supposed to be brought down by being mentioned in the “manifesto”, but so far she still seems to be in business.
But back to the European Counterjihad. Some people wanted to skip having a conference that fall, due to the fallout from Breivik’s massacre, but we eventually decided that it was even more important to stay the course under those circumstances, and not be driven from the field. That September the Counterjihad London conference piggybacked on an organizational meeting between British Freedom and Tommy Robinson.
In 2012 we held the second Counterjihad Brussels Conference, five years after the first one. Many of the same activists from the first conference attended the second one, but a large contingent of new participants also took part. Tommy Robinson and Mark Steyn were our special guests.
In 2013 the final Counterjihad Conference took place in Warsaw, in the interstices of the OSCE HDIM conference. So many of the prominent people from the networks were there to speak at OSCE that it provided an opportunity for us to meet.
I had opt out of such activities after that, for several reasons. The first and most significant one was a lack of funds. I’ve never had any major funding source, and although some people did contribute to help defray my expenses, I had to cover most of them out of my own pocket. Which meant taking the money from Dymphna’s and my savings, and by 2013 those had become perilously low.
The second reason was that the deterioration of Dymphna’s health meant I was unable to leave home for extended periods. She had voluntarily given up her driver’s license when she realized that her reflexes were no longer as good as they should be. Unless I could get the future Baron to take time off work and stay with her, I was unable to be away from home for more than a night or two.
And I can’t deny that those grueling trips across the Atlantic were getting harder to endure. The jet lag, especially on the trip over, was horrendous. Old age has its disadvantages, and for me one of them is an increasing aversion to air travel.
Fortunately for all of us, the networks of Counterjihad are now numerous, well-run, and active. They can function perfectly well without my participation.
I’m grateful that I had the chance to take part in the planning and execution of those events while I could. It was through them that I made so many contacts in Europe and Canada, many of whom are still helping out with the endless information wars that we are forced to fight.
None of the conferences we arranged was publicly announced in advance. We always operated on a shoestring, which meant we couldn’t afford the enormous costs for security that would have been required to hold a fully public event. Most of the time our security team consisted of myself and a couple of other people I could get to help me during the event.
What kept our meetings from being disrupted was our reliance on lists of carefully vetted people who were invited. In addition, the security team always monitored the entrance to the meeting room, checking new arrivals off the list of those invited. During the seven years of our conferences we were only penetrated by a hostile intruder one time, during the 2012 conference in Brussels: When it became known that Tommy Robinson was in the European Parliament building, a newspaper reporter found her way to our meeting room and observed the proceedings for a few minutes.
Accounts of each of those conferences are linked on the sidebar of our main page. The first two or three may redirect to websites that are now defunct; I’m not sure. But the later ones all link to Gates of Vienna reports, and are still good.
One final note, which I forgot to mention on Monday: The video work that Vlad Tepes does for us is crucial — videos have a wider reach than text when it comes to spreading information. So we tithe from your donations to him; he gets 10%. If you want to give to him directly, he has a donate button on his site.
Tuesday’s generosity flowed in from:
Stateside: California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming
Far Abroad: Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, and the UK
Canada: British Columbia and Ontario
Australia: Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania
Dymphna will be back tomorrow to update you with an account of yet another controversy from our history (there sure have been plenty of those).
Tuesday’s update from Dymphna:
B.S. 98.6 Degrees From Fahrenheit U: School of Hard Knocks
Well, we’re late… as usual. I’d blame it on old age, but I’ve always been late; missed many a bus and train in my time, though such experiences didn’t seem to teach me much.
In this case, I know why we procrastinate: it’s hard to ask for money, though not so difficult as it would be if we hadn’t set up these quarterly appearances back when we were booted from Pajamas Media for “racism”. I’ve talked about that eviction before, but I’ll add more to the story here since we’re talking about money and the theme of this week is the history of our running Gates of Vienna.
That betrayal in April 2008 blindsided us in a number of ways. Beyond the sense of betrayal, there was the glaring reality of PJM’s intellectual stupidity. For those who weren’t around then, our sin was to publish an essay by El Inglés in which he considered possible outcomes for the U.K. if it continued down its path to dhimmitude. It was shocking at first to realize PJM didn’t grasp the difference between normative and descriptive writing. But as we were to learn, that was just their cover story: the real reason turned up sometime later when all the smaller blogs were evicted in one fell swoop. In the aftermath, we could see we were just a prodromal snap of the wine glass before the full-blown Kristallnacht.
Live and learn. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Not hardly, Nietzsche, but that first knock did prepare us for other horrors to follow, each one worse than the last. We may be fully and finally immunized by now.
I’ve pondered over the years about our turn towards Europe and the further reaches of the Anglosphere. As we set off on our Fool’s Adventure, we weren’t thinking of Europe in particular. Yes, the B had studied European history all through high school and A-Levels (back before the advent of political correctness, when learning was robust and reality-based); and yes, I was a first-generation American with an interest in European moral philosophy. Our life experiences gave us plenty to talk about long before GoV.
But what turned us toward Europe? Aside from our own predilections, the first shift may have been the discovery of Fjordman’s website. He had facts and stats about the real story in Sweden; they were alarming.
Or was it the icky, sticky, wicked Charles Johnson’s awful attacks which began when the B was attending the first Counterjihad Conference in Brussels in 2007? How naïve we were: we’d issued an invitation for Chaz to attend, and presumed he’d want to report on it. Whoo boy! We misjudged that one entirely. Who could have known he was but a 9/11 Conservative?
As time went by and the dust from the Twin Towers settled, Little Green Footballs’ founder returned to his leftist roots. We tripped over those roots before moving on. Ugly and demoralizing they were, but a prime mover in our further and even more motivated interest in Europe as we saw how truly ignorant LGF and its commenters were about European affairs.
Later, writing for that first iteration of Breitbart (back when Andrew Breitbart was alive), we were taken aback by commenters’ hostility towards Europe. Eventually, the feedback became so monotonously negative (and uninformed) that we pulled out of “Big Peace” as the section that included European topics was called. Now, with the bigger footprint and obvious infusions of cash, Breitbart even has a London presence. That is encouraging indeed! Wish they’d set up a few satellite stations — in, say, Italy (and the Med) or Eastern Europe. Or Scandinavia. All of them need attention, close attention. The good news is coming from those parts, not from London. If Andrew Breitbart were alive, I think he’d pay more attention to those populist areas.
By the way, Andrew Breitbart didn’t think much of Donald Trump. In a 2011 interview, he said:
Celebrity is everything in this country. And if these guys don’t learn how to play the media the way that Barack Obama played the media last election cycle and the way that Donald Trump is playing the election cycle, we’re going to probably get a celebrity candidate.
When you look at things through the lens of celebrity, the ascendancy of Trump seems more inevitable than it did during the campaign. Breitbart was right in 2011, but he was wrong in bemoaning that fate. Reagan was a “celebrity” and we survived that. Yes, RR had previous government experience, but perhaps at this point we needed an outsider to knock things askew, especially our deeply corrupt and Marxist Deep State.
As for the Climate Treaty? Nope, not without China and India signing on. It’s all for show anyway. If ever there was a naked Emperor, it’s “climate” “control”. Even more risible is the American socialist version, that Nude Green Deal Occasional Cortex tried to run by us. Her original paper can be hard to find, but Sundance preserved it.
But enough about America. We have immigration problems and a permanent bureaucracy which continues to metastasize, but we’re still free to speak about them; not so for much of Europe, especially since it got that obscurantly written “Constitution”. When we began reporting — thirty-nine quarterly fundraisers ago — the moral rot in our government hadn’t been exposed yet. We may have to address that eventually.
Yet the problems in Europe were apparent, and now they’re beginning to be addressed… a bit late and out of breath, but the grumbling grows and we continue to report on it. The rising wave of differentiating national cultures may soon become a tsunami. Will it wash away the corrupt European Union? Not immediately, but eventually the Brussels Bribery Scheme will rot out and fall into the waves as a revived national “populism” exposes the fallacy of a “United Europe”. Heck, not even Scandinavia is unified. The possible resurrection and differentiation of secure nation-states make Europe exciting, though it must be scary for those who are forced to live through the growing pains and rescissions that come about when a people changes its collective mind.
Meanwhile, back at Schloss Bodissey things are hopping. A wonderful first day of donations, which eases my heart immensely. These first days (as I’ve compared before) always remind me of dinner parties. What if you send out the invitations and no one comes? I believe there’s a parable about that somewhere or other.
Here are the places that reported in:
Stateside: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington
Far Abroad: The Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, and the UK
Canada: British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Saskatchewan
The Baron will be back tomorrow with the Wednesday Update.
The Baron’s post on Monday
Today is April Fools’ Day. It has been our custom (except for last year, when Palm Sunday fell on April 1) to celebrate every April 1 with a hoax post. This time, however, there’s no April Fool — this really is the first day of our Spring Fundraiser.
The timing of our latest bleg depended on various circumstances. It was delayed for almost a month by Dymphna’s first round of cataract surgery. Now that she’s safely through it — she still has to put in eye drops every day, but is otherwise enjoying remarkably clear vision in one eye — we have to hold our fundraiser before she gets the other eye done.
So we’re going to spend April Fools’ Week begging our readers for money. And while we do that, we’ll regale you with the history of our blog, which will turn fifteen later this year — almost old enough to drive!
Before I get to the first bout of reminiscence, I must explain to new readers (and remind long-time readers) what we’re doing all week: this is how we keep this website going. Our quarterly begging exercise allows us to pay the hosting costs of the site, with enough left over to provide our basic maintenance. Our status as senior citizens means that we don’t need as much as we used to, so we can get by on what our generous readers provide.
Just click the tip cup on the sidebar of our main page — or, if you prefer, you can use this snazzy new PayPal link — and contribute as the spirit moves you. This time next week we’ll be done, and normal programming will resume.
I’ll begin the history of Gates of Vienna with a serendipitous event from exactly fourteen years ago: April Fools’ Day, 2005. On that day some Arab wag posted an April Fools’ joke (in Arabic) on a forum in Kuwait that told the story of Bill Gates’ conversion to Islam. Muslims are a credulous bunch, by and large, and readers of the hoax took it seriously. In their attempts to find out more about Mr. Gates’ conversion, they did thousands of internet searches on “Bill Gates converts to Islam”.
As it happens, we had a link on our blogroll to the site “Bill’s Comments”. The name of our blog included the word “Gates”. And we had thousands of instances of the word “Islam” speckled throughout the text of or posts. As a consequence, the earnest googling of thousands of Arabic-speakers sent them to the Islamophobes at Gates of Vienna.
The result was the first great traffic surge of our existence as a blog — we could see all those searches on our site meter. Mind you, most of them must have clicked off as soon as they realized we had nothing about Bill Gates on our blog. Still, they were there long enough to register on the site meter.
It took me several days to figure out what was going on. In those days there was no reliable machine-translator of Arabic available, so I had to track down an English-language report on the Kuwaiti spoof. I posted about the whole thing a few times to apprise readers of the amusing concatenation of events. And then I bided my time waiting for the next April Fools’ Day.
On April 1 2006 I published a post entitled “A Year in the Ummah”, featuring an interview with Bill Gates — who had changed his name to Abu Mai’saf al-Windaaz — in his new home in Saudi Arabia.
That post began the tradition of April Fools’ features at our blog, and for several years I mined the Bill Gates vein until it petered out. After that we had to think of other hoaxes to perpetrate on our readers every year on the morning of the first day of April.
But not this year. This year we’re in earnest: we need your contributions. So please make that tip cup ring!
Dymphna will be along tomorrow to tell some stories from the following year (2007). They’re not as cheerful and amusing as this one, but they’re worth telling.
The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup (or the donate button) on the sidebar of our main page. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.