Wednesday, November 09, 2005
A Remarkable Spanish Letter
I just received an e-mail which, by the looks of it, has been making the rounds. So far I haven't been successful in authenticating it; I'd appreciate any help in that regard. (Update: the author is likely writing under a pseudonym; see the comments below for details.)
All European Life Died In Auschwitz -- by Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez
I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth – Europe died in Auschwitz.
We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims.
In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.
The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world. These are the people we burned.
And under the pretence of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.
They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime.
Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naïve hosts.
And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.
We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.
What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.
Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez - Spanish Writer
This is a summary of an article recently printed in a Spanish newspaper.
If this is real, it's quite a remarkable statement. (And I wonder about the theme of guilt and expiation: was that the motivation for Europe's ready acceptance of so many Muslim immigrants, something that would have been unthinkable before WWII? It's an interesting theory.)
Mind you, I certainly do not believe in the universal goodness of Jews, nor in the opposite vis-a-vis Muslims. Western civilization has many, many productive Muslim citizens; and we've certainly seen our share of Jewish criminals.
Nonetheless, stereotypes get started for a reason. If two men stand side by side in front of you; if you are told that the one on the left is an American Jew, while the one on the right is a Muslim Arab; and if you are asked to guess which one of them is commander of a cell of terrorists, and which one is a Nobel Prize winner -- well, you'd know which way to bet, wouldn't you? And chances are quite high that you'd be right.
What's remarkable to me, though, is to hear a European speak of Holocaust responsibility in the first person. "These are the people we burned." That's rather rare these days.
UPDATE: My wife was upset by the letter above; she said that the sentiments expressed about today's European Muslims are little different from Nazi-era sentiments about European Jews.
I'm not sure I see that; there are a number of important differences, from the "shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government" (Jews were accused of many things, but I don't recall that we were called freeloaders) to the culture-of-death concept.
Mind you, upon second reading, it does seem to me that the author is hasty in tarring European Muslims with the terrorism/rioting brush. While some European Muslims may well be "planning murder and destruction", I don't believe that speaks for a majority of them, not by a long shot.
As a sentiment, though, it's telling in several ways. It's interesting that Europeans are starting to wake up to the prospect of terror all around them, and the need to start thinking about it now. (I agree.)
And if you accept my wife's thesis, then we realize that Europeans haven't actually changed that much since the 1930s... which is chilling enough all by itself.
Many people are fond of pointing to Neville Chamberlain's "peace in our time" as the utter folly that it was, and proclaiming that we must never do that again. But few people seem to consider the alternative. After all, suppose Europe had taken steps, before WWII broke out, to eliminate the Nazi threat? We would not see such a thing from our current vantage point, we who know all about WWII; we would have no idea what horrors had just been prevented. So what would such a move have looked like?
It might have looked very much like America's invasion of Iraq, which is loudly condemned by many as an "unnecessary" and "illegal" war. Or it might have looked like the pre-emptive strikes that started the Six Day War in 1967, for which Israel is still condemned in some quarters.
If you're looking for a wise leader, whose wise actions are seen by all to be exactly the right thing to do at the time they are being done, then you're going to be disappointed. Politics doesn't work that way, and it never has. In American history alone, you can pick just about any action that, in retrospect, was an important and wise decision; dig a little, and you'll see that the decision was roundly condemned at the time. (Declaring independence from Britain, ending slavery, fighting Nazism, enacting Civil Rights -- all were criticized brutally at the time.) The same is true of the leaders themselves -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman all accomplished great things as President, and all were vilified mercilessly for their actions.
We all know what a disaster looks like. But we don't often think about what narrowly-averted disaster looks like. Sometimes it looks normal, like the face of a man who walked the edge of the precipice and didn't know it. Sometimes we're lucky enough to see the danger while there's still time to do something about it. But more often than you'd think, we must avoid danger by preparing for the worst... which will look unnecessary and paranoid, at best, to people who don't see the danger coming.
(Think of all the times you didn't have to take your child to the hospital, because you demanded that they stop doing something you'd told them was dangerous. Think of how often your child protested loudly, insisting that there was no danger and that you were worrying over nothing. That, my friends, is what disaster prevented looks like. Think about it for a moment... and then have another look at today's headlines.)
UPDATE II: Apparently I'm not the only one eager to authenticate (or debunk) the letter's origin. As of the morning of Nov. 15th, twelve of my last forty referrals are Google searches... that bring up this article! (Welcome, if you've gotten this far. Please leave a comment if you know more about this than I do.)