Tell me again about Europe and her pains,
Who’s tortured by the drought, who by the rains.
Glut me with floods where only the swine can row
Who cuts his throat and let him count his gains.
It seemed the best thing to be up and go.
— William Empson, from “Aubade”
During late September the climate in London is often the same as it is here in Central Virginia. The two great sinusoidal curves of English and Virginian weather intersect each other at two points, one in the spring and one in the autumn. I arrived in England at the autumnal equinox, so the days in both places were the same length. The trees were also at the same stage in their color change, and temperatures were much the same. The main difference — aside from the considerably lower angle of the noontime sun in London — was that it rained far more here while I was gone, according to Dymphna.
Culturally speaking, however, I was in a different world. From the appearance of the streets in some of the areas I visited, I might as well have been in Karachi or Lagos. Cultural enrichment was everywhere — there were hijabed women on virtually every street, from Tower Hamlets to Bloomsbury, from Docklands to Luton.
East London and Luton were the most intensively Islamic, of course, and Luton is where I started my tour of the London area. As soon as I recovered from jet lag, I joined a group that went to visit English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson on his home turf.
Tommy took us all on a little tour of the most enriched areas of his town. Parts of Luton look like the Third World, except for the fact that the architecture is that of a working-class English industrial town. Halal grocers, kebab restaurants, clothing shops with headscarves in the display windows, mosques, signs in Urdu and Arabic — this is the modern face of Luton.
I didn’t take many photos, being worried that my raising the camera would attract the attention of passersby, who might then recognize their nemesis inside our car.
Interestingly enough, among the West Indian and African immigrants are a fair number of evangelical Christians. These brave people are willing to proclaim their faith openly in what must be a completely hostile environment — I saw a Christian center in a converted cinema, complete with a prominent lighted cross, right there in the midst of all the halal and hijabs.
Those must be some tough Christians.
The biggest Counterjihad meetings were on Saturday and Sunday. Some of the participants arrived early, on Friday afternoon, and a group of us met up at the Tyburn Wetherspoons pub on Edgware Road. We spent the pleasant late afternoon sitting around at the outdoor tables, drinking pints and chatting.
This particular pub happens to be the place where two English Defence League supporters were stabbed on the evening of September 11, after the MAC demo and the wreath-laying at the American embassy. A notice posted on the window glass in the main doorway served as a reminder of what had happened:
The Wetherspoons franchise is one of the few establishments that keeps its doors open when the EDL holds a demonstration nearby. Most places refuse to admit EDL people, or lock their doors and board up their windows the morning before the demo. But Wetherspoons outlets stay open and welcome members of the English Defence League.
The area around the pub — which is not all that far from Grosvenor Square, the location of the American embassy — didn’t seem particularly run-down or culturally enriched. Yes, there were plenty of Muslim passersby, veiled women with their brothers or their husbands and children. But that was true of virtually every other street in the city. Oxford Street, Duke Street, Pall Mall, Euston Road, Tottenham Court Road, Gray’s Inn Road, Caledonian Road — wherever we went, Muslims made their presence visually known.
One of the Londoners in the group explained that just a little farther up the Edgware Road was a virtual no-go zone, and that the men who attacked the EDL members in the pub had almost certainly come from there. We decided to take a sightseeing tour into the area before we left, but we lingered too long over our beer, and it started to get dark.
On the morning of Saturday September 24, a Counterjihad leadership meeting convened in central London. A number of people associated with ICLA were present, including Paul Weston, Aeneas, Gaia, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, KGS of Tundra Tabloids, Henrik Ræder Clausen of Europe News (English), Liz of Europe News (Deutsch), and other activists from North America and Western Europe. There were representatives from Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the UK, and the USA.
The importance of the meeting was underscored by the presence of several leaders of the English Defence League. Tommy Robinson, Kevin Carroll, and Jack Smith were among those who conferred for the first time with a cross-section of the European Counterjihad.
The most important topic of discussion concerned the current political situation in Britain. The unprecedented repression directed at the EDL and other dissidents demonstrates that the authorities are frightened by mass opposition to Islamization and sharia, and are determined to use any means to suppress dissent.
The violation of the civil liberties of ordinary Britons seems to be a matter of supreme indifference to the oligarchs who rule in Westminster. When dealing with the opponents of Multiculturalism, all three major parties seem to be in complete agreement: dissidents must be squashed at any cost.
Participants from the Continent gave their own perspective, relating the struggle against repression in Britain to the larger European struggle against the illiberal regime in Brussels. Opposition to the European Union goes hand-in-hand with resistance to Islamization, because the immigration regime that is destroying European nations is guided and encouraged by the EU.
Everyone agreed that we are now at a hinge of history. What happens in the next few months or years is crucial to the future of liberty, democracy, and European culture. Prompt action is required, because the worldwide financial crisis will soon reach a climax and limit our choices.
Various programs were discussed, including novel forms of protest, and — given the ideological bankruptcy of Labour, the Lib-Dems, and the Tories — the possible formation of a new political party in Britain.
The EDL leaders described the various hardships that they have had to endure at the hands of the authorities, both individually and as an organization. They also talked about their future activities, including a planned demonstration in Afghanistan.
Now that’s something I’d like to see.
At lunchtime we adjourned for a meal, and then took a field trip over to Trafalgar Square to take in the Eid Festival (see my earlier post for more information on the occasion).
After a brief afternoon session, the participants took a break and then reconvened at a more informal location for drinks and dinner. several members of the British Freedom Party joined us for the occasion, and free-form discussions continued until late in the evening.
The BFP shares a major common interest with ICLA and the EDL: we all believe that mass immigration and Islamization will destroy our countries. This was the issue that preoccupied us over drinks and food in one of Central London’s innumerable multicultural districts.
The following day (Sunday September 25) the same group met in a different location in London. This was a broader meeting, attended by a number of additional British participants, including another member of the BFP and a representative from UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party). We elaborated on the previous day’s topics in informal discussions, some of which took place in sub-groups over food and drink.
The meeting adjourned early in the evening so that those who had traveled long distances could make their way home.
The next day — Monday September 26, the fifth anniversary of the founding of the 910 Group — afforded me a few hours of spare time, which I spent in the scholarly recesses of the British Museum.
The Museum faces Great Russell Street in the Bloomsbury district of London, and is just around the corner from where a bus was blown up by a “violent extremist” on 7/7.
The neighborhood is fairly upscale, but even so there was a significant visible presence of Muslims — veiled women, men with beards and skullcaps — wherever I walked. The exception was the British Museum itself, where there very few apparent Muslims, and most of those were veiled schoolgirls who were obviously part of a school outing.
The Museum was full of foreign tourists, mostly from China, Japan, the Continent, and North America. I spent almost all of my time in the galleries of Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, and Roman artifacts, but there were very few Middle Easterners in there with me. Despite the fact that the exhibits presented the relics of their own antiquity, they seemed to have no curiosity about what might be found there.
Some of the finest artifacts from the Mediterranean and the Near East are housed in the British Museum, most famously the Elgin Marbles (which the British are still staunchly insisting on keeping, despite the demands of the Greek government). The enormous Assyrian “winged lion” statues from Nineveh in Assyria are also a popular attraction, as are the various monumental sculptures and wall carvings from Egypt.
Those relics that were preserved under the sand — which include most of the Assyrian artifacts — are in remarkable condition. If their original coats of paint could be restored, they would look much the same as they were when they lined the hallways of Ashurnasirpal’s palace in the first half of the first millennium B.C.
The sculptures and friezes from Egypt, Greece, and Rome did not fare so well, however. Each of these empires was conquered and overrun multiple times in antiquity, and their monuments were systematically defaced by the conquerors.
We regard these pieces from an aesthetic point view, as artistic works that elevate our sensibilities when we look upon them. But our attitude towards statuary is relatively modern, and did not really exist before the Renaissance. Prior to that time paintings and sculptures served religious, magical, and political functions. Statues and friezes were carved and painted to be as lifelike as possible. The men, animals, and gods they represented were considered to inhabit them in some essential fashion. In Egypt they were designed to convey their patron to the land of the dead after his demise, and to maintain him comfortably in the afterlife, where he retained the power, importance, and pleasures he had enjoyed in life. Even the historical chronicles were assumed to have some sort of magical significance, amplifying and extending the power and omnipotence of the king through his depiction in unchanging stone.
When a city-state was overrun and conquered by an enemy, one of the first tasks of the occupiers — after slaughtering all the adult males and carrying off the women and children into slavery — was to destroy the supernatural power of the former ruler’s monuments. The invaders might not have a firm idea of what was represented in all those sculptures and bas reliefs, but they knew what they had to do: knock off heads and hands, gouge out the inlaid eyes, and chisel off noses, hands, genitals, and the tips of breasts. These parts were understood to have special powers, so destroying them removed their potency.
Hence the condition of much of the sculpture in the British Museum. Most of the Egyptian relics bear the scars of targeted damage, and there are very few intact pieces among the Elgin Marbles.
What seems wanton destruction to us was in fact a carefully calculated attempt to remove forever a defeated enemy’s power. The same motive may be discerned in the much more recent dynamiting of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban.
It’s important to remember, however, that such destruction was not limited to the pagans and the Mohammedan hordes. The damage to the Parthenon — which is where the Elgin Marbles were originally displayed — was begun by the early Christians, because the sculptures were rightly understood to have played an important role in pagan rituals. The Turks continued the destruction when they conquered Greece, but the greatest damage was done by Venetian cannon fire during a war between Venice and the Ottomans in the 17th century.
The urge to find, preserve, restore, and admire the creative works of antiquity is a relatively recent phenomenon. Although it seems as if it has always been with us, it is a modern preoccupation. It is one of the characteristic sensibilities of European culture, and part of what has made ours the greatest civilization in history.
The British Museum is a reminder that our civilization has strutted and fretted the stage of world history for only the briefest of moments, and could easily be extinguished. Staving off that long night is yet another reason why we fight.
The Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, and Roman galleries were just exactly what one would expect from the British Museum. Old-fashioned scholarship, archeological and historical background, and amazing artifacts on display — “Outstanding stuff!” I wanted to exclaim. “This is the way the British Museum should be!”
That was how I felt when I left the antiquities rooms and went out to the main hall to take a brief look around before I left. I could see one of the statues from Easter Island (or Rapa Nui, for the politically correct) in the north wing, so I wandered over there. Much to my dismay, the enormous statue was the only thing worth looking at in that gallery. Everything else was mired in political correctness and cultural relativism, with catchphrases like “British colonialism” and “sustainable” prominent in the lengthy descriptions alongside the display cases.
In contrast with the magnificent monuments I had just left, this room was full of carved totems, fetishes, outrigger canoes, grass skirts, and all the other paraphernalia we associate with less developed cultures. The accompanying texts dripped with high-minded patronizing multicultural sentiment, which is all too familiar from television presentations and Sunday supplement features.
Underneath it all is the obvious message that white Europeans have done immeasurable harm to these good, simple people from Borneo, Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and all those other places where less developed peoples live in their “sustainable” communities.
So the British Museum is going down the politically correct sump along with the rest of the culture. It stands poised to relativize and diversify itself out of meaningful existence. Let’s hope the curators of the western galleries are willing to stand in their doorways with halberds and morningstars to ward off the barbarian hordes that attempt to make their exhibits “inclusive”.
We’re going to need those doughty antiquarians; they’re almost all that’s left of Western Civilization.
But as to risings, I can tell you why.
It is on contradiction that they grow.
It seemed the best thing to be up and go.
Up was the heartening and the strong reply.
The heart of standing is we cannot fly.