Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Strange Bedfellows

Owen and Mzee

This is my wrap-up post for the Autumn Bleg, even though I’ve gone missing for most of it. Not that I wasn’t thinking about it, about our “endorsers” and our donors, about the Baron being left to follow through, and hoping each day that I’d be able to participate. Finally, at the last moment I’m back… for however long.

The topic of this bleg, “Community”, has always been on the front burner for us both. What with our being foreigners here in the foothills, we were forced to grasp what being an outsider meant for each of us, and how we might flourish in that role, either because of it or despite it. The usual forms that work in suburbia or in an urban single life don’t translate to rural ways. Not at all.

I guess I’m trying to say we’ve looked at this every which way you can imagine here in the rural outback of Central Virginia. We compared childhood notes, we talked about communities of college students and which parts become permanent, we argued about the aspects of extended kin networks which function well, and which we found more problematic. For a long time, we were active in our Episcopalian diocese.

Thus, long before we turned to begging for a living, the notion of community had been a recurring theme in our decades of conversations in the halls of Schloss Bodissey. The Breivik slaughter propelled the subject to the forefront. How to preserve our network? How to “hide the ones in trouble out under the bed”? How to avoid being “shut down” by those in charge? How to protect the premises of Gates of Vienna from constant verbal attacks by the ignorant and over-educated lurkers who waited impatiently to publicize their vitriol on our bandwidth?

We felt anxious and protective of members of our group such as Fjordman and Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. What protection did they have where they were? The media were, as usual, treacherous. We knew the labels were being pasted to our foreheads even as we were unable to prevent them from being stuck there. In the end what else is there to do? You go with the flow, trying to take care of one another through the worst of it.

So far everyone is surviving, though both Elisabeth and Fjordman have a long row to hoe. The English are making inroads, miraculously. And the Netherlands is an equally hopeful place where change might be possible. So various communities are beginning to take shape, and others are retrenching and moving on. The Sweden Democrats have not been squelched by this, much to the disappointment of the leftists. The Danes are looking at Norway’s experience with mass murder and its mirror opposite, mass immigration forced on an unwitting community. Denmark’s decision to set limits for her immigrants has proved to be the right path.

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Before I get to the inspiration of this wrap-up post, I need to address again what is constantly before us.

As all of you know, those who push back against the imposition of sharia law in the West have come under severe attack ABB (After Breivik’s Blowup). July 22nd was a watershed moment for us all. Breivik’s cut-’n’-paste “Manifesto” gave our adversaries a battering ram: those named by Breivik were held to be guilty by association, even if our so-called connection to this disturbed individual was all on his side. It was still our fault and we were still responsible. In Norway, Fjordman bore the full brunt of his conformist culture and its enforcers.

Thus, the aftermath of Breivik’s lethal assault on the fabric of Norway cast a long shadow on our summer fund-raiser. And that shadow is still here to some extent. The serial hatemailers have largely gone back under their respective rocks, and the police in Oslo are beginning to admit the less-than-salubrious experience of having so many unassimilated immigrants assaulting Norwegian citizens. The nicety-nice stage set they’d erected over the years and painted so carefully is fraying at the edges.

Norway’s oil wealth bought them the best in Potemkin illusions for a long time. Thus the fury descended, like lightning seeking ground, as the reality began to impinge on everyday life. The consequent rage directed at the Counterjihad was simply in proportion to the intense fear Breivik elicited by his calm deliberate slaughter of the next generation of Norway’s leaders.

The multicultis had a double disadvantage here: the first was the public mass execution (by one of their own) so coolly filmed by the media’s insistent camera as the killer calmly walked by the finished-off victims who lay on the shoreline. Is it not most strange that the media folk in the helicopter did not interfere with these systematic killings? They merely “captured” his walk down the shore, taking careful, easy aim. Has anyone in Norway asked why the media were not charged as accomplices — accomplices in the fact, not after? That cameraman watched the slaughter. So did the pilot. What in God’s name were they thinking?

In such a strongly shame-driven culture is there no social sanction for purported “innocent bystander” behavior from a “profession” that makes its living off scandal ? Where is the shame for their behavior?

The word “vultures” comes to mind. As much as I dislike American media, I can’t quite imagine them acting as the Norwegian media did — i.e., absolutely nothing except to watch and record events as their fellow-citizens were being slaughtered. Their behavior remains an eerie, unanswered part of the whole drama.

The second disadvantage was quickly obvious to the people in charge. A full frontal assault was needed to prevent a close inspection of the lengthening splits in the canvas on which they’d painted those pretty pictures of nicety-nice Norway.

The most immediate goal was to direct attention away from the reality of Norway’s fracturing consensus. What better way to do it than to haul a native Norwegian critic into the limelight? They could better assign the root cause of Breivik’s killings to a candidate unable to fight back very well: shame cultures cannot function without scapegoats.

Thus in short order was Fjordman hauled center stage, tricked out in a Nazi uniform, and shoved into a wheelchair to assume the scapegoat position. This satire was nasty in the extreme. In the normal order of things in Norway, one never ever makes fun of the physically impaired. But desperate times call for desperately mean measures, so it was full bore against “Fjordland”, with the real paraplegics being interviewed and saying they thought assigning their infirmity to this evil scapegoat was the right thing to do.

Heine Fjordland

When some event exposes the Janus-faced nature, there has to be much scurrying to find shelter from the shame of disclosure. On the one side, nice Norway, which requires much energy to maintain. On the other side? A relentless pursuit of people who can play the part of necessary scapegoats, as vessels to hold all the ugly stuff no one wants outsiders to see. Such is the nature of projection. Virtuous Norway vs. the mad, bad, sad individuals who need to be silenced for their own good and for the comfort of the culture at large.

That iconic Nazi was brutal and ugly. But we all know that brutal and ugly is simply the flip-side of nicety-nice. Those who live by the shame structures of Nice are too far inside the system to grasp the inherent ugly underbelly which every similarly composed group must resolve in the face of an unbearable internal tragedy.

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How does all this fit into our ideas about community and what it means to be part of the Counterjihad connection? Why bring up Breivik again after moving on from the summer?

Two things: first, there is the news that Oslo’s pretty face is beginning to dissolve. We can ask “why now?”, why go public with culturally-enriched assault # 351, when the others were shoved under the rug? What made this one the tipping point? Why has the head of the police announced “we have lost the city” here in November, when it was just as certainly lost in July, before Breivik? What’s the government’s ploy in this?

There is something rotten in officialdom in Norway. It has rotted from the inside out… and no one has enough testicular fortitude to fix it. Norway is simply too nice to survive.

The second theme of Community is quite different. Its emphasis is the strange bedfellows created by necessity. Our forebears understood this much better than we do. Right now, we’re all insulated by wealth and good fortune; we’re not required to depend on one another anymore (I’ll except the Baron and me from that company. Without depending on our faithful donors we’d definitely be doing something else). But as the Baron has said again and again, the arithmetical certainty of economic implosion cannot be avoided. Even though we don’t know what forms it will take, or how we will manage in the face of the coming extremities, we know it will eventually arrive. How in God’s green world will we survive?

Back at the planning stage of this Autumn fundraiser, we both independently remembered a moving story from the aftermath of the horrific tsunami on Boxing Day, 2004. The whole world watched in horror as the water was sucked out an immense distance before it came rushing back to inundate the shore:

The earthquake was caused by subduction and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (98 ft) high. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesia was the hardest hit, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.

If you haven’t already seen it, that wiki on the 2004 earthquake will immerse you once more in the maelstrom.

But the aftermath concerns me here, the ways in which people helped one another, and especially the fate of two unlikely candidates for fame and the rebirth of hope. Does anyone remember Owen and Mzee? I think of them often. Here’s what I wrote the following year:

The tsunami in December, 2004 caused many deaths, many upheavals, untold sorrow. Because the organisms of Earth are adaptable, we began once more to put pieces back together, to fashion new pieces for the missing ones — the ones who vanished in the wave and would never return.

In the midst of the chaos, death, and subsequent corruption that followed one of the world’s horrible tragedies, a few redeeming stories emerged. For me, last year, it was a love story. A genuine willingness to make the best of things and to connect with another in a way that brought satisfaction to both.

Owen was a baby hippo who’d been orphaned in the tsunami. Mzee was a 100-year-old tortoise who’d seen it all:

Owen and Mzee (small)A baby hippo rescued after floods in Kenya last week has befriended a 100-year-old tortoise in Kenya.

The one-year-old hippo calf christened Owen was found alone and dehydrated by wildlife rangers near the Indian Ocean.

He was placed in an enclosure at a wildlife sanctuary in the coastal city of Mombasa and befriended a male tortoise of a similar colour. According to a park official, “they sleep together, eat together and have become inseparable.”

The hippo follows the tortoise around and licks his face.

The tortoise is named Mzee, which is Swahili for old man.

As I said at the time, “Owen did more than merely ‘befriend’ Mzee. He adopted Mzee as his mother. The tortoise was less than delighted with the idea of motherhood at his stage in life — confirmed bachelorhood — but Owen, that resilient baby hippopotamus, persisted in his attentions towards Mzee.”

Five years later, this story is still a beacon to me. The way Owen persisted in his attentions, the way Mzee gradually became a parent of sorts to Owen. It was the best they could do in their blasted world, and their keepers permitted the rest of the world to see how they managed. For a long time, pilgrimages to see the unlikely pair continued.

That defines relationship for me. The community which appeared to cheer them on and the resilience of both spoke to an eternal human need: connection. As I said at the time, the world is full of mystery and magic, and the greatest magic of all is mysterious love.

We have deep bonds of affection for all those who keep Gates of Vienna going. Not one of you is taken for granted. We know how perilous are the times, how tenuous the connections. But like Owen and Mzee, we will persist day to day, rejoicing and sorrowing together and ignoring the differences in order to build our extraordinary community.

Thanks to you all, Breivik does not win.

Our donors during the Autumn Fundraiser came from the following places:


California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia

Near Abroad:


Far Abroad:

Australia, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, and the UK

Gratias plena, y’all.


1389 said...

The EU, and especially the Eurozone, is indeed facing collapse. The sooner it is over with, the sooner rebuilding of national economies and national sovereignty can begin. Bailouts both prolong and worsen the agony.

We had our economic collapse back in 2008, and despite the talk of "recovery" the US has pretty much just hit bottom and stayed there.

At least, on this side of the pond, a majority of the citizenry still rejects socialism.

For that reason, there's still some hope for the US - assuming that Romney does not manage to steal the GOP nomination and/or the Democrats do not manage to steal the election.

On the other hand, if the Dems gain the House or keep the Senate (or the Presidency) by means of smear campaigns, blackmail, widespread civil disruption, violence, and election fraud, then we no longer have a republic and it's all over.

Even if conservatives gain office in 2012, for many small businesses, and for millions of individuals, the rebuilding will come too late.

New Company Policy: We are not hiring until Obama is gone