In the comments to previous postings, Pistache, a woman who has done some translating for me, including voluntarily translating the two movies Pallywood and Al Durah into French, wrote some interesting reflections which I post here with my responses.
Richard, Igout and Eliyahu,
Thanks for your words… It’s just that I’m really disgusted right now. Not only about this case, but also about a lot of others things happening in Europe, almost everyday, and almost everyone I know “for real” – I mean, not people I met on blogs and fora such as this one, who obviously are interested and slightly worried about this – just… doesn’t seems to give a damn. Because they don’t know what’s going on in the world, or because they prefer not to know it. I suppose that is this apathy that really gets to me.
I had an interesting conversation with a young frenchman about Europe and its Islamist challenge. “No,” he replied, “Europe’s Judeo-Christian culture is too strong.” When I pointed out that not one demonstrating against the disgusting display of violence objecting to the pope’s comment on Islam’s propensity for violence, nor in defense of the Pope against threats on his life and demands that he convert to Islam, he granted I might have a point. “They wake up soon,” he offered weakly. Well if I understand you, Pistache, they have to rise from a deep slumber of apathy. In the 60s, the French “revolutionaries” complained about the pathetically empty nature of the lower and middle classes — “metro, boulot, dodo [subway, work, sleep].” In the 00s (aughts?), we might complain about “media entertainment, vacation, and medical coverage” as the fillers for empty lives.
And about “faire la révolution”, I wonder if it’s possible… too many sheep asleep, caring only about what’s on telly. Too many people fearing to grow balls. [I take this to be the equivalent in slang (translated) of Harvey Mansfield's complaint about manliness.] Too many people thinking that whatever’s going wrong is the fault of the USA (for those understanding french, I invite you to check this message board; it is part of one of the main Belgian newspaper’s web site, and the theme is “How to deal with North Korea now?”; seeing the answers, you would think it is actually “how to deal with the evil US and their mad president”. Just plain appalling).
I have already discussed this aspect of current European culture. If one wants to understand how Europe Slept, one must consider this dysfunctional connection between on the one hand an elite determined to inform the public in ways that systematically mislead it about what’s happening — both in the Middle East and in Europe — and, on the other hand, a public that is both intellectually and emotionally lazy. In the past, I’ve focused on the elite’s discourse, including the enormous weight of a “politics of resentment,” that motivates much of the anti-Americanism (and, ironically, the anti-Zionism as well), as well as the proto-Dhimmi behavior of Europe towards their alleged allies in their counter-balance to American hegemony.
But Pistache brings up another element that might be just as crucial — that of a public for whom the anti-American and anti-Zionist discourse of the elites has a profound appleal, on the one hand, and the lack of real interest or concern in “getting the story straight,” that has, till now, marked the “information professionals” of successful civil societies. The question here is, how that “apathetic” public will wake up to the danger its elites have fostered and disguised — from themselves as well as their publics? — that is the growing assertiveness of Islam in Europe, and the gargantuan appetite of this Islamic yearning, which the European (and American) elites have only empowered in their efforts to placate it.
How do we contribute to this awakening, so that it brings out the best and not the worst of the European population? That seems to me, the task of the next few years, and I personally can’t think of too many issues that reveal the full range of both the folly of the French media (and now their courts) in reporting as they do, than the al Durah case.
So… Sorry to digress so much, but at times like that, yes, I do think of leaving.
But I’ll keep fighting in my way, wherever I am. And for now I’ll just keep working on translating the “Second Draft” material…