Mark Steyn’s latest Chicago Sun-Times essay begins on an utterly chilling note:
In five years’ time, how many Jews will be living in France? Two years ago, a 23-year-old Paris disc jockey called Sebastien Selam was heading off to work from his parents’ apartment when he was jumped in the parking garage by his Muslim neighbor Adel. Selam’s throat was slit twice, to the point of near-decapitation; his face was ripped off with a fork; and his eyes were gouged out. Adel climbed the stairs of the apartment house dripping blood and yelling, “I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven.”
Is that an gripping story? You’d think so. Particularly when, in the same city, on the same night, a Jewish woman was brutally murdered in the presence of her daughter by another Muslim. You’ve got the making of a mini-trend there, and the media love trends.
Yet no major French newspaper carried the story.
This month, there was another murder. Ilan Halimi, also 23, also Jewish, was found by a railway track outside Paris with burns and knife wounds all over his body. He died en route to the hospital, having been held prisoner, hooded and naked, and brutally tortured for almost three weeks by a gang that had demanded half a million dollars from his family. Can you take a wild guess at the particular identity of the gang? During the ransom phone calls, his uncle reported that they were made to listen to Ilan’s screams as he was being burned while his torturers read out verses from the Quran.
This time around, the French media did carry the story, yet every public official insisted there was no anti-Jewish element. Just one of those things. Coulda happened to anyone.
As James C. Bennett wrote three years ago:
The modern world was first carried forward by two great civilizations. The Anglosphere was one. The dynamic industrializing culture of 19th century Continental Europe, to which the spark of the Judaeo-Christian encounter was so important, was the other. That culture committed suicide in the ’30s. Perhaps its successor is not the revival of that culture, but rather its zombie.
In considering the Holocaust, most attention has been given to its direct victims, as is appropriate. However, we must also consider that it was a form of self-administered lobotomy for Continental European culture.
Lobotomy? More like slow-motion suicide.
Update: Roger L. Simon explores a possible “French Wake-Up Call“:
To protest a horrible racist murder, an estimated thirty-three thousand people, including ministers from opposing parties, marched in Paris today. This may not equal the crowds they muster for a transit workers strike, but let’s hope this marks a new resistance to racism and anti-Semitism in France.
I hope so too, but it’s tough to be optimistic about Old Europe’s long-term prognosis.
Another Update: Power Line has numerous photos of the protest.
One More: Alexandra von Maltzan has lots more links and info.