January 13th, 2015

Dan Hannan thinks something in Europe has fundamentally changed…

for the better.

This surprises me. I admire and respect Hannan, who is an eloquent man and who represents the Conservative Party for South East England as a Member of the European Parliament. I have never found him to be naive or overly optimistic.

So if he sees a silver lining to this cloud, I tend to listen. Hannan perceives a sea-change in Europe as a result of the Charlie Hebdo massacre:

We all know the traditional routine that follows an Islamist terror attack: momentary shock, then platitudinous disapproval, then condemnation of Western foreign policy, then hand-wringing about an imagined Islamophobic backlash…

But not this time. Something in Europe has changed — changed utterly. A decade ago, Trafalgar Square was filled with Muslims complaining about the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed — not, to be clear, about the assassination attempts they had triggered, but about the cartoons themselves. This time, crowds in the same place, including many Muslims, held pencils and “Je Suis Charlie” signs.

A decade ago, it was a rare and brave newspaper that reprinted the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. Today, it’s the papers that hang back that find themselves under pressure…

This time, the repudiation was unambiguous — not least from the main Islamic organizations.

So, why the change? Hannan thinks it was because “even the dimmest multi-culti sloganizers are starting to see that their cant about freedom not being an absolute right has led us to a bad place.” Again, I trust that Hannan has his finger much more firmly on the pulse of Europe than I do, but I’m not sure why this incident would be a turning point if previous incidents haven’t done it.

What could be so different this time? Not numbers of victims; there were many more killed in the Madrid train bombings of 2004 or the London subway bombings of 2005, to name just two. Their victims were random people going about their business on an ordinary day, surely a group whose murder by terrorists would engender enormous sympathy and outrage.

If Hannan is correct that the recent Paris murders are a turning point, it could be because the Charlie Hebdo victims weren’t randomly chosen. The killings were targeted assassinations of people who were well-known in France and somewhat known elsewhere in Europe, and who were murdered for exercising their right of free speech.

Conservatives have been saying for quite some time that jihadis are at war with Western civilization and/or the Enlightenment, although liberals and the left have often scoffed at that claim. However, one of the pillars of the West is freedom of speech, so when Muslim terrorists murdered the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for exercising that right in France, a Western country, the act gave credence to the idea that the terrorists are in fact out to destroy our civilization and our liberties. That could be a harder threat to ignore than previous ones, especially coupled with the ISIS beheadings of members of the Western press that have become frequent in the past year.

[NOTE: On the other hand, I don’t get any sense that anything has fundamentally changed in the attitude towards terrorism in the US, including and especially the attitude of the Obama administration.]

36 Responses to “Dan Hannan thinks something in Europe has fundamentally changed…”

  1. Government Drone Says:

    This development could just be the collective patience of Europe running out. Or there’s no longer Bush to blame. Or no one’s managed to convincingly link this with the Israel-Palestine war (and as a side note, the presence of both Abbas & Netenyahu at the march over the weekend was actually quite impressive to me).

    Just how much of a difference the Charlie Hebdo massacre will make in Europe probably won’t become apparent for a few months. If, for instance, we see French officials cultivating closer ties to Israel, or French forces quietly showing up in places like Iraq & Chad, then we can say a corner’s been turned. Short of that, though, & it’s more obscure to me.

  2. Bellarion the Fortunate Says:

    So what’s different this time? Charlie Hebdo was a Leftist magazine. If these guys had gone after, say, put an RPG round into Marine le Pen’s car, or taken out a bunch of people at a British national Party rally with a suicide bomb, why, then, everything would basically still be the same. (Unless you were one of the dead, or one of their family) The Left is generally pro immigration, because they see the immigrants as part of Leftist vote farm, and their generally pro Muslim because Muslims are anti-Western. (And in Europe, because they really, really, really hate Jews). But these guys killed LEFTISTS. So maybe it’s really not all that safe to have them running around loose.

    All that having been said, it’s really really hard to take a look at yourself and what you’ve been doing and say the words “I was wrong” and then start to change. It’s hard for any human being, but maybe especially so for the Left. So we’ll see, as time goes by, what actually has changed. Maybe not enough.

  3. Yann Says:

    There´s another reason for change.

    People change when they´re afraid. When they can´t look elsewhere anymore.

    Charlie Hebdo was a beacon for the left. Satirical humour has a long tradition in Europe, and it´s something that it´s highly considered and respected. Charlie Hebdo was one of the basic elements of modern french culture.

    For first time, the european left has been deeply hurt by Islam. That´s the change.

  4. Sergey Says:

    The is a trend in French politics first observed by Mark Steyn: they can be very lenient and complacent for a long time, but when they change their mind they abruptly go nuclear without any intermediate steps. This explain all French revolutions including the Great one. This may be the case here: they experience now their 9/11 watershed.

  5. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    We will see if there’s any lasting effect. I would be very disappointed if a million-person march is followed by nothing at all… but it could happen.

    Neo: I would not expect this to change much in the US; as they say, it’s not our ox being gored here… and we’re not used to thinking of the French as being on the front lines in the battle for Western freedoms.

    But if we see significant changes for the better in France, or even in Europe generally, I’d be delighted with that. America will follow sooner or later.

  6. carl in atlanta Says:

    I don’t think Hannan is right this time; let’s look back at this in six months or a year.

    He is, however one of the best public speakers (living) that I’ve ever heard. Example here.

  7. Yann Says:

    A piece of news from today:

    La assemblée nationale (the congress) has sung l´hymn national all together, La Marseillaise, first time since 1918.

  8. Sam L. Says:

    If this turns out as we hope it will, calling someone a “cheese-eating surrender monkey” will get one some backlash.

  9. Paul in Boston Says:

    Hannon may be right, but what can the Europeans and especially the French really do about it? Through their pusillanimity they have given up sovereignty over a significant part of their country to the Muslims in the no-go zones where Sharia and not French law governs. How do they reassert French rule over five million people in what has become an internal colony of Dar al Islam without a civil war?

  10. n.n Says:

    Free speech is good, but not debasing human life is better. The only difference between the Islamic State and Liberal Church, is that the latter conducts its operations in the privacy of a clinic. Still, there is more to fitness than merely not murdering your unwanted child. The Europeans need to confront the Church and demand answers for why immigration far exceeds the rate of assimilation, and that many immigrants, in fact, have no interest in assimilation. The Church’s “diversity” doctrine only serves to marginalize and neutralize native populations to enable left-wing (i.e. minority) control.

    That said, why don’t they resolve the problems in France, and Germany too, by bombing each and carving out independent Islamic states?

  11. Yancey Ward Says:

    So what’s different this time? Charlie Hebdo was a Leftist magazine. If these guys had gone after, say, put an RPG round into Marine le Pen’s car, or taken out a bunch of people at a British national Party rally with a suicide bomb, why, then, everything would basically still be the same.

    And that is the literal truth right here in front of us- the media in Europe and much of the US see themselves in the Hebdo staff, even if the cartoons are something most of them wouldn’t touch.

  12. Yann Says:

    @Paul in Boston

    With a civil war.

    There´s people in Europe who are already talking about it as a very likely event in the future. We have millions of radical muslims inside our territory, and they´re not gonna accept western rules, and they´re gonna keep growing. A civil war is perhaps the price we will pay for multiculturalism.

  13. charles Says:

    Neo, I think you’re right in that this time the victims were targeted. And they were targeted for something as silly as cartoons.

    It was one thing when terrorists targeted the Pentagon and the twin towers of the World Trade Center – two symbols of American (the Great Satan) Power; one military and the other capitalist. It wasn’t much different when they targeted soldiers, such as in Canada or on the streets of London – solders are seen as a symbols of the foreign power. (foreign to them, of course)

    Heck, even blowing up trains and busses, those on the left can excuse – “They just want to hurt us the way we hurt them” is the excuse given.

    But, this is different. And surely those on the left must see that?! Killed, specifically targeted because of some cartoons.

    Let us not forget that this time “journalists” were the target – not some strangers on a bus, not some soldiers; but some of the liberal media’s own. That sort of makes it personal for the press. That makes it so that it isn’t just another story to be written or broadcast before deadline. So, of course, they will cover this story differently.

    Yea, I know Danny Pearl was a journalist too. Ah, but he was an American who went into “their” territory – so that doesn’t count in the leftists media’s mind as being different.

    Most importantly in making this different, I do want to add further that the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” comes into play here as well.

    Think back to the US struggle for black American civil rights. Think back to the Vietnam war. Both of those were broadcast on American TVs. It was one thing to read about what was happening to civil rights marchers in the paper; But, it was altogether more “impacting” (sorry for the corporate speak!) to see the video of the water cannons being used on peaceful demonstrators. It was frightful to see dogs being used to attack unarmed and peaceful (and truly unarmed and peaceful; not Michael Brown or Trayvon Marin “unarmed”) folks simply exercising their rights. Remember (those of us who are old enough to remember anyway) the nightly news videos showing US soldiers fighting and dying in combat in SE Asia. Both the video images of civil rights marchers and US soldiers helped to shape American public opinion on those issues.

    So, it is also that video helping to make this attack different. That video of the cold-blooded killing of that cop lying injured on the sidewalk has got to get to every civilized person; including liberals who always seem to have an excuse for those they often call “misunderstood.”

    So, with all the reasons this attack might be seen as different, I would add that the video of the cold-blooded killing is a big part of the wake up call.

  14. avi Says:

    “Or no one’s managed to convincingly link this with the Israel-Palestine war ”

    you mean that you haven’t seen our greatest former President James Earl Carter discussing this with the greatest Jew since Maimonides Jon Liebowitz?

  15. parker Says:

    As others have noted, time will tell if this is a turning point. France, UK, and nearly all of Europe have to reclaim the muslim ‘no go zones’. This will require a significant commitment of police/military forces. Paris, London, and other cities with large muslim populations will burn in the process. It will require consistent, prolonged commitment to eradicate the scrounge of multiculturalism. Time will tell if the West has the political will to reclaim Western Civilization.

  16. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Hopefully we are wrong but I too am doubtful that this is the turning point that Hannan envisions. I do think that denial has an expiration date but I think it’s going to take a lot more than this atrocity.

    I have to dispute several claims Hannan makes;
    “A decade ago, it was a rare and brave newspaper that reprinted the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. Today, it’s the papers that hang back that find themselves under pressure.”

    My impression is that very few European media have reprinted any cartoons critical of Muhammad, if so it means they’re handily resisting ‘the pressure’.

    The Dutch politician Geert Wilders is under renewed persecution.

    “This time, the repudiation was unambiguous — not least from the main Islamic organizations. “Nothing is more immoral, offensive, or insulting to our beloved Prophet than such a callous act of murder,” declared the Muslim Council of Britain. “

    It may be unambiguous but it is also an utter lie. The Muslim Council of Britain knows full well that Muhammad repeatedly engaged in mass murder and celebrated them all.

    “It is an attack, not just on the people of France, but on all of us here in Britain, on our fundamental freedoms,” said the Islamic Society of Britain.”

    Given the doctrine of Taqiyya, extending the benefit of the doubt to statements by two organizations with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood does not speak well of Hannan’s astuteness.

  17. Ann Says:

    I wonder if Hannan has read what Simon Jenkins in the Guardian had to say. It’s not very encouraging with regard to a major change, at least not on the part of the left. Jenkins refers to “so-called jihadists” and offers this as the way to go:

    …the most effective response is to meet terrorism on its own terms. It is to refuse to be terrified. It is not to show fear, not to overreact, not to over-publicise the aftermath. It is to treat each event as a passing accident of horror, and leave the perpetrator devoid of further satisfaction. That is the only way to defeat terrorism.

    a passing accident of horror — wow, just wow.

  18. junior Says:

    I hate to say it, but I think that there’s another item worth noting. For the first time in over a decade, the US is not taking the lead in the fight against Islamic terrorism. I have to wonder if that doesn’t play into it somewhat. Western Europe always seems restless when the provincial cowboys in the US are in charge of things. And I wonder if the quiet from the US leadership is making Europe more enthused about this.

  19. Oldflyer Says:

    Interesting responses, as usual, to your provocation (provocation used in a nice sense).

    Government Drone expressed part of the sentiment I intended. The proverbial straw. Another poster, forgive me for not searching back, also made a salient point with the “fear factor”.

    As to what the French can do. Don’t sell them short. They have often been poorly led, but they can also be brutal when push comes to shove. They have fought some dirty wars over the past half-century; and if sufficiently provoked I would not be surprised to see a fairly brutal reaction.

    As noted,however, only time will tell. The 21st century has created new social and political dynamics as we well know.

  20. Exasperated Says:

    “Charlie Hebdo was a beacon for the left. Satirical humour has a long tradition in Europe, and it´s something that it´s highly considered and respected. Charlie Hebdo was one of the basic elements of modern french culture……
    For first time, the european “intellectual” left has been deeply hurt by Islam. That´s the change.”

    Yes, and there is no excuse, if it came as a surprise. I have no doubt that “The Left” would ultimately be exterminated by Islamists, given the chance. That said, I doubt that they grasp that they are in an existential battle. Ergo, I think Hannan is overly optimistic.

  21. Bellarion the Fortunate Says:

    One other thing occurs to me. People compare this to 9-11. That’s wrong. 9-11 was frightening, but at the end of the day less frightening than this. People saw 9-11 as something that came from outside the country. Those guys weren’t from here. But this attack came from within France. The weapons and training, maybe not so much, but the killers did. They were radicalized French Muslims, and if there’s enough of those, then the French could be looking at a self sustaining, long term, urban guerrilla war. Think of Belfast. For us, we could work on keeping more terrorists out, striking at training camps overseas, etc. It’s different when the attack comes from radicalized, native born people inside your own country and in a lot of ways it’s way worse.

  22. Mr. Frank Says:

    Parker says: “France, UK, and nearly all of Europe have to reclaim the muslim ‘no go zones’. This will require a significant commitment of police/military forces. Paris, London, and other cities with large muslim populations will burn in the process. It will require consistent, prolonged commitment to eradicate the scrounge of multiculturalism. Time will tell if the West has the political will to reclaim Western Civilization.”

    If the crunch needs to come, in demographic terms sooner is better than later. It’s time for some serious butt kicking.

  23. Tonawanda Says:

    Hannan is awesome and to be respected.

    He is alarmingly significant in not getting it.

    Why he and other incredibly intelligent persons do not get it is an intriguing mystery of human perception.

    islam is a feral enabling ideology appealing to the lowest but absolutely real inclinations of men, especially young men.

    Think prison populations, wherever.

    There is a lot of dangerous thrill to islam, not a lot of maturity.

    Maturity is supplanted by the psychologically compelling “laws” of ritual and conformity.

    Read the Koran and read Robert Spencer, the ONLY intellectually valid explicator of islam in existence.

    Spencer’s knowledge and language is so meticulous it is a satori experience.

    For those who do not want to experience the oppressive tedium of the Koran and the absurdity of islam unadorned in the hadith, read Craig Winn’s Prophet of Doom.

    Winn is no Spencer. But he does review the entire scriptures of islam in a comprehensible way.

  24. Exasperated Says:

    Until this week, I was unaware that there was a Jewish exodus from France. I see that as ominous, in a “canary in the coal mine” kind of way.

  25. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    junior,

    Perception is not necessarily factual. The US hasn’t been ‘provincial’ since WWII and the Cold War, notwithstanding Hollywood’s “Ugly American” cliches. It is the French who are restless under American leadership, the UK simply wants respected partner status and Germany, as always seeks direction. “The Huns are either at your throat or at your feet” W. Churchill

    The EU is only restless when direct opposition to the enemy is advocated by the US because it challenges their pacifistic premises.

    Exasperated,

    Europe’s “useful idiot” liberals would ultimately be exterminated by jihadists but “The Left” is I suspect made of more ruthless clay. In any case, whether Europe’s Left is ruthless enough and sees the situation clearly, I guarantee that Russia’s oligarchs and China’s ChiCom leadership see Islam clearly… and they have nukes. It is however entirely within the geopolitical interests of the Left, Putin and China for Western civilization to fall.

    Bellarion the Fortunate,

    We could but we won’t, at least not while Obama reigns. The radicalized, native born people inside our own country are growing… by the day. Even Sen. Feinstein admits it.

    Tonawanda,

    When incredibly intelligent people don’t ‘get it’, denial is at play.

    “There are three kinds of people; those who see, those who see once they are shown and those who will not see” Leonardo da Vinci

    Robert Spencer, is NOT the ONLY intellectually valid explicator of Islam, Andrew McCarthy and Daniel Greenfield come to mind and there are others. Nor is it necessary to read the entire Koran, its message is pervasive and unmistakable. Only the willfully blind and the liar ‘fail’ to grasp it.

  26. Matt_SE Says:

    I think it was a pure attack. It couldn’t be conflated with Palestine or Iraq. It was a direct attack on free speech, and that made it very simple to choose a side.
    Also, politically the European left is teetering. This attack will be the push that knocks them over, and they must now respond to it.

  27. Beverly Says:

    You can almost always suss out what’s going on by watching how the Left pivots to attack. They’re nothing if not shrewd in-fighters. So we see P.M. Valls making a boffo speech in the French national assembly and the French reps standing and singing “La Marseillaise” in unison — and tellingly, socialist president Hollande forbidding the French conservative party to march with them in the “Unity [sic] March.”

    This reaction is the equivalent to that scene in Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs” where “Princess Vespa” shrieks, “He shot my hair!!!” IOW, shock that anyone would dare to attack les biens-pensants, and outrage at the dastardly deed. But seeing their REAL fear is that they’ll look bad for constantly encouraging/excusing our mortal enemies and therefore lose political power to the Front National shows you where the French politicos’ real concern lies.

    But still: I hope Hannan is right, and I’ve noticed many liberal birdbrain friends of mine on, e.g., Faceplant actually siding with Western Civilization for a change. This could be the Entering Wedge, folks. Strike while the iron is hot!

  28. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Mat_SE,

    Perhaps but I’m doubtful, though I hope you’re right. I’d be more persuaded had Paris’ jihadists conducted a much greater series of attacks. Three gunman does not amount to an unrelenting campaign, there are certainly many more awaiting orders to strike and I think that is what it’s going to take for the denial to collapse.

    It’s going to take a Dunkirk for the Left’s memes to be finally seen by the majority as invalid. Chamberlain’s support didn’t start to withdraw until after Hitler invaded Poland and war was declared. Even then, Europe’s pacifist appeasers weren’t discredited until Dunkirk. That’s when England turned to Churchill, who had finally been vindicated.

  29. parker Says:

    IMO it will take much more bloodshed at the hands of the barbarians before the leftists are toppled from the seats of power and the West begins to fight wihout doubt or hesitation to reinstate the ideals and values in our societies that once made the West the “shining light on the hill”.

    “If you are going through hell, keep going.” – Churchill

  30. Beverly Says:

    Well, well, well! the Mayor of Rotterdam, himself a muslim, drops the “F” bomb (in Dutch) on the intolerant muslims:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsOBjkCyCj8

    (translation onscreen)

    Would that OUR politicians would be so frank!

  31. Beverly Says:

    Speaking of Churchill, it’s fascinating that he saw Islam’s misogyny as the root cause, if you will, of its degradation. Isn’t that interesting? The hatred of the Feminine is at its core.

    (He did praise their physical courage and note that many individual muslims showed splendid qualities, but. . . .)

    “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy.

    “The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

    “A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

    “Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.

    “Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step, and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it has vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”

    — Sir Winston Churchill; “The River War”, first edition, Volume II, pages 248-250.

  32. rickl Says:

    Islam delenda est.

    Islam must be destroyed, as it is incompatible with Western Civilization. But before that can happen, Leftism must first be destroyed.

    We are at war, and it is and must be total war. No mercy and no quarter.

  33. Bellarion the Fortunate Says:

    @ Geoffrey Britain

    My “we could” referred more to the courses of action open to us after 9-11. Obama wasn’t in office then. In any case, France is facing a harder row to hoe than we ever had. They have options open to them, but none of them are attractive or easy.

  34. Ann Says:

    It appears that Churchill was an admirer of the Ottoman Empire — at least that’s what this recent Telegraph article says in a review of a book coming out, Winston Churchill and the Islamic World: Orientalism, Empire and Diplomacy in the Middle East.

    The article also says this: “In his book The River War (1899) – his account of the frontier wars of India and Sudan – he was scathing of the fundamentalist, ultra conservative Mahdiyya form of Islam adopted by the Dervish population of North Africa.”

    So it seems he was against the “votaries” or zealots, not all of Islam.

  35. Richard Saunders Says:

    Government Drone: The French have been running all over Chad and the rest of Francophone Africa for two hundred years, without the slightest interest in stopping. They don’t ask anybody’s permission, they don’t give it any publicity (that’s why they have the Foreign Legion), they don’t ask for an international coalition, they just do it. When it comes to what they see as their national interests, they are utterly ruthless — c.f. the Rainbow Warrior.

    If the French decide — and that’s a big if — that squashing the Muslim no-go zones is in their interests, you’ll see armored vehicles and heavily armed CRS (paramilitary police) in the streets breaking heads, and Jihadi leaders meeting with fatal “accidents” in their home countries.

    If that doesn’t happen, that means they’ve really given up.

  36. Tim P Says:

    The most accurate summation I’ve seen.

    “So what’s different this time? Charlie Hebdo was a Leftist magazine. If these guys had gone after, say, put an RPG round into Marine le Pen’s car, or taken out a bunch of people at a British national Party rally with a suicide bomb, why, then, everything would basically still be the same. (Unless you were one of the dead, or one of their family) The Left is generally pro immigration, because they see the immigrants as part of Leftist vote farm, and their generally pro Muslim because Muslims are anti-Western. (And in Europe, because they really, really, really hate Jews). But these guys killed LEFTISTS. So maybe it’s really not all that safe to have them running around loose.”

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