“Islamic supremacists see that the West has no stomach for them”
by Giulio Meotti
It is the new French publishing phenomenon. The title of David Thomson’s book, Les Revenants (Seuil) evokes the zombies, but these zombies do not come back from afterlife, but from Syria. They are the French “soldiers” of the Islamic State and the Jihadists “made in France.”
Crazy? Disadvantaged? Stigmatized? Not at all. Many experts, from Olivier Roy to Gilles Kepel, have tried to answer these questions. Thomson is perhaps the only one to have succeeded.
The great strength of his book, in fact, is having approached the jihadists and made them speak. The most illuminating Islamic soldier is Zubair, who grew up in a socialist social housing project in Seine-Saint-Denis and who chose the holy war as a “response to the ideological vacuum and metaphysics of postmodernism.” He speaks like an intellectual. Zubair says: “They encourage us to consume, consume, consume. But they do not give a reason for living, and it seems that we’re dead.” The jihadists are not the wretched of the earth, but people searching for “a theological-political project.”
Zubair, one of the most eloquent speakers in Thomson’s book, is dismissive of the social radicalization hypothesis. “Everything has to do with Islam,” he says. “Jihadism ‘made in France’ is the fruit of the encounter between radical Islam and the era of the void,” writes Le Figaro. “The hybrid son of a murderous utopia and a disenchanted era.” Zubair says it clearly: “When we see that the only project in Western democracies is to increase the purchasing power of the people, this is a vacuum and provides no desire to live.” But perhaps it provides one to kill.
When Ayman al Zawahiri or Abu Bakr al Baghdadi call their faithful to establish a Caliphate and to conquer Europe, Western commentators and politicians dismiss them as “mad,” or as Barack Obama called them, a “JV Team.” But what is the picture of the West that these Islamic supremacists get from CNN, BBC and European newspapers? Birth rates are falling as has never happened before in human history, Europe’s military spending goes to pay army pensions, Christian churches are closing or are being converted into mosques, journalists are self-censoring themselves about Islam (nobody would reprint the Mohammed cartoons after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo), Muslim veils are proliferating everywhere in Europe’s streets, honor killings go totally unpunished, feminists talk about “gender” instead of sharia, Muslim reformers are silenced through intimidation, and our television networks hide the images of jihadist crimes to avoid offending Muslims or so as to not scare the public.
Everywhere they look, Islamic supremacists see only a bunch of Westerners ready to capitulate. They are militarily weak and religiously strong. We are militarily strong and religiously weak. But what happens when you don’t even have the will to use that military power?
Zubair in Thomson’s book is totally right. The rise of Islamic supremacism all over Europe points at a terminal illness, a debilitating despair, a nihilism that is rapidly eroding the cultural and social fabric that supports every civilization. Nihilism is insidiously invading our society. Today, two forms of nihilism face and feed each other, Islamic nihilism and Western nihilism. The first manifests itself in the destruction of other human beings, the second in the way it surrenders in front of those who want destroy our civilization. Islamic supremacists have understood that for Westerners, the price of terrorism is tolerable.
Osama bin Laden understood that the power of the West was apparent. In the face of an ideological and physical attack, the West would be too hypocritical to answer with an effective response against Jihad. That is the story of the United States in the last eight years, of the Spanish retreat after the Madrid bombings, of the French appeasement after 130 dead in Paris, of the German neutrality after the Berlin market attack and of the Belgian indifference after the Brussels bombings.
Our stomach is too weak for them. That is the trend the United States now needs to reverse.