Tell me again about Europe and her pains,
Who’s tortured by the drought, who by the rains.
Glut me with floods where only the swine can row
Who cuts his throat and let him count his gains.
It seemed the best thing to be up and go.
— William Empson, from “Aubade”
The first leg of my flight to Europe last week was a short hop from Dulles to Philadelphia, where I had to endure a five-hour layover before continuing on to Brussels.
Despite all their glitz and hype, airports are not much fun to hang out in for any extended period of time, and Philly is no exception. You can walk for miles through the terminals searching in vain for something interesting to do. You can look at the duty-free booze, or shop for expensive jewelry, or buy a football jersey, or squint at the cover of Rolling Stone in Hudson News, or partake of high-carb delicacies in “Breads ’n’ More”, the generic airport eatery.
I was fortunate enough to find a decent restaurant, one where I could actually sit down and order good food from a waitress. I told the hostess as she ushered me to my table that I was in for a five-hour layover, and she asked me where I was heading.
“Brussels,” I replied.
“Where’s that?” she asked.
“Belgium,” I said. “Actually, it’s the capital of Belgium.”
I wanted to add that it was also the capital of the European Union, but I had a premonition that she would also never have heard of the EU, and I really didn’t want to discover such an appalling fact about this well-dressed, well-spoken young lady. Whether in her ignorance she is representative of her larger American cohort I cannot say.
Counterjihad Brussels Redux
I had the good fortune to spend three full days in Brussels. The first one, Saturday July 7, was what I call “jet lag day”, a 24-hour period of disorientation and stupor during which normal functioning tends to be difficult.
By Sunday July 8 I was ready for action again. Most of our leadership group was staying in hotels near St. Catherine’s Church, which is not as much of a tourist zone as the area around the Great Market.
The Brussels conference was the following day, so the leadership group — actually a variety of leaders from overlapping Counterjihad networks across Europe — took the opportunity presented by their early arrival, and convened informally that afternoon and evening in various watering holes near St. Catherine’s to discuss issues of common interest to the anti-sharia resistance.
Since most of the people there were involved in the following day’s conference in the European Parliament, much of the talk revolved around the planning for that event.
There were, however, other topics on the agenda. They included:
- The expansion of repression (both official and informal) in Europe, Canada, and the United States against critics of sharia and Islamization
- The formation of new political parties and coalitions, and the redirection of existing parties, to concentrate on resisting the encroachment of sharia
- Planned legislative initiatives in various countries that aim to reaffirm the commitment to individual freedoms specified in our constitutions, which all contradict the tenets of Islamic law
- Strategies for dealing with official resistance to the attempts of individuals and groups to reassert their fundamental rights under their constitutions (or, in the case of Britain, under the English Common Law)
- Practical methods for coordinating our collective resistance to sharia, both internationally and among different groups within a given country
The more general discussion focused on the crackdowns against free speech that are now underway in most European countries. I was already familiar with oppressive conditions in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Britain, but had not realized how dire the situation is in France, and — to a somewhat lesser extent — in Germany and Switzerland.
When we convened in Brussels five years ago, there had been virtually no prosecutions of Islam-critics in Europe. Since then there have been dozens, and possibly even hundreds, if all the “religiously aggravated public order offences” in Britain are taken into account. The repression is huge, it is ongoing, and it is accelerating.
On that ominous note, we adjourned for the night. The next day we were to take up the same themes in more detail at the European Parliament.
The Brussels Process
On Monday July 9, a much larger group (over a hundred people) gathered in an auditorium of the European Parliament to discuss free speech, civil liberties, the OIC, and what has become known as the “Istanbul Process”.