Since February 2009 , this blog and Huib's 3 other Euroblogs are together at:

- In Europa Zu Hause [DE]
- L'Europe Chez Soi [FR]
- At Home in Europe [EN]
- In Europa Thuis [NL]

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Minaret Moment 8/12 [EN]

I know, how difficult it is, to reply to self-conscious US opinionmakers when Europe is at stake.
Yesterday, the liberal New York Times published an opinion, called Europe's Minaret Moment, by somebody called Ross Douthat. He has read Christopher Caldwell, and thinks that he knows Europe. Comparing the genesis of the US to Europe's birth, he observes, that "a more perfect union" is far away from the manipulation by European "Ă©lites" to get a clean and workable constitution for the European Union. He couldn't be more right, when he chastises the European elites' disinterest in the difficulties that non-elite Europeans suffer at the actual economic season.

If the more perfect union promised by the Lisbon Treaty is the European elite’s greatest triumph, the failure to successfully integrate millions of Muslim immigrants represents its greatest failure. And the two are intertwined: they’re both the fruits of the high-handed, often undemocratic approach to politics that Europe’s leaders have cultivated in their quest for unity.
Oh, how much you are right, Mister Right! I am sure, not any member of the European elite has seen the problems coming. Nor any member of the non-elite. We choose to treat the problem NOT as you treated the Indians, relegating them to reserves and poisoning them with alcohol and diseases. We choose to help them integrate into our societies. Most of the Muslims did. A tiny minority doesn't. Like some Muslims in the USA, if I am well informed. Your easy condemnation of an Europe that is just defining itself, doesn't help at all.
Sometimes I think that people like you and Mark Steyn (America Alone) are just loading upon Europe, what you feel to be missing in the US. Historically, your propositions are completely erroneous.

On what it takes, to get a more perfect union
For: Pardon me, Mr. Bouthat, how many years were spoiled, before John Adams was able to convince Americans, that a "more perfect union" were attainable, only if Americans accepted to live together with "foreigners"?
Bouthat attacks an European elite, who imposed a peaceful Europe upon a population who would love to get rid of an immigant group, (Muslims), who seem to want independence and, finally, domination.
I am not convinced at all. I believe, that muslim immigrants in Europe will become "European", while safeguarding their own specificities. That is difficult for the people who have to live next to them, and I agree, that much more has to be done for those last mentioned. The European elites are aware of that. Much money and energy is invested.

European elites are not as stupid as you think...
Is it enough? Is it efficient? No! But it is much more, than American "elites" did for Polish, Italian and Greek immigrants a century ago. Nevertheless, those populations integrated fully into the US society. Accidents on the road, like the Swiss Minaret ban, seem to block any solution to the European immigration problem. But European unity and peace are prevalent upon short term issues like the Swiss Minaret ban initiative. One, like me, may have a minority opinion on Muslim integration in Europe, without being a member of the "European elites". That is democracy, Mr. Bouthat!
More or less like the US solved their problem with the "unintegrated" blacks in the sixties, the European Union will go forward, tentatively, with its programs for integration. And it will succeed. In the end. Each racial clash has its solution.

Europe-bashing does not help
Bouthat's opinion joins a conservative trend that makes the European Union responsible for a sort of giving ib to terrorists. I see no reason for that. Switzerland is not a member of the EU. The OECD, of which the US is a member-state, will surely condemn an eventual Swiss minaret ban. The US are not only indebted to the Founding Fathers of 1787, but also to the winners of the Civil War of 1865. No slavery, no second-class citizens!
Anti-Islamic surges will take their toll. Roma and other minorities will suffer discrimination. But I guess that the people's commitment to liberty and equality, will take the upper hand, when it comes to decide about liberty and democracy. If political elites work to create the right conditions for that, they are doing what should be expected from them.

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