THE HORRIFIC events in Paris in the last few days have re-ignited the debate on multiculturism and neo-facism in Europe, and Newsroom has received this commentary from a regular contributor in Vienna.
Anis H. Bajrektarevic writes
There is a claim constantly circulating the European Union (EU): ‘multiculturalism is dead in Europe’. Dead or maybe d(r)ead?... That much comes from a cluster of European nation-states that love to romanticize their appearance through the solid Union, as if they themselves had lived a long, cordial and credible history of multiculturalism
This claim is of course false. It is also cynical because it is purposely misleading. No wonder, as the conglomerate of nation-states/EU has silently handed over one of its most important debates – that of European anti-fascistic identity, or otherness – to the wing-parties, repeatedly followed by the selective and contra-productive foreign policy actions.
The Paris shooting, terrible beyond comprehension, will reload and overheat those debates. However, these debates are ill conceived, resting from the start on completely wrong and misleading premises. Assassins of the Parisian Satirical Magazine are Islamofascists. The fact that these individuals are of the Arab-Muslim origins does not make them less fascists, less European, nor does it abolish Europe from the main responsibility in this case.
Fascism and its evil twin, Nazism are 100% European ideologies. Neo-Nazism also originates from and lately unchecked blossoms, primarily in Europe. (Some would say, über-economy in the center of continent, surrounded from all sides by the recuperating neo-fascism.) The Old continent tried to amortize its deepening economic and demographic contraction by a constant interference on its peripheries, especially meddling on the Balkans, Black Sea/Caucasus and MENA (Middle East–North Africa). What is now an epilogue? A severe democratic recession. Whom to blame for this structural, lasting civilizational retreat that Europe suffers? Is it accurate or only convenient to blame a bench of useful idiots for returning home with the combating behavior?
My voice was just one of the many that included notables like Umberto Eco and Kishore Mahbubani – promote moderation and dialogue, encourage forces of toleration, wisdom and understanding, stop supporting and promoting ethno-fascism in the former Yugoslavia and Ukraine. These advices were and are still ridiculed and silenced, or in the best case, ignored. Conversely, what the EU constantly promoted with its councils, boots and humanitarian aid starting from Bosnia 25 years ago, Middle East, until present day Ukraine was less of a constructive strategic engagement and more of a cult of death, destruction, partition, exclusion and fascism.
(Some of the most notorious regimes on this planet are advertised and glorified in Europe, even though one of these hereditary theocracies considers as the serious criminal offence – like European Nazis in 1930s – if the prescribed state religion is not obeyed as the only existing one).
On the other side, the European temple of multiculturalism– Sarajevo, was barbarically sieged and bombed for 1,000 days – all that just one-hour flight from Brussels. Still, 20 years after, Bosnia remains the only country in the world that does not exercise its sovereignty. It is administratively occupied by the opaque and retrograde international bureaucracy – predominantly European apparatchiks that institutionalized segregation in this country.
Illuminating cradles of multiculturalism – some of the brightest verticals of entire human civilization such as Jerusalem, Bagdad and Damascus still suffer unbearable horrors of externally induced, ahistorical destruction, hatred and purges.
Europe still defies the obvious. There is no lasting peace at home if the neighborhood remains restless. This horrific Paris shooting is only a painful reminder on how much the EU has already isolated itself: The very type of Islam Europe supported in the Middle East yesterday, is the version of Islam (or better to say, fascism) we are getting today in the Christian Europe as well as in the Christian neighborhoods of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
Thus, in response to the Balkans, MENA and Ukraine crises, the EU repeatedly failed to keep up a broad, single-voiced consolidated agenda and all-participatory basis with its strategic neighborhood. The EU missed it all – although having institutions, WWII-memory, interest and credibility to prevent mistakes – as it did wrong before at its home; by silently handing over one of its most important questions, that of European identity, anti-fascism and otherness, to escapist anti-politics (politics in retreat) dressed up in the Western European wing-parties.
Eventually, the ‘last world’s cosmopolitan’ – as the EU is often self-portrayed – compromised its own perspectives and discredited its own transformative power’s principle. The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, EU did so by undermining its own institutional framework: Nurnberg principles and antifascist legacy, Barcelona Process as the specialized segment of from-Morocco-to-Russia European Neighborhood Policy (EU) and the Euro-Med partnership (OSCE).
The only direct involvement of the continent was ranging between a selective diplomatic de-legitimization and punitive military engagement via the Atlantic Europe-led coalition of the willing (the Balkans, Libya, Syria, Ukraine). Confrontational nostalgia prevailed again over both essential for any viable future: dialog (instruments) and consensus (institutions).
The consequences are rather striking and worth of stating once more: The sort of Islam that the EU supported (and the means deployed to do so) in the Middle East yesterday, is the sort of Islam (and the means it uses) that Europe gets today. Small wonder, that Islam in Turkey or Kirgizstan and in Indonesia) is broad, liberal and tolerant while the one in Atlantic-Central Europe is a brutally dismissive, narrow and vindictively assertive. Our urgent task – if we are serious about Europe – is denazification. Let’s start from Bosnia, Ukraine and Paris at once.
The Author is a professor of international law and global political studies, based in Vienna, Austria. His previous book Geopolitics of Technology – Is There Life after Facebook? was published by the New York’s Addleton Academic Publishers. His forthcoming book Geopolitics – Europe 100 years later is coming soon. contact: firstname.lastname@example.org