Greetings, my favestest
But I digress. Straight to the point: now, returning to our modern time, we Balkan people and East Europeans in more general, are experiencing another shock... The shock from the clash between our long-kept dream of an exemplary Western society that we had strived to emulate for such a long time during the years of Soviet rule - and the reality of a bitter, alienated, intolerant West that's gradually rearing its ugly face from underneath that idealized image. And you might understand that many of us are now again stuck at a crossroads, wondering where do we go from here, now that our bright idol has been so badly tarnished.
Let's see how a far-right party in UK views immigration, and make a conclusion about the general trend in the development of this phenomenon. Let's pay attention to their arguments, their data, and the things they consider a matter of concern. See, one of EU's fundamental principles is the free movement of people. And it pains me to say, but that freedom is being perceived by more and more people as a threat to their well-being, and even to the EU's integrity, rather than an asset.
The West likes to preach so much to us East Europeans about minority rights, but once France got several thousand extra Roma immigrants on their hands, they instantly played the "do as I say, not as I do" game and kindly asked us to "take all those Gypsies back" (Sarkozy's words). Indeed, the problem with the illegal Roma ghettos is nothing new in France, and now Hollande's government is being the umpteenth one to get serious criticism for the way it's handling the issue. Here the discrepancy is obvious, and the Roma themselves (unemployed, with no documents, having settled illegally in a foreign country without even speaking the language) were hardly the prototype that inspired the "free movement of people" principle at the time the "united Europe" concept was being forged.
Maybe many had underestimated the potential downsides of multiculturalism at the time the Maastricht Treaty was being signed, or maybe they believed that the mixing of various civilization platforms would only lead to mutual enrichment. But the growing inter-cultural intolerance in many EU countries is a poke in the eye of that belief. What's more alarming, in many ways the far-right and their supporters might have a point. What they severely lack is the constructive approach to the problem. What they're offering essentially leads to a downward spiral toward more inter-cultural tension, with unpredictable consequences.
But let's look at the analysis of the British National Party and decide for ourselves about the validity of their arguments. And for a Bulgarian like me, somehow the parallel to our own history (especially its Ottoman period) somehow emerges naturally on its own.
I'll make an exception from my usual pattern, and paste the entire article here, and bold some parts that I consider essential, then I'll explain what I mean. (Feel free to skip the text in italics if you don't feel like reading a BNP "manifesto")...
Much has been said about the advantages of immigration and not much said about the disadvantges of it.
At this particular time, Britain and Europe are, and have been, experiencing a surge of immigration that is unparalleled in their respective histories.
Never in history have such a diverse and sometimes alien cultures migrated into other civilizations in such a way and this without the consent or even sometimes knowledge of the peoples of those benighted nations.
In this short article I intend to dispel the Multicultural myth that immigration brings benefits to the peoples of various nations and instead intend to concentrate on the facts around immigration in the UK, though the overall analysis could well apply to any European nation experiencing high levels of immigration – this means all of them.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has recently announced that “Higher levels of immigration over the next 50 years would spare taxpayers from the need to endure much greater austerity”
They base this on the fact that we have an ageing population, and that old canard that these immigrants will pay for our pensions due to their supposed productivity and the fact they are younger.
The government has promised to cut immigration to the tens of thousands whilst the OBR wants immigration of around 140,000 per year, net cut of 110,000 from the present figure of 250,000 that we know about.
The OBR projects that the population of the UK would rise to 85.5 million by 2060 if present trends continue but would be only 77.6 million by 2060 if immigration could be cut to 140,000.
When the census results for Northern Ireland and an estimate for Scotland are taken into account the UK population stands at around 63.1 million, up four million in the past decade; almost equivalent to adding the entire city of Manchester each year.
This does not include illegal immigration that according to Migration Watch is put between 500,000 and 900,000.
More than half the population growth has been driven by immigration, with two thirds of immigrants coming from non-EU countries.
The official figures also show: England is now the third most densely populated country in the EU, behind only Malta and the Netherlands.
In London, population density levels are 16 times higher than in the rest of the country.
In 20 years the population of our Island will be 70 million.
Now what is wrong with this picture?
The OBR is equating higher immigration with higher growth and productivity, but is this true?
Let us look briefly at one example that of Muslim immigration though I am not claiming this is representative of all immigrants.
The ‘total lifetime’ cost of a 25 year old immigrant who works for the minimum wage, marries, has two children, does not have a pension and therefore in retirement receives Pension Credit, and lives throughout in private rented housing.
The evaluations in this paper take the costs from the date of marriage at aged 25 through 40 years of work to retirement at 65 years of age and then 15 years of retirement.
"For example, compared with the UK average of 22% of the working age population being economically inactive, Somali, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Iranian immigrants are likely to be 81%, 56%, 55% and 48% economically inactive respectively”
In the UK only 47% of Muslim men and 24% of Muslim women are employed.
Muslims were also found to have the highest disability rates - with 24 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women claiming a disability - while the cable also cited statistics claiming Muslims were also the most likely group to be unavailable for work or not actively seeking employment due to illness, their studies or family commitments. And a part of this tendency towards Disability is the fact of genetic malformations due to Cousin Marriage.
Finally: OBR also overlooks the fact that Muslims get old as well and will require the same benefits as anyone else.
Then of course we have the very real problem that not all immigrants are willing to integrate into society, this results in the following;
All over Europe, Islamic parallel societies are developing.
Many of them seem to move towards becoming Gaza-like areas, characterized by overpopulation, a low level of education, high crime rates, racism against Jews and other non-Muslim groups, an Islamic political and economic infrastructure, and a general hateful and often violent attitude against non-Islamic authorities and the surrounding non-Islamic areas.
This is the five-step evolution model of how European areas develop into violent areas violently fighting for autonomy and secession. Each step naturally leads to and supports the next.
1) Social housing areas. Low income and the natural wish to live with people of same faith and culture lead Muslims to move together into areas with cheap apartments. Social housing areas thus develop into Muslim areas.
2) Muslim areas. Muslim culture and religion become dominant in the areas, which allow Islamic values to take root. Muslim areas develop into Islamic areas
3) Islamic areas. Homemade Sharia courts, police-like groups of adult men, imams, and Islamic havala banking appear. An unofficial political and economic Islamic infrastructure is in place, and its political identity and influence grows.
4) Political areas. Demands for official recognition of the unofficial religious infrastructure appear. Islamic areas develop into political forces that are steering towards conflict with secular laws.
5) Violent areas. Religious fanatics see it as their religious right to use threats and violence in order to get their demands fulfilled. They are born and raised in the country, they have citizenship, and they feel they have just as much right to live as they wish to as democratic-minded citizens feel.
Besides: According to the Quran, it is a sin to submit to secular law and non-Islamic authorities. Islamic politics has developed into a continuous conflict that often erupts into violence.
Islamic areas in China, Thailand, Russia, the Balkans and Africa already reached step five many years ago.
Dozens of countries surrounding the birthplace of the Muslims' prophet were once Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist etc. -- but have now reached step 6: Severe lack of human rights especially for women, no free speech, no real democracy, no scientific development etc. In short: they have become Islamic countries.
In Europe, thousands of cities already have Muslim areas. Hundreds of European cities have Islamic areas. Islamic organisations already made political demands that a handful of European areas should receive autonomy under Sharia law.
A scenario in which Islamic supremacists will forget about their demands and not use undemocratic methods in order to reach their goal is unlikely.
The fact of the matter is that the OBR is using a social model to make these calculations that is blatantly fictitious; not all people are the same, nor are all cultures.
They have deliberately left out all the component areas that could be used in order to calculate a proper cost/benefit analysis.
They are thoroughly wedded to the Multicultural mode and assumptions and therefore, their analysis – such as it is, is riddled with bias.
The basic question to ask is this "Can our country remain British with so many different people in it?”
Can our national identity survive being submerged under an immigrant tide and can our economy and physical infrastructure cope with so many people who are dependent upon it but contribute nothing towards it?
Can we avoid a clash of civilisations and possible civil war?
First of all, sorry for the length. But it's kind of curious, isn't it? In Britain, xenophobia is obviously gaining momentum, and fast. This, by the way, could be expected in some sense, given the high levels of immigration. After all, without immigration, there'd hardly be any xenophobia to talk about (although cultural self-isolation and hatin' on the continental neighbors hasn't been news for Britain through the ages, even without all those foreigners in place). But what's more interesting is that the whole situation with the Muslim immigrants in Europe reminds me of something. It reminds me in many ways of the way our history books describe the centuries-long struggle of the Balkan peoples to preserve their identity within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. And without that identity, we're being taught over and over again, our independence as a nation would've been pointless. Bulgarians and other peoples have fought for their right to build Christian churches, to practice their faith and their traditions freely, to speak and write in their own language, to maintain their communities and keep the memory of their historical past. All in all, to preserve their national identity. In this case we're speaking of a period between 14-19th century, while the article above refers to our present time.
The difference in the two perceptions of multiculturalism, in the levels of tolerance to other religions and customs, should be enormous, shouldn't it? Well, actually it's not. And we could say there are some objective factors for this difference being so small. The EU could be viewed as an empire of some sorts, in a way. But it's been created by a voluntary principle. And the Western cultural model undoubtedly dominates its paradigm. So the partial parallel between the Balkan past within the Ottoman Empire and the attitude to Muslim immigrants in the EU, is inevitable.
On the other hand, we could hardly argue that Europeans have zero reasons to be wary of the constant immigrant waves coming to their societies. Between the two situations I'm trying to compare, there are some key differences. For instance, the biggest difference between Bulgaria's Ottoman case and that of the Muslims within EU is that the former joined the Empire forcefully, while the latter have immigrated to the Union voluntarily. The other big difference is that in the latter case we're talking of a policy and a set of views professed by the far-right parties in Europe (i.e. it's still a fringe view), while in the former, that was the state policy of the Great Porte, full-stop.
But these two differences could be (at least partially) debunked as well, to some extent. As for the first difference, many could say that in today's globalized world, where economic disparity is simultaneously the root cause and a main consequence of globalization, migration to the wealthier societies is inevitable, and in a sense it's not exactly voluntary, at least not absolutely voluntary. As for the second difference, many could argue that the popularity of the xenophobic far-right parties is increasing more and more (Holland, Belgium, France, Austria, even Germany), and it's a matter of time until they become mainstream. Even a state policy (hints of that are regularly and amply provided in Britain even from mainstream politicians: whenever elections approach, the Tories start playing the old card of the "Eastern menace" in order to score political points - and that trick always works).
There are elements in the far-right rhetoric that hint about a desire for a cultural assimilation and forceful integration. Hints that, from a Balkan point of view, are disturbing, to put it mildly. What's more, we Balkanites, who for a long time have been under the boot of an empire that was totally alien to us culturally and politically (and still survived), would probably cringe and puke on hearing this sort of sentiment being expressed.
Well, the fact is, this phenomenon has now become a reality. And what's disturbing, it has happened in those societies which for a long time have been considered the very peak of civilizational evolution, and beacons of enlightenment, and paragon examples we in the East have always strived to emulate. We've been seeing the West as that example of elevated tolerance, and we've always been jealous of this bright cultural model.
Now these same societies have changed the tune, their face has undergone grotesque transformations, and they look like the stringent (but just?) Minerva McGonagall, the Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts: always waving a finger and frowning in all directions. Those same Western paragons of virtue are now preaching to the Eastern, younger EU members, about the way we should have integrated our minorities, and other things they pretend to know so much about. But we ain't stupid. We know the face of hypocricy and tendentiousness, because we've been living face to face with it for many centuries. And it hurts to know that, at the end of the day, there's really nothing new and useful that we could learn from the West in this respect...
The integration of minorities with a generally lower economic and living standard through social (in the economic sense) methods at the expense of the economically active and productive groups of society, leads to much more tension between these two groups, which are unequal mostly in the economic sense. And in such situations, the far-right populists would always be sure to pop up like mushrooms after rain, and manipulate the public by pushing forward the cultural, ethnic and religious aspect of the issue. And the danger here is that this often grows into a self-fulfilling prophecy, unless the very economic and social roots of the problem are tackled in a meaningful way. But that won't happen through surrounding ourselves with a fence and pointing fingers at those who are coming from outside and who are different from us.