Houellebecq’s Latest “Scandal Interview”
Renowned French writer of contemporary literature Michel Houellebecq has once again made controversial headlines after he engaged in voluminous 40-page dialogue in the magazine Front Populaire with its editor, philosopher Michel Onfray. The leitmotif of this dialogue was Oswald Spengler’s culturally pessimistic The Decline of the West. Typically, however, Houellebecq did everything but make use of sensitive and reserved diplomatic language regarding the metastised ills of the demographic Great Replacement. Although a personal meeting took place, immediately after the publication of the interview in question, the rector of the Great Mosque of Paris, Chems-Eddine Hafiz, announced that he had filed a complaint against Houellebecq for “inciting hatred against Muslims”. Examples of such so-called „hatred“ include statements that the native French population does not desire Muslims to assimilate, but to rather “stop stealing from them [the French] and attacking them”. Another example of a statement is that if the Muslim population cannot manage even the aforementioned wish, then they would simply have to leave France. Furthermore, a prediction was made – that seemed to sound more like a warning – that acts of popular resistance would take place if/when entire territories in France came under Islamist control – described comparatively as incidents of “reverse Bataclans”. “You think the civil war is coming, I think it’s already here, quietly”, was Michel Onfray´s response.
A Hell on Earth
It was said that Rector Hafiz had met Houellebecq personally, who described his most controversial statements as “ambivalent” and partially retracted them, which is why the mosque, therefore, intends to withdraw the complaint against Houellebecq. Nevertheless, such dialogue is diametrically opposed to the xenophilic migration propaganda of the left-wing establishment to such an extent that the corresponding media backlash was inevitable. However, such vehement fundamental criticism from the cultural sector – or at least from a renowned representative – should be taken seriously instead of simply being shouted down by people using loudspeakers or other methods. No matter how much Houellebecq may be labelled a scandalous author, or how often his expressions may be all too gutturally obscene, the author of a new realism nevertheless always deals – through the extremely lucid power of observation – with the dissolution of an Occident that has become visionless and faithless. Perhaps the revulsion and disgust evoked by his zeitgeist extrapolations into the near future are deliberate in their intentions as stylistic instruments to sound the alarm signalling that today´s deconstructionist civilisation is leaving us with nothing else but a Hell on Earth.
Critically Addressing Migration Policies
Houellebecq addressed numerous societal aberrations in his novels, whether it was the decline in moral values in his debut novel Whatever (Extension du Domaine de la Lutte), the destruction of love – respectively, the traditional family – in Atomised (Les Particules Elémentaires), the warning of Islam becoming ever more fanatical to the point of terrorism in Platform (Plateforme) and Submission (Soumission), the social rage of the marginalised by capitalism – reminiscent of the Yellow Vest movement – in Serotonin (Sérotonine), or crazed eco-terrorism in Anéantir. Why should the writer, who is obviously not concerned with being everybody’s „darling“, shy away from critically addressing migration policies regarding demographic changes? It can hardly be overlooked anymore.
Numerous recent events have shown us what disastrous developments we are facing in Europe if we fail to see the problems of a migrant society and simply close our eyes to it all:
(1) Several countries faced riots led by Moroccans in their streets during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, even when Morocco had won their matches. These riots were little else but a show of force by an immigrant parallel society intended to intimidate the local population.
(2) Let us look at Sweden. After a 22-year-old Syrian migrant was convicted of beating his pregnant girlfriend and torturing her by rubbing strong spices in her eyes, a Swedish Court of Appeal ultimately reversed the deportation order. Recent data has shown that, for example, in Malmö, a dramatic demographic transformation continues to take place, and it is especially evident when the youngest age groups are examined. Meanwhile, two-thirds of people in the city between the ages of 5 and 19 have an immigrant background. Despite available data, these statistics do not include third-generation immigrants. A left-wing professor has even called for new educational facilities to be built, where migrants can be educated in their own respective native languages – particularly Arabic – arguing that Swedish is now a minority language. It is unfathomable that a scenario such as this could emerge out of a Nordic nation.
(3) Another example comes from Belgium, where a young female student was attacked on a lit pathway on her university campus before being dragged several metres to a blind spot in the university’s surveillance coverage where she was beaten and raped. The primary suspect had been confirmed as the same person of Ivorian origin who had been released from prison not long beforehand after beating a homeless person with an iron crowbar and dousing him in acid, which ultimately resulted in the latter‘s death in hospital a week later. The Ivorian man received only a two-and-a-half year sentence in prison because a Belgian court had ruled that the attack was not a murder, but rather an assault.
(4) We can also look at the riots on New Year’s Eve in Germany´s capital city of Berlin. 70% of the arrested rioters were of migrant background. A total of 18 different nationalities were recorded, of which the largest migrant group of suspects originated from Afghanistan.
(5) It was not much different in France with riots in several French cities, over the course of which saw nearly 500 people arrested. In what can only be described as an absolutely incomprehensible move, given the circumstances, the French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin stated in a statement that the New Year’s Eve celebrations in the country had taken place “without any major incidents”, despite almost 700 cars being set on fire.
(6) Sadly, the examples are legion, but let us finish with a look at the UK, which shows us how helpless politicians truly are, or how else to interpret a British Home Office order to double its intake of asylum seekers in order to help the British Government cope with the record arrivals of illegals into the country? The British Home Office justified the decision by explaining that the number of asylum seekers had “reached record levels” and that “appropriate accommodation” was needed.
Mental Diarrhoea in Politics
In the face of these catastrophic developments, to scandalise Michel Houellebecq’s statements only shows that the compass of political insight has been lost. Strangely enough, after the New Year’s Eve riots in Germany, the established media did not react negatively at all towards the Schleswig-Holstein Green Minister for Social Affairs & Family, Aminata Touré, when she stated the following:
Of course, we can now have 18 weeks of stupid meta-debates about integration, or we can protect the emergency services and the population by banning firecrackers. How difficult can it be to find such a simple solution to a clear problem?
Given such mental diarrhoea in politics on a nearly daily basis, even rhetorically caustic statements in the style of Houellebecq may be understood as salutary criticism. Moreover, it would seem quite hypocritical if the French establishment celebrated Houellebecq as a literary prophet, but declared him a scandal when he expressed himself in a politically uncomfortable way. If the West is indeed the free society that it likes to celebrate itself as, it must also put up with such a grandmaster of social controversy.
Ideological drunkenness must not drown political sobriety in recognising problems. The role of the fortune-telling Cassandra has always been an ungrateful one, as generations of national dissidents know only too well, but often prognosticators exaggerate their fears precisely for the reason to prevent the aforementioned horror scenarios. The main frightening question is whether Michel Houellebecq is exaggerating or predicting something realistic at all, and not merely describing a reality that has long been present. When Houellebecq stated during his talk with Michel Onfray, “The Great Replacement. I was shocked it’s called a theory. It’s not a theory – it’s a fact”, he was not talking about the future, but the here and now. Moreover, he was quoted in the magazine Front Populaire with the words, “I want to defend the West, but it must be worth defending.” This could be understood to mean that the Occident must be defended as long as there is still something to defend and as long as there has been no capitulation in its self-image. However, Houellebecq also made a clear prognosis for the future in Front Populaire, should a defence of the Occident escalate into isolated overreactions resulting from helplessness and/or despair. For that case, Houellebecq warned that “Muslims will not be content to light candles and lay flowers.“
Sascha A. Roßmüller
ETN Vice Chairman
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