Idea of Europe is Dead

The Brussels airport attack by jihadists again brings to life the challenge faced by Europe as we know it. Europe of   Mozart and Goethe and Schopenhauer and Sartre and Beethoven is dead. The cultured European having his wine and enjoying concerts and Opera is passé.

Today every European looks over his/her shoulder while walking, and ears are strained for any untoward sound. In small towns new neighbors are looked at with suspicion and old neighbors are expected to behave. The sound of screeching cars at night makes them awake and sirens and cops are the normal scene.

Radical Islam is not fighting Christianity –which anyhow is dead in Europe—but it is fighting modernity. Islam is frightened of modernity destroying their religion and culture, how so ever unacceptable it may be to European liberals. It is concerned about pre-marital sex/contraception/homosexuality/adultery/ “unprotected” women etc.

Europe does not know how to handle it. The rise of right-wing forces – le Pen in France and PEGIDA in Germany – is going to light the fires of newer European conflicts. Europe thought — a la Merkel — that they can buy peace with radical Islam by “requesting” them to integrate. But integrate with what? Integrate with “immoral” Europe where women are exhibited as “open meat” [in the words of the Australian Imam] who are “poisonous”.

Europe has seen Crusades and 100 years wars – between Christianity and Islam. But never has it seen a conflict of this nature between “modernity” and Islam. The ongoing tussle in Turkey enlarges the conflict in the underbelly of Europe. Already Europe has 50% unemployment among youth groups and everyday 10000 are marching in as refugees. Remember, some 200 years back entire Spain and up to the gates of Vienna came under the Islamic Andalusian Empire; thousands of mosques were converted to churches after Europe was “cleansed” of Islam.

This time the Europe which is facing crisis is different. It is not just the pews and stained glasses of churches, but concert halls, swimming pools and whole night parties that are opposed by Islamic radicals. The issue is regarding life style and whether one likes it or not radical Islam is the “global moral policeman”. It knows the place of women in society and also the place of Europeans.

Unfortunately, Europe has lost the will to fight and stand for whatever are its values. Its own idea of “freedom”, which it tom toms as the model the entire world should follow, is going to devour it when it is offered to Radical Islamists. Europe as we know it is dead.

About the Author

Professor R Vaidyanathan
Professor of Finance, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bengaluru, Bharat
  • AR

    very well said!