Anis H. Bajrektarevic
There is a claim constantly circulating the 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 via the solid Union, as if they themselves lived a long, cordial and credible history of multiculturalism. Hence, 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. This was repeatedly followed by the selective and contra-productive foreign policy actions of the Union.
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. Terrorism, terror, terrorism!! – But, terror is tactics, not an ideology. How one can conduct and win war on tactics – it is an oxymoron. Assassins in the Parisian Satirical Magazine (and subsequent hostage crises) are Islamofascists. The fact that these individuals are allegedly 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; an über-economy in the center of continent, surrounded from all sides by the recuperating neo-fascism. (How else to explain that the post-WWII come-and-help-our-recovery slogan Gastarbeiter willkommen became an Auslander Raus roar in a matter of only two decades. National purifiers extensively shout ‘we need de-ciganization’ of our societies, as if it historically does not always end up in one and only possible way– self-barbarization.)
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/Cau-casus 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 accuse a bunch of useful idiots for returning home with the combating behavior, equipped with the European guns and anger of the misused?
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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 the 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 UN member 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. Ask Americans living at the Mexican border, or Turks next to Syria. This horrific Paris massacre (and related shootouts that didnot fade away days after the initial assault) is only a painful reminder on how much the EU has already isolated itself. For unreasonably long, Europe promoted in the Middle East and Africa everything but the stability and prosperity of its own post-WWII socio-economic model. No wonder that today, instead of blossoming neighborhood, the EU is surrounded by the ring of politico-military instability and socio-economic despair – from Ukraine, Balkans to MENA, and numerous refuges from there.
However, when there is no opportunity, at least a hope should be given. That is what Europe keenly helped with in the Middle East: 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 in 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.
Author is professor in international law and global political studies, based in Vienna, Austria.
The views expressed in this article are the author\’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Times Of Earth\’s editorial policy.