Skip to comments.Betrayed by Europe: An Expatriate’s Lament
Posted on 01/09/2005 1:34:46 PM PST by Lorianne
is not so easy to know when youre deluding yourself and when you are finally seeing the light. When I look back at my reasons for leaving the United States for France in 1972, some seem to me as outmodedand, in retrospect, as endearingas Beatles haircuts and Vietnam-war protests. Others stubbornly persist. In any event, my career as a serious American novelist having been short-circuited, I opted for the improbable exploit of becoming a writer in French and a professional translator, and I succeeded. I am long settled in Paris; the three youngsters I brought there, tucked under my free-flying wing, are mature adults with fast-growing children of their own. We have excelled in flexibility, risen to every challenge, transformed somewhat slapdash beginnings into a harmonious whole.
What happened? The sea change began on September 28, 2000, when the domestic repercussions of Arafats prefabricated "al-Aqsa" intifada in Jerusalem struck me in a dizzying instant of recognition. I was hardly alone. Stunned and dazed, the formerly integrated, assimilated, liberated, progressive, and (in some cases) indifferent Jews of France found themselvesourselvesthrust out of the body politic and herded into a virtual ghetto. In the years since then, things have only gotten worse, much worse.
Here I stand, endowed with an intimate knowledge of French language, thought, and realityand on the threshold, perhaps, of Frances, even Europes, downfall. I know a lot about adjusting to foreign countries, feeling at home with strangers, acquiring exotic skills. I can eat with ohashi (dont ask me to call them chopsticks) like a native, I know how to take a shower with a pail of water in an African hut, I can dance . . . well, let me not string out my credentials. The question staring me in the face at the end of this three-week visit is, could I readjust to the United States, my native land? How could I get used to it, where would I put myself, who would I be if I came back home?
I never thought of myself as an expatriate; Id let my American identity slip away while retaining the free-floating grace of being a foreigner. Instead, Id been a "European," picking up after a brief interruption not exactly where my family had left offnot Budapest, not Przemysl, those were places we would not go back tobut Europe and all it could boast of. Beautiful cities that are really lived in, monuments at every street corner, savoir faire, craftsmanship, savoir vivre, boutiques, refinement, manners, health care, free education, history, French windows and parquet floors.
And . . . the Shoah? I came back to be European and, irony of ironies, Europe is showing me why my grandparents left. For a novelist and student of history, this is a fantastic experience. For a grandmother, it is agony. How can I explain to French grandchildren whose very existence is the consequence of my once flighty decision that I cannot entrust them to their native land? But how can I lead them to safety if I myself do not know how to go home?
(excerpted due to length - click on link to read the reast)
Great essay. Are there any follow-ups to the last bit (dated January 2004)?
I became curious about the author, did a Google search and came up with the following:
French Lies About Iraq
Novelist Nidra Poller delivers chilling message: No solution in sight to French anti-Semitism
So what's your problem again?
Anyone in France, Jews especially, but all native white Europeans in general, would do well to invest in machined steel, brass, lead, and guncotton.
No, she mentioned the "Shoah", the Holocaust. She knew. Klaus Barbie was well known during the 70's.
Makes it all the more interesting that she tried to stick it out in Paris anyway, for all the pleasures. Now reality is biting.
She still has a chance: repair to a part of Paris (or the country) that isn't overrun with Moslems, and wait for the French and Europeans more generally to decide that they have to fight the "soft invasion" as a matter of their own survival.
She interestingly used the word dhimmi -- the Arab word for a surrendered (and discriminated-against) non-Moslem "person of the Book" (Jew or Christian) in a formerly non-Moslem country. They are simultaneously protected and allowed to continue to practice their religion, and discriminated against in all major areas of life. Metasearch on the word, and you can find a website dedicated to exploring and exemplifying the word in modern European and international politics.
That would stop the random attacks p.d.q.
Yes, I'm aware of that. But just from what I read about violent crime in the U.K., using guns, I've got to guess they're available. Heck, Eastern Europe before '91 had to be awash in AK47s, they're out there somewhere on the black market.
Kris, I hope you make it here. Not all Americans are people of good will, of course. But it is still the land of opportunity for anyone who wants to work hard.
"Liberals remain in control of the media, which controls the masses."
I disagree. Liberal control is lessoning and the proof is in the way LIBERALS are fighting Bush's re-election. Desperate and just plain nuts is the way I view them these days.
As an American who lived in Paris from 1983-1996, I can reaffirm what this woman writes.
During my time there, I never experienced any anti-Americanism, in fact, being American was sort of an asset, allowing me entree into things. I was invited, entertained, and befriended by wonderful, gracious, hospitable people.
As a Protestant,I was regarded in that very Roman Catholic country as unusual. I never saw the discrimination written about by this writer until late in 1999.
There has been a sea change since I lived in France. It is exactly the way the writer describes it.
I never thought that in my lifetime, we would witness the re-emergence of hatred for America, Israel and Jews we all know existed in World War II France. I heard remarks uttered in "polite society" about Jews that would be totally unacceptable here and never spoken . This undercurrent of anti-semitism is now right out in the open, socially acceptable and media endorsed.
Of course, they say it isn't against all Jews, it is against Israel and the Zionists, just as they say they don't hate America or Americans, just the government of George W. Bush.
They refuse to acknowledge Islamo-fascism for what it is, and believe they are protected because they did not support the War in Iraq.
History does repeat itself, and unfortunately, those who don't learn from it are condemned to relive it.
Come see for yourself, man.
I only tell you these things because I know your government tries to play these things down in the media and make it seem like just a US problem to keep everyone calm. Soon everyone will wake up there. I just hope it is not too late. Stay safe.
Our media don't even need the government for playing down any Islam-related incident. They do this out of self-inflicted political correctness, because one cannot be a major player if one don't incense multi-culturalism.
That being said, there are 2 issues there. Is the Arab population increasing in Europe ? Yes, certainly - one just has to look at demographic figures to be convinced - and the same is true for most 1st-world countries. Is radical Islamism taking control (or already in charge) ? No, it isn't.
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