Geopolitics

Algeria’s Orwell Portends Islamic Dictatorship In 2084

Is the Islamization of Europe underway? In his dark novel "2084: The End of the World," Algerian writer Boualem Sansal explores an Islamist world dictatorship. In this extract from an interview with Die Welt

Various protests for and against refugees in Cologne, Germany
Various protests for and against refugees in Cologne, Germany
Martina Meister

PARIS â€" Sunday morning, 9 a.m. It’s raining in Paris. We meet Boualem Sansal, 66, in a small office in the central Marais neighborhood. Yesterday he was in Warsaw, tomorrow he’ll move on from here. Never, he says, has he traveled so much for any other book he has written. This one is called 2084: The End of the World, and in the tradition of George Orwell’s 1984, it describes the dictatorship of faith: Radical Islam has taken over the world, erasing all that had existed before.

DIE WELT: Mr. Sansal, your book is pretty dark. At least Orwell had a love story.

BOUALEM SANSAL: In this world of Islamism, love wouldn’t have been credible. Orwell was a Christian and Christianity is structured around love. The idea of salvation through love is omnipresent. In Islam, there’s only love for God. Women hide behind love, and love is what Islam is fighting against.

How does a Muslim read your book?

A Muslim like me, who is not religious but grew up in a Muslim country, reads it just like you and I would. The West is wrong in believing that all Muslims are Islamist extremists. Many are even more frightened of Islamic extremism than people in the West.

Ever since the attacks in Paris, the West is frightened, too.

Of course. It was just the beginning. After Charlie Hebdo, things were different; the majority could somehow explain that behavior. It had been blasphemy, after all.

The idea being that they brought it on themselves, like the girl in the short skirt who gets raped?

Yes, and that’s why the attacks in January didn’t wake people up. The Bataclan, on the other hand, was something completely different. People there were attacked for who they are, for their culture, their lifestyle. It was youth, bars, a stadium, places that are characteristic of the West. The Islamist extremists know they can’t fight the West militarily. So they need to make the West destroy itself. They are trying to fracture society because they know that if that happens, it will fall apart all by itself.

In France, there are right-wing extremist intellectuals speaking of the “grand remplacement,” the repression of Western Christian society by Islam. Where’s the difference between that and what you claim is happening?

I think the expression is not well-chosen. It’s not about replacing the society, but about fusion: France is about to Islamize.

Is our culture vanishing?

As a democrat, I regretfully see our civilization perishing.

We have sheltered a million Muslim refugees in Germany. What’s your forecast?

Germany was completely naive. And in the long run, it’s the country that is most threatened.

Why naive?

Because for a long time Germany was convinced that it was unaffected by these problems. Radical Islam, that’s France, Great Britain, but certainly not Germany. And because of what happened in World War II, the Germans have a particularly tolerant society. And that was exploited. When Islamist Algerians were exiled, they went to Germany, where they were taken in as political refugees.

What proof do you have that this war of cultures has already started, that the Islamization of German society is underway?

Germany is rich, influential, extremely well-organized. The fall of Germany is what they dream of more than anything else. One nightmare joins another. In fact, many Europeans share Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s nightmares.

Are you Islamophobic, Mr. Sansal?

Not in the sense the word is usually used. I don’t like Islam, I don’t believe in it, and I note that it represents an extreme danger. It will break up our society.

Do we lack the conviction and courage to defend our values?

Islamists fight very bravely for that they believe in. You have to admit that. When it comes to us I have to confess: We’re not driven by anything. For the notion of “freedom” we would have once gone to the end of the world, but that’s over now.

That’s not true, after Charlie Hebdo millions marched in the streets for the sake of freedom of speech.

That was nothing but a spontaneous emotional reaction. It was meaningless, except for the fact that it put the heads of state into the limelight, above all poor François Hollande, who wouldn’t harm a fly. In Algeria, we have seen what happens when people are overcome by their emotions: senseless, collective lamentation.

Do we have to take the title of your book literally? “The end of the world,” no hope?

You know, sometimes it’s the small things, an idea, a sentence, that shed light on other things. In Algeria, the words of the writer Tahar Djaout were what spread like wildfire. They made things obvious for people. He was right. His words were reassuring, eventually.

What was it?

With a humble smile, he said in an interview: “If you speak, you die. If you don’t speak, you die. So speak, and die.” A week later he was murdered.

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The Olympic torch is lit at the Archaeological site of Olympia in Greece.

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Asham!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Pyongyang test fires a suspected submarine-launched missile, Colin Powell is remembered, Poland-EU tensions rise, and yay (or yeesh): it's officially Ye. Meanwhile, our latest edition of Work → In Progress takes the pulse of the new professional demands in a recovering economy.

[*Oromo - Ethiopia and Kenya]

🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• North Korea fires missile off Japan coast: South Korea military reports that North Korea has fired a ballistic missile into the waters off the coast of Japan. The rocket, thought to have been launched from a submarine, is the latest test in a series of provocations in recent weeks.

• Poland/EU tensions: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has accused the EU of "blackmail" and said the European Union is overstepping its powers, in a heated debate with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen over the rule of law. The escalation comes in the wake of a controversial ruling by Poland's Constitutional Tribunal that puts national laws over EU principles.

• Colin Powell remembered: Tributes are pouring for former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, after his death yesterday at age 84. Although fully vaccinated, Powell died from complications from COVID-19 as he was battling blood cancer. A trailblazing soldier, he then helped shape U.S. foreign policy, as national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and served as the nation's top diplomat for George W. Bush. Powell's legacy is, by his own admission, "blotted" by his faulty claims of weapons of mass destruction to justify the U.S. war in Iraq.

• Russia to suspend NATO diplomatic mission amid tension: Russia is suspending its diplomatic mission to NATO and closing the alliance's offices in Moscow as relations with the Western military block have plunged to a new low. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the move after NATO expelled eight diplomats from Russia's mission for alleged spying. Relations between NATO and Russia have been strained since Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

• Ecuador state of emergency to battle drug crime: President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency amid Ecuador's surge in drug-related violence. He announced the mobilization of police and the military to patrol the streets, provide security, and confront drug trafficking and other crimes.

• Taliban agrees to house-to-house polio vaccine drive: The WHO and Unicef campaign will resume nationwide polio vaccinations after more than three years, as the new Taliban government agreed to support the campaign and to allow women to participate as frontline health workers. Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan are the last countries in the world with endemic polio, an incurable and infectious disease

• Kanye West officially changes name: Some say yay, some say yeesh, but it's official: The-artist-formerly-known-as-Kanye-West has legally changed his name to Ye, citing "personal reasons."

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

The Washington Post pays tribute to Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. Secretary of State, who died at 84 years old from complications from COVID-19.


💬  LEXICON

Jashn-e Riwaaz

Indian retailer Fabindia's naming its new collection Jashn-e Riwaaz, an Urdu term meaning "celebration of tradition," has been met with severe backlash and calls for boycott from right-wing Hindu groups. They are accusing the brand of false appropriation by promoting a collection of clothes designed for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, but giving it a name in Urdu, a language spoken by many Muslims.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Work → In Progress: Where have all the workers gone?

After the economic slowdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, companies all over the world are taking advantage of loosened lockdowns and progress on the vaccine front to ramp up operations and make up for lost productivity. But the frenetic spurts of the recovery are getting serious pushback. This edition of Work → In Progress looks not only at the coming changes in our post-COVID economy, but also the ways our world is re-evaluating professional obligations.

🗓️ Hail the 4-day week Across the planet, the shorter work week trend is spreading like wildfire. Four is the new five. Spain began experimenting with the concept earlier this year. New Zealand launched a similar trial run in 2020. And in Iceland, efforts to curb working hours date all the way back to 2015, with significant results: 86% of the country's workforce gained the right to reduce work hours with no change in pay.

🚚 Empty seats In the United States, meanwhile, a severe lack of truck drivers has the country's transportation industry looking to hire from abroad. The only problem is … the shortage is happening worldwide, in part because of the e-commerce boom in the wake of worldwide quarantines. The Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano reports that companies will be scrambling to fill the jobs of 17,000 truck drivers in the next two years. The article blames low wages and the dangerous nature of the job, stating that Italian companies are making moves to employ foreign workers.

💼 Key help wanted It's all well and good to question current working conditions. But what about 20 years from now? Will we be working at all? A recent article in the French daily Les Echos posed just that question, and posits that by 2041 — and with the exception of a few select jobs — automation and digitalization will decimate employment. The piece refers to the lucky few as "essential workers," a concept that originated with COVID lockdowns when almost all labor halted and only a minority of workers capable of performing society's most crucial in-person tasks were allowed to carry on.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

I'm worried for my Afghan sisters.

— Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai Nobel Prize tells the BBC that despite the Taliban's announcement that they would soon lift the ban on girls' education in Afghanistan, she worries it "might last for years."

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Are you more yay or yeesh about the artist currently known as Ye? Let us know how the news look in your corner of the world — drop us a note at info@worldcrunch.com!

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