We will bury you
Callimachus writes here about Oriana Fallaci's new book, which deals in part with the question of whether a certain segment of the Arab/Moslem world is trying to overwhelm the West, both demographically and otherwise. He offers some quotes to that effect from Fallaci's writings, taken from a book review by Brendan Bernhard's in LA Weekly.
The first quote is from a 1972 interview (in her heyday, Fallaci was renowned for her pull-no-punches style of questioning) with Palestinian terrorist George Habash, who declared that the goal was to:
...wage war “against Europe and America” and to ensure that henceforth “there would be no peace for the West.” The Arabs, he informed her, would “advance step by step. Millimeter by millimeter. Year after year. Decade after decade. Determined, stubborn, patient. This is our strategy. A strategy that we shall expand throughout the whole planet.”
At the time, Fallaci thought he was referring simply to terrorism. Only later--much later--did she understand that:
...he “also meant the cultural war, the demographic war, the religious war waged by stealing a country from its citizens … In short, the war waged through immigration, fertility, presumed pluriculturalism.”
Cold wars, terrorism wars, demographic wars. As far as the latter goes, Bernhard (and Callimachus) offers an explicit declaration, this time from Algerian President Boumedienne way back in 1974:
One day millions of men will leave the southern hemisphere of this planet to burst into the northern one. But not as friends. Because they will burst in to conquer, and they will conquer by populating it with their children. Victory will come to us from the wombs of our women.
You can't say the West wasn't warned. But warnings often only seem important in retrospect. It was the sort of thing few were paying attention to at the time, "typical hyperbole." Bombast. And perhaps it was, at that.
At least back then the threats were peaceful and reproductive in nature. More recently they took on a more chilling (or rather, a decidedly "hot") tone--witness this Haaretz article (via Little Green Footballs) that quotes Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran telling former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar at a meeting in 2001 that "Iran must declare war on Israel and the United States until they are completely destroyed," and that "setting Israel on fire" was the first order of the day.
Unless Khamenei is a man especially given to metaphor, it seems we must take his intent seriously. The Haaretz article concludes with the words, "Khamenei still holds the post of Iranian spiritual leader, and [is] considered to be the powerful man in the country."
There's that "spiritual leader" phrase again, one which actually deserves the much-abused designation "Orwellian." I've written about "spiritual leaders" before, here, in a post entitled "Yeah, and Goebbels was the 'spiritual leader' of the Nazis, too."
What I wrote then still applies, to Khamenei in this case:
...how are people such as Abu Bakar Bashir, a cleric who most agree is the one who inspires and guides the murderers of Jemaah Islamiyah "spiritual" (unless, of course, the spirit of evil and hatred counts)? Is it because he hides behind the role of cleric? Well, the mere title "cleric" does not a spiritual leader make. It's a perversion of the word and the concept "spiritual"...
These "spiritual" guys must never have heard of Teddy Roosevelt, who famously counseled "speak softly and carry a big stick" (a bit of trivia here: it turns out that Teddy was actually quoting a West African proverb. But I digress).
The extremely spiritual Iranian ayatollah may not speak softly, but he seems determined to obtain the biggest stick of all, and he's not all that shy about saying what he plans to do with it. Whether he will accomplish either goal remains to be seen.
This all puts me in mind of a very different leader (who was quite unspiritual, unless you count Communism as a religion): Nikita Khrushchev, whose terrifying words, spoken in 1956 to Western ambassadors at a Moscow reception, haunted my childhood, "We will bury you."
What did Khrushchev mean? Some thought he meant an ideological victory in the cold war (although that victory was not thought to be primarily demographic). Some feared a hot war such as Khamenei appears to be promising. The preponderance of evidence seems to be that Khrushchev meant the former, although there's no doubt he had a plethora of big sticks available for the latter:
The translation has been controversial by being presented as belligerent out of context. The phrase may well have been intended to suggest "we will outlast you" as a more complete version of the quote reads: "Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you" - a meaning more akin to "we will attend your funeral" than "we shall cause your funeral".
Those big sticks were never used, and the long war between the USSR and the USA remained cold, although it provided kindling for large and heated brushfires in many parts of the world. And history has dictated that the seemingly final burial (in the ideological sense) went in the other direction.. But history has yet to be written on the final outcome of the threats--cold and/or hot--of those others.
[HISTORICAL SIDELIGHT: Khrushchev was frightening in my youth, but little did I know at the time what a big improvement he was over his predecessor, Stalin. Nor was I aware how relatively rational he would seem compared to the current crop of Islamic supremacists.
Khrushchev himself often appeared to be somewhat of a loose cannon and a buffoon, a reputation he may have purposely manipulated and played on; witness the famous shoe-banging incident of 1960, which didn't frighten me but certainly puzzled me at the time:
The shoe sits in front of Khrushchev, behind the shoulder of the man looking with a mixture of hope and resignation at his watch. What was the shoe incident about?
Well, according to his granddaughter Nina Khrushchev, it was an act of humorous theater in which Khrushchev purposely played the fool in order to make a point. And, who knows? She might even be correct (although I'm not sure. At any rate, I can't quite imagine the Ayatollah doing the same, although Saddam may give it a go at his trial).
Here's her version, for what it's worth :
The head of the Philippine delegation, Senator Lorenzo Sumulong, expressed his surprise at the Soviet Union's concerns over western imperialism, while it, in turn, swallowed the whole of eastern Europe. Khrushchev's rage was beyond anything he had ever shown before. He called the poor Filipino "a jerk, a stooge and a lackey of imperialism", then he put his shoe on the desk and banged it....
According to Khrushchev, there was abundant evidence that western powers had mistreated and mistrusted the Soviet Union...Dismissing him as a worthy opponent, capitalists thought of Khrushchev as a vaudeville character. Very well then, he would become one. He needed the UN stage to make an important statement: it is better to take the socialist world seriously. He wanted to be heard. But next to the noble Macmillan, smart Eisenhower, refined De Gaulle and wise Nehru, the short Nikita Khrushchev couldn't help looking a wag.
Instead of trying to act and speak according to traditional diplomacy, he broke the ritual and created his own manner. The manner, which suited his goal, was to be different from the hypocrites of the west, with their appropriate words but calculated deeds. He would do it the other way - say more than he meant. A tragi-comic act of shoe banging was intended to separate two superpowers not only in terms of their politics, but also in their diplomatic methods.]