Accompanied by far-left militants (including an elected MP), a mob of illegal migrants beloved by Pope Francis and the EU establishment yesterday occupied the Basilica of Saint-Denis, the burial place of French kings, in a protest against a proposed law that migrants fear would make it easier for the government to expel them.

Here’s video of the cops throwing the occupiers out:

Notice how in the video, none of the migrants seem to be Arabic or Asian, fleeing war in Syria or Afghanistan. They all appear to be African.

In its report on the reaction to the event, Le Figaro says that the National Front politicians condemned it, which is to be expected. What surprises is that the more moderate conservatives joined the National Front. The leftists and the illegals seem to be hardening the response of the French.

Here is a remark on Twitter by the elected far-left MP who joined the group in its occupation of the basilica:

The French reads: “And to end on a charitable note, I will cite Pope Francis to all the fascists and racists of service: ‘All immigrants who show up at our door are an occasion to meet Jesus Christ, who identifies himself with strangers from any era, welcomed or rejected.'”

It becomes clearer know why every single Catholic I met in Hungary and the Czech Republic who brought up the migration issue were at the very least utterly mystified by the attitude of Pope Francis. One Hungarian Catholic said, with real anger in his voice, “I will never understand why the Holy Father expects us to surrender our country.”

Raspail, in his violent, racist 1973 novel “The Camp of the Saints,” saw it all coming. Three years ago, I read the novel after seeing it cited in reports about the migrant invasion that year of Europe. At the time, I wrote:

Accepting Third World migrants as an act of redemption. That is one of the main themes of Jean Raspail’s 1973 novel The Camp of the Saints, which I finished reading this weekend. It was a relief to reach the end of it. There is only one other book I can recall having finished, and having hated, but still being glad I read it, because I learned something from it: Sayyid Qutb’s condensed Islamist manifesto, Milestones.

The Camp of the Saints is a bad book, both aesthetically and morally. I was ambivalent about its moral status in the early parts of the book. I thought Raspail expressed himself more crudely than I would have done, but his cultural diagnosis struck me as having more merit than I anticipated, given the book’s notorious reputation. In the novel, a million-man armada of the wretched of the earth decide to sail to Europe from India, more or less daring the West to stop their migration. Most of the narrative focuses on how France prepares itself for the invasion.


Even a bad book may have something valuable to say to us. This is true of The Camp of the Saints. One aspect of the novel that I can’t shake off, though, is Raspail’s portrait of the migrants as not giving a damn about European civilization. It’s nothing personal; rather, they don’t believe they are coming to Europe as beggars who ought to be grateful for charity, but move as a mass that believes it is entitled to what the Europeans have. Europeans, by contrast, are, in the book, the ones who agonize over their civilization, whether it is worth defending, and what it means to be truly Western. The leaders in Camp of the Saints are not consciously surrendering, but rather they mask their cultural surrender with humanitarianism. They think that by flinging their doors open to the Third World masses, they are being good Westerners.

This is why the real villains in Raspail’s novel aren’t the migrants, but the European elites. He believes, it appears, that the Europeans ought to do whatever it takes to defend their civilization from the barbarian invasion. Raspail denounces contemporary France, though, as an exhausted civilization that is eager to be relieved of its burdens. To borrow a line from Cavafy, “those people, the barbarians, were a kind of solution.”


To conclude, what are the good lessons from this bad book, The Camp of the Saints? I’m not sure there are “lessons” to be learned as much as the extremely dark novel gives one a more skeptical eye towards humanitarian pronouncements about migrants from European leaders, including church leaders. In the book, the militant pro-migrant humanitarianism of the elites and the masses that follow them do not reflect moral strength, but actually exemplify moral exhaustion. Camp is a dystopian fantasy, certainly, but the core questions it poses regarding what European civilization is, what Christian civilization is, and the lengths to which Europeans ought to be prepared to go to defend what they have, are important ones, even if Raspail answers them in a way that provokes disgust, and that Christians, at least, will find unacceptable.

Read the whole thing. 

For these migrants, accompanied by French far leftists, to have invaded and occupied the basilica where French kings are buried — a basilica, by the way, that is today surrounded by a high-crime Muslim ghetto — is a supremely symbolic provocation. Now, how will the government respond? How will the French people respond?

As with Raspail’s novel, and as with Houellebecq’s (very different, but similar) novel Submission, the ones to watch are not the strangers who make provocations, but the French establishmentarians.