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‘Rivers Of Blood’ In Berlin

Echoes of Enoch Powell's speech in the Christmas market massacre

The view of a British tourist present at the Berlin Christmas market yesterday:

Tourists saw a young child being crushed underneath the hijacked truck which ploughed through a Berlin Christmas market last night, killing 12 and wounding around 50.
Mike Fox and his partner were a ‘few metres’ from being run down by the lorry driven by a Pakistani asylum seeker Naved B, 23, who has only been in the country a few months.

‘There were children in the market. My girlfriend saw a child under the truck,’ Mr Fox said shortly after the attack near the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz.

Witnesses saw bodies strewn across the a backdrop of colourful market stalls and Christmas lights as ‘rivers of blood’ flowed from the scene of the attack, which has again sent shockwaves of fear throughout Europe.

More, this from an American witness:

Mr Theis and his girlfriend Lara Colombo, 22, were on their way to the besieged market when they heard sirens and saw people running frantically from the scene.

He said: ‘It was carnage everywhere. There was blood all over the floor. There were people lying on the floor.
‘Nobody was really helping anybody. People were running. It was like every man for themselves. It was dusty and chaotic.

‘The biggest mental image I have is there were two rivers of blood going down the floor.

Rivers of blood, eh? The reader who sent me that link says she was reminded of Tory MP Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 “Rivers of Blood” speech warning Britain against mass immigration. The speech caused a huge outrage, but also drew lots of support. You can see why if you read the full text of it. Here’s how it opens:

The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils. In seeking to do so, it encounters obstacles which are deeply rooted in human nature.

One is that by the very order of things such evils are not demonstrable until they have occurred: at each stage in their onset there is room for doubt and for dispute whether they be real or imaginary. By the same token, they attract little attention in comparison with current troubles, which are both indisputable and pressing: whence the besetting temptation of all politics to concern itself with the immediate present at the expense of the future.

Above all, people are disposed to mistake predicting troubles for causing troubles and even for desiring troubles: “If only,” they love to think, “if only people wouldn’t talk about it, it probably wouldn’t happen.”

Perhaps this habit goes back to the primitive belief that the word and the thing, the name and the object, are identical.

At all events, the discussion of future grave but, with effort now, avoidable evils is the most unpopular and at the same time the most necessary occupation for the politician. Those who knowingly shirk it deserve, and not infrequently receive, the curses of those who come after.

Powell’s speech, which I’d never read in full until today, reminds me of Jean Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints, which I wrote about here. Raspail’s book came out in 1973, and was roundly denounced as racist. It is a fictional tale of how France reacts when it becomes known that millions of Third World migrants are headed toward its shores. The novel excoriates French governmental, academic, media, and religious elites for collapsing in the face of the crisis. The book is undeniably racist in parts, just as Powell’s speech is. But the racist material makes it far too easy for those who don’t want to take the main message seriously to dismiss the warnings as bigoted dystopian fantasy.




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