Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Camp of the Saints foreshadowing the migration crisis



 The Camp of Saints or Le Camp des Saints, by French author Jean Raspail (who is still living and is an avid traveler himself) is an apocalyptic, dystopian novel about uncontrolled Third World migration to Europe causing the downfall of Western Civilization published in 1973. It is currently a bestseller in France across a few Western countries. Written some 42 years ago, The Camp of Saints' alarmist story paints a picture of France and Europe that Raspail saw as being permanently transformed by new, diverse but different and unique cultures from the Global South ie the Third World. In this case, the new immigrants do not assimilate into mainstream French culture and society. Perhaps Raspail foresaw the current migration crisis in Mediterranean, Africa and Italy. Or perhaps he was loudly expressing his fears and anxiety of a then monoculture France and Europe (Greco-Roman culture) being transformed into a non European multiethnic region brought on by globalization, historical human migration, climate change and international economy.


Author Jean Raspail on Camp of the Saints and immigration

TV Program Ce Soir ou Jamais with English Subtitles 2011



At the time Raspail penned his novel, the world was being introduced to the free market capitalism and neoliberalism pushed by Milton Freedman, Leo Strauss, the Chicago Boys and IMF and World Bank as the cure all for failing economies and financial prosperity. It caused many people to migrate out of frustration from rural areas to cities in their home countries. Overtime, people risked life and limbs to migrate to the North. The world was changing in the early 1970s in terms of technology and economic concepts. Forty years later Raspail is witnessing what he envisioned in his novel on a growing scale. It is no longer an overwhelming thought for him. Having been interviewed by the French media throughout the years, his views haven't changed with the passing of time. Raspail's visions has became a gospel for the more conservative and anti-immigrant organizations ie PEGIDA or supporters of the Front Nationale. Both organizations' screams and fears of uncontrolled immigration to Europe has overtaken Raspail's dystopian warnings. He fears for the future as it relates to immigration in Western countries.

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