Features

Why I’ve joined Lebanon’s exodus

Escaping the shadow of the Islamic State to a changed country

1 November 2014

9:00 AM

1 November 2014

9:00 AM

In early autumn I was on a train travelling from London to Brighton, on the final leg of a journey that began earlier that day in Beirut, and which was taking me back to live in Britain for the first time in 22 years. It was late Friday afternoon and the man opposite me was droning into his mobile phone. He had not drawn breath since he joined at Clapham Junction except to take a swig from one of three bottles of Black Sheep beer he had lined up on the table. Friday night clearly couldn’t start soon enough.

Back then, the Islamic State had just begun to pick at the edges of Lebanon. A force of 6,000 fighters from IS and the Nusra Front were scrapping with units of the Lebanese army in and around the Bekaa Valley border town of Arsal. Five days later, 19 Lebanese soldiers, 16 civilians and over 50 jihadists were dead. The end-of-days shadow cast by IS across Iraq and Syria had begun to lengthen and creep over Lebanon. But invasion was not our only worry. There are now 1.5 million Syrian refugees — 1.5 million extra Sunnis — taking up residence across the country, upsetting Lebanon’s finely calibrated religious balance. Even without an IS invasion, it is hard to see how my country can survive.

The influx of Syrian Sunnis mean that tensions between the country’s two Muslim communities are at their most acute. Lebanon’s Shia blame Sunnis for ‘inviting’ IS fighters into the country, while the Sunnis are angry about Hezbollah’s dominance (mainly at gunpoint) of Lebanese politics over the past decade. Over the past few years Hezbollah’s influence within the army has grown. It has battled Syrian rebels on behalf of the Assad regime, and now that Assad is no longer the great bugbear of the West, it has lost its pariah status and gained legitimacy. Meanwhile, the influential, but dwindling, Christian community in Lebanon is terrified by reports of crucifixions and beheadings elsewhere in the Levant. No wonder many of us are folding our tents and moving out.

‘You are making the right move in getting your family out of here,’ a Christian banker told me over lunch in Beirut last month. ‘I wish I could do the same, but my wife loves it here. She won’t move.’


Though many of us are leaving, a serious chunk of Lebanon’s bourgeoisie, the perennially optimistic merchant class, is in denial in much the same way it was before the civil war in the 1970s. I remember, in 1975, my late father assuring me Lebanon was solid even as it was crumbling. ‘The world won’t let anything happen to us. Look at the Lebanese lira. It’s practically a hard currency!’

It was, but we still went under. And Lebanon was in a much better place then than it is today. It had the best hotels, schools, hospitals, banks and aviation in the region. Its engineers built the Gulf. But even so, Yasser Arafat’s PLO drove a wedge between Lebanon’s Sunni and Christian communities over the right to fight Israel from Lebanese soil, and plunged the country into 15 years of civil war.

As my train reached East Croydon that autumn day, my first day back in Britain, the man opposite was well into his second bottle and there was no let up in the commentary. His world was one of ‘start-ups’ and ‘smart solutions’. His boss was a ‘total cunt’, and he couldn’t wait to ‘fuck off out of it’ and make ‘north of £800, maybe even a grand a day, as a consultant’. The only fly in this potentially bountiful ointment was that he couldn’t resign just yet, because he still needed to avail himself of all the advantages currently afforded him by the company he despised so much. He would, he admitted, ‘stick it out for a bit’. A young Syrian couple sitting across the aisle, by contrast, exuded dignity and manners.

In some ways, it’s hard to be in Britain. For 22 great years, Lebanon made a decent fist of regaining its fabled pre-civil war glamour, and by 2010 Beirut was full of energy, bling, optimism and telegenic doe-eyed beauties. Everyone remembered the horror of the civil war, no one grumbled.

Back here, everywhere grumbles — every-one seems so offended all the time. So what if the owner of a Lebanese restaurant in Harrow wants to hang a giant photo of Saddam Hussein in his window? Does it really mean we have lost our sense of humanity if we put ‘studs’ in doorways to deter dossers? There’s a sense of entitlement that I don’t remember from my previous life here. Every house must have a flat-screen TV, a Sky box, and a PlayStation; we should all take a holiday abroad, and be able to take our kids out of school. The notion that ‘if you can’t afford it, you can’t have it’ has all but vanished.

But while I still have some perspective, let me tell you how terrific it feels to once again live in a country that is — don’t laugh — powerful, wealthy and governed by the rule of law. It is a joy to access free education and health care; plentiful and safe water, 24-hour electricity, good roads, public transport, an effective police force (again, don’t laugh!) and accountable public servants.

It is also — despite the rise of Ukip, anxiety over radical Islam and unbridled harrumphing at the inflow of work-hungry eastern Europeans — a more culturally diverse and racially tolerant country than it was when I left in the early 1990s. As the lunatics of IS begin to fight in northern Lebanon, as our country once again sinks into bloodshed, I’m grateful to be in Britain, still a remarkable and unique country.

When the train pulled up in Brighton station, the bore of the year was still swearing away. An elderly lady had had enough of his embarrassing language and moved to another carriage, but the young Syrian couple stayed put, although their discomfort was palpable. They had experienced much worse in their lives. A few louts are a small price to pay for the peace and prosperity of Britain.

Michael Karam is a journalist and wine writer. He is a former features editor of the Beirut Daily Star, and the author of Wines of Lebanon.

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Show comments
  • Sir Thomas

    Give me back 1990’s Britain. It was a thousand times better than the “new open toler . . . ba bla bla” third world shit hole we’re all so proud of today.

  • Damaris Tighe

    Michael, it’s funny you should mention your train experience as almost exactly the same happened to me. I’d been living abroad for a few years & returning for a visit was on, yes, the train to Brighton. Opposite me were two professionals, not chavs or yobs. Swigging from their cans they proceeded to swear while talking business for the whole journey.

    I know that women can no longer expect to be treated differently from men, but it was still an unpleasant experience & I was depressed to see how far uncouth ‘underclass’ culture has filtered up to the middle classes.

    • Mark B

      If you did a little research, I think you will find that, when it comes being uncouth, the Upper Classes have been doing it far longer. Only, They seem to think that they have a God given right to be like that.

      Google, Burlington Club for starters.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Sure, it was the middle classes who were known for their boring ‘bourgeois’ mores.

  • Richard

    No point in coming to Britain to escape Islamists. They are here, and growing in number, and soon we will be like Lebanon. The trouble lies in the “tolerance” of which you speak. We in Britain are like an organism allowing a virus or a disease to run rampage through its body. Britain in the 1990s had a greater idea of what it was and what it stood for, which meant rejecting foreign, Third-World ways of life. That British identity is now gone, and it is only a matter of time before we end up like Nigeria, or Pakistan, or countries like that. We are weak-minded, and have destroyed ourselves. It is nothing about which to be congratulated.

    • WirralBill

      “They are here, and growing in number, and soon we will be like Lebanon”

      Like Lebanon, governments across the world will soon seek to interfere in our internal affairs, justifying it on the grounds that they need to “protect” their various countrymen, making matters many times worse: Islamic/ist governments on behalf of muslims, Pakistan on behalf of Pakistanis seeking to establish breakaway states, Russia on behalf of Russians in London, the EU on behalf of anyone else from Europe, and so on.

      When there’s trouble, just wait and see which leaders around the world express an opinion. Arms will find their way to various factions. Then, there will be motions at the UN, peace-keeping troops that won’t keep the peace, but will provide a target – necessitating more interference, arming of factions all the way down the plughole.

      Labour, of course, will blame the “indigenous” people, ‘kippers and Conservatives for their lack of “tolerance” for causing it all in the first place… You can almost write the script.

      • Terra Viva

        I have a great advice to y’all. Blame us, the Jews and Israel. This has a long history. It always worked, it will make you feel good about yourselves even if you don’t, and you’ll feel you are a part of a great unified single-minded crowd. It will re-create your identity. Also it is cheap and easy to apply. Doesn’t require any effort and does not require the difficult task of standing up to facts or truths. Support the enemies that want to destroy us, give us sanctions, ban our academia, ban our beautiful dates and oranges, make sure English Jews are scared and want to leave while Muslims fill up your country. Go for it, go for it, go for it!!!! Hallelujah!

        • Richard

          Not sure what you mean by this.

        • Suzy61

          There are a great many supporters of Israel here. See if you can find the comments during the last conflict. You may be heartened by what you read.

        • global city

          You need to get out ,more, you are obviously living inside some horrifically small bubble of hate….probably within academe or the Leftist movement?

          Most normal Brits are fine about Jews….a MAJOR reason why the BDS movement is a calamitous failure.

          • Terra Viva

            This is nice to hear. I hope you are right.

          • global city

            I am. Jew baiting is very much a minority sport.

    • Fenton!

      UKIP, Richard, and a strong faith that democracy works….

  • Fenman

    The problem Richard is that the metro liberal left have captured the word ‘tolerance’ in the same way they captured the word ‘gay’ and changed their meaning. Their definitions means treating all religions as morally equal, and all as inferior to the liberal poltically correct ideology which constantly self-righteously denies hard facts and personally attacks those stating them, such as Boles and Fallon this week, straight out of Orwell and Huxley. The hypocritical Downing St again showed its true colours by forcing both men to climb down which sadly they did. If you go to the Fens and observe towns like Wisbech, Boston, Spalding and Peterborough you will see the word ‘swamped’ is an accurate description, where primary schools are over-loaded , town centres full of drunken East Europeans on the weekend evenings and GP surgeries full and lists closed.
    On a recent visit all my old pals, no matter what their political party or their social demographics felt the towns had been ruined by excessive immigration and political correctness imposed by an out of touch pc liberal elite.

    • GenJackRipper

      But the strange is thing that Mr. Karam isn’t isolated in Chelsea; he just escaped from Lebanon.
      He seems incapable of putting 2 and 2 together.

  • GenJackRipper

    “It is also — despite the rise of Ukip, anxiety over radical Islam and
    unbridled harrumphing at the inflow of work-hungry eastern Europeans — a
    more culturally diverse and racially tolerant country than it was when I
    left in the early 1990s.”

    What?
    You escape Lebanon because of troubles caused by immigration… yet you laud Britain for meing multicultural and have a negative view of UKIP trying to prevent Britain from enduring what Lebanon endured?

    Are you slow in the brain? Can you not find similarities?

    • Pilgrim786

      He is a dishonest man. Likes a Britain with fewer Britons, and fails to make the obvious connection between degradation temporal and spiritual and that decline.

      • Richard

        That is the definition of a Leftist. Never let facts interfere with your ideology.

    • Guest

      ‘are you slow in the brain’

      some Lebanese Christians I have met are strange: they realise that Muslims have destroyed their country, yet for some reason they hate Israelis/Jews so much, that they can barely contain themselves.

      it’s like anti-semitic stockholm syndrome

  • mohdanga

    No mention in the article of ‘enriching’ Pakistanis in Tower Hamlets forcing out the indigenous white, English population. Oh well, don’t upset the narrative of a ‘new, more tolerant Britain….’
    And why should countries be culturally diverse? I would find it odd if I went to India to indulge/immerse in Indian culture and found that when I landed that half of Delhi was populated by Chinese and white English who had set up like they were back in the homeland. But this doesn’t appear to register as being a problem in the great multicultural West.

    • Pilgrim786

      Can they please come back?
      White English, I mean.

    • Richard

      Other countries are not as self-hating.

  • Mark B

    That lout, as you called him, whether you, the old lady, or those Syrians like it or not, is part of a people and a nation that, build everything you so admire. And that includes, as you put it, all the FREE STUFF ! Only it is not FREE, but FREE at the point of service and, that lout, if he ever makes it as a consultant, will be paying tax on the 800 quid per day. Tax, that, will pay for all that FREE stuff you so much like.

    Parasite !

  • John Croston

    In my opinion, the Lebanon should actually be secured as a homeland for the Christians of the Middle East. They were still the majority there until the Sixties.

    • Richard

      The West will penalise the Christians in the name of something trendy and PC. Why fight for something that is doomed?

  • cestusdei

    Think about it. Lebanon prospered until…wait for it…an influx of…Muslims. How many are in the UK right now and how many more are coming? Now connect the dots.

  • Suzy61

    It seems that you believe mass-immigration, on such a scale as to alter a country’s religious balance, is a tragedy. Although not quite as sad as the Brits who whinge about it happening to them.

    Likewise, in a recent war in which many young British men lost their lives against the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, you think it perfectly acceptable that some goon should want to display his image in a restaurant window? Did you lose a loved one in the Iraq war? Are Brits not entitled to be offended by this?

    Seems not. Just the whinging Brits…at it again.

    You say Britain is a remarkable and unique country, but the people who make it so are beer-slugging, boastful, idiots while the immigrants are all dignified and well-mannered. No example of a any well-mannered, dignified Brit in anything you have to say?

    You say that you like being back in a powerful, wealthy democracy? You like the free education, health-care, safe water, electricity, good roads, public transport, police force and accountable public servants.But, you can barely conceal your contempt for the British people who facilitate all these ‘freebies’. They are all akin to the goon sitting across you on the train?

    Take yourself back to live in Lebanon. British people neither want nor need your back-handed compliments. Go back to Lebanon and enjoy the freebies you get there – and try to tell THEM that immigration is a good thing and they should not complain.

    By the way, all countries suffer from the ‘idiot on the train’ in one guise or another.Only a fool would judge him as representative of a whole nation.

    • Peter Stroud

      I could not have put it better myself. Mr Karam is obviously a taker, not a giver.

    • GenJackRipper

      Very well put. Mr Karam is sadly a typical example of upper-class snobbish middle easterners. You see this quite often around the western world. Snobbish lebanese/persians acting as if they are so far above everyone ells and snark at people beeing concerned about the influx of culture… the same culture these lebanese/persians fleed from.

      Jews can have this behaviour aswell, but they usually hide it better.

      • Laguna Beach Fogey

        Well said. Around here we have a mix of Persian, Arab, and Chinese expats who add little to the community.

        • Pilgrim786

          Good day, sir! nice to run into you here.

      • Richard

        Jews are not recent, intolerant, arrivals from the Middle East. Considering their number of Nobel Prize winners, composers, scientists, etc., they certainly have good reason for holding their heads up high. To compare them with these Muslims is disingenuous. Take a look at Jewish contributions to Western civilisation sometime.

        • Malus Pudor

          Usually only when they have bee exported !

          • Richard

            Not sure I understand?

        • Paddy Kilshamus

          There is a very strong case to be made that the Jewish contribution has had a negative effect overall. Western civilisation thrived during the periods when the Jews were held at bay. That narrative is considered anti-Semitic but it is worth hearing. I know you will probably reject the idea but there is a long-running antagonistic relationship between Christians (Western Civilisation) and Jews which seems to be more than a religious dispute. I am at a loss to know what it is, other than to think it is some instinctive opposition. It seems today the West wishes to efface the conflict and the Jews wish to pathologise their opponents stance. Perhaps you could shed light on this?

          • Fenton!

            There is no case to be made at all. You’re living in a sad fantasy of your own making. Snap out of it.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            It is just another narrative, Albeit a very marginalised one today. Who writes the story and what is their involvement? These are important issues to consider. Western literature is permeated by this theme. Are we to suppose that Chaucer, Dante, Shakespeare, Dickens and Dostoevsky were all living in a sad fantasy of their own?

          • sarah_13

            No sir, you are reading in their writing what you want to hear, projecting your own “marginalised narrative”.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            No it is there. It is marginalised today but it is there. If you read this entire discussion you will see an example of civilised debate, where people engage with each others ideas and resist the temptation to shout down or insult or denigrate the opposing opinion. It is very instructive, I certainly gained a lot from it. I hope you can too.

          • sarah_13

            Yes a very civilised debate i’m sure. Pathalogical jew hatred insinuated by reference to a “marginalised narrative”. Very civilised indeed.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            The discussion is over now.

          • Richard

            Jews are not a monolithic group, and come in all shades of political opinion. Ethnically, they range from Ashkenazi, who have a very large admixture of European, to Ethiopian, who are almost exclusively sub-Saharan African. Many people are of Jewish extraction, though not practising. Culturally and scientifically, they range from Western (think Mendelssohn, Heine, Gerald Finzi, Einstein, Herschel, et al.) to Arab (though some time ago), to African. I am a believer in genetic determinism, to a large extent (as far as one can speak about “believing” in a scientific reality) and so understand that there are differences in outlook, sentiment and disposition, shaped by different evolutionary circumstances that much outweigh the patina of culture.

            In my opinion, neither Brahms nor Wagner could have been Jewish (Judaism does not really transcend in that manner) but I think Schubert might have been. What I think I mean is that cultural European Judaism represents a strand of European-ness that is to be found among others who are not Jewish, too, unlike overtly foreign elements such as Islam or African, which are definite imports and impositions.

            Judaism is very practical and of the here-and-now, whereas Christianity tends to chase after heaven. There is a tension in this, undoubtedly, but it is mitigated by the ethnic relatedness of European Jews to non-Jewish Europeans. Bear in mind, also, that in Israel, European Jews and Sephardic Jews and Ethiopian Jews and Yemenite Jews form fairly separate communities, driven by different impulses. Ashkenazi Jews I have met from Israel welcome the arrival of Russian Jews whom they say bring European culture (which they share) rather than the culture of their African or Arab co-religionists. That many Russian immigrants are not strictly “Jewish” does not bother them.

            The situation has been much complicated by obvious historical precedent, which has tended to hive Jews off from the mainstream in Europe. However, I think that as Europeans decrease in relative number, and their countries are increasingly populated by desperate non-European refugees, the finer distinctions we draw between one another will diminish. An example is to be found in minority ethnic Indian communities in South Africa: Muslims of all shades get on together, and Hindus and Muslims too. They share more in common than that which divides them.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            Thank you. I think you may have have put your finger on the problem when you wrote ‘Judaism is very practical and of the here-and-now, whereas Christianity tends to chase after heaven’. I think that is at the heart of this antagonism. Situational ethics is not a European characteristic, they have always preferred dogma and absolutes which inform the structures of Cathedrals and Symphonies and the social hierarchies. The longing for transcendence is always at odds with practical reality. Real politik is another cynical example which Kissinger advocated as opposed to idealistic crusades. This is the conflict I sense. One group advocating realistic adaptation and another group sensing that such adaptation is merely another word for disintegration.

          • Richard

            I wonder: do you think the “live and let live” ethos of Judaism is a consequence of having been marginalised and bereft of anything other than attitude (as manifested in intellectual pursuit, among others) for so long? Christianity has held sway over the political domain for centuries, and so is uneasy with this notion of non-judgement it has suddenly so enthusiastically adopted? I am wondering whether that will cause Christians to become slaves or Muslim converts in the new disposition the Left has created (in the absence of hegemony, I mean)? What complexity the impetus to culture creates in humanity!

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            I see your point but I don’t think Islam has enough intellectual or theological substance to replace Christianity and most Westerners find it repulsive in too many ways to ever accept it willingly. The Left are indeed traitors but are they not pushing the Judaic ‘live and let live’ ethos in advocating multicultural co-existence? So again we return to the disintegrating effect of this strand of non-European thought.

          • Richard

            It may be so, but of course if you go back to earliest times of Christianity, you will see this notion most emphatically uttered. Later, the idea that we should create a heaven-on-earth is one of the most powerful to come out of the Enlightenment. Previously it was understood that this realm in which we live is imperfect, and perfection is only to be achieved in the afterlife, if we are lucky. However, the idea that we are all God’s creatures, and equal in Christ, has been interpolated into our earthly lives. I think the realities of getting along in this new dispensation may be from the Judaic strand, but the creation of the reality of it was decidedly non-Judaic. The influence of Judaism on Europe when the Enlightenment was gaining grounds was marginal. When I lived in South Africa, the most extreme advocate of absolute equality was the Anglican Church. They refused even to acknowledge difference in temperament or anything at all. I think the Jews have simply adapted to whatever their circumstances have become.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            That interpretation of equality has certainly had some dire consequences.

          • Richard

            The weak lead the strong, the takers, the givers, the stupid, the intelligent. Equality of outcome is paramount, the process of achievement debased.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            Yes it is a strange marriage between utopian ideas, religious and scientific. Giving birth to unnatural developments.

          • Damaris Tighe

            If there is a ‘live & let live’ strand in Jewish thinking, it is surely a response to persecution & Jews shouldn’t be blamed for their ideological defence. It’s blaming the victim, isn’t it?

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            I am not blaming the victim, but that idea has been used as a weapon against a stable society.

          • Damaris Tighe

            I think Richard’s reply to your post was a good one, but I want to add that there’s nothing inevitable about these cultural differences, because they stem from ideas not genetics. Therefore it’s completely possible for someone of Jewish descent to transcend the here & now, just as it’s possible (but not easy) for someone of muslim heritage – if they so choose – to become completely western in attitude.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            I am undecided on the genetic issue, It seems to lead to a crude materialistic view of humanity. Then again it may be a significant element in the culture. Society as a racial construct against the Leftist dogma of race as a social construct.

          • Richard

            Some dogs bite more than others whatever their circumstances, others like to herd sheep. That is not to say they aren’t all dogs, they are just different types of dog. Cheese can be sharp or mild, sweet or savoury, but it is all cheese. The idea that race is not real is an absurd Leftist concept, which it negates all the time in its own policies.

          • Richard

            I think some of the differences are genetic, as you would expect from groups breeding in relative isolation for centuries. My point is that there is so much common genetic material, though, that some of the differences are simply cultural, like wearing a coat in the cold, rather than growing hair. As you stray further afield, the differences become increasingly genetic. There is no way Brahms’s music could be Jewish, but there is some chance Mendelssohn’s might be. People make their cultures, which is why they are so different one from the other.

          • Damaris Tighe

            I’m at a disadvantage here as I know neither Brahms or Mendelssohn. But are you saying that a Jew could not enjoy Wagner?

          • Richard

            A Jew could certainly enjoy Wagner, but not create that sort of music. Wagner is very transcendent, which I don’t believe Judaism is. They represent different aspects of European culture and mindset.

          • Damaris Tighe

            There are certainly many Israelis who like Wagner, but when there was a performance in Tel Aviv a few years ago there were objections – for obvious reasons.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            Wasn’t it Hitler who said ‘ You cannot understand National Socialism without understanding Wagner?’

          • Damaris Tighe

            I wouldn’t be surprised. Hitler certainly loved Wagner & saw a connection between the composer’s work & national socialist ideology – the blut und boden. That’s why some Israelis, particularly survivors, couldn’t bear to have Wagner performed on Israeli soil. But when it was at last performed there plenty of Israelis were delighted.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            It’s ironic that the blut and boden is precisely the ideology invoked by israelis in the process of possessing that land.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Blut und boden in the hands of the national socialists was a supremicist ideology. With Israelis it was simply a matter of national self-determination in what they considered their ancestral land. When Ukip supporters talk about their attachment to England or Britain it’s much the same thing. Nothing wrong with it as long as it’s not used as a launchpad for imperialism & an excuse for oppressing minorities.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            I agree. I am not an Israel basher. My gripe is with the ideological poison that has been injected into the West. When I trace the source I invariably end up with the unpleasant fact that Jewish voices are the most strident and often the instigators in this chorus of progressive developments which I see as a disenfranchisement of the host nations. A situation they would find intolerable in Israel and rightly so. The double standards and outright hypocrisy is what I object to.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Where you’re going wrong is treating Jews as a homogenous group. Remember what Richard said in another post? The Jewish intellectuals who spout the ideological poison are also the ones most likely to bash Israel for the same reason.

            I’ve just had a short convo on another thread with an Israeli defending national self-determination for all ethnic groups, including Europeans. Because he’s a Zionist he also supports the Kurdish fight for self-determination. You’ve assumed that the same people who inject ideological poison into the west are also defenders of Israel. Not so. As I said elsewhere in this thread, it’s ideas not ethnicity that are causal.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            But that is special-pleading. That is what our politicians are telling us when they insist Islam is a religion of peace and it is only extremists we have to worry about. How many people here are happy to paint with a broad brush all Muslims but then balk at doing the same with Jews? I agree there are different ideas in at play in Jewish groups but why are the loudest ones always at the forefront of destructive movements? Is it a marriage of convenience with the Left who will then leave the Jews to pay the bill when the Europeans revolt against these movements?

          • Damaris Tighe

            Yes, but I myself don’t paint muslims with a broad brush & have said many times on these threads that its wrong to generalise (& been called a muslim as a result!). My stance here is that Islam is not a religion of peace, but many muslims are better than their religion. I’ve also said that muslims aren’t a homogenous group, just as I said re Jews.

            Also, I don’t think the Jews you blame for the west’s ills are guilty because they’re Jews but because they’re intellectuals, a class in which Jews are disproportionally represented.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            I agree most Muslims I have met are pretty retiring and not at all like the ones on the news. But their ideas are not compatible with the West and its natural development. They have been imported against the will of the majority. That is one of the many destructive movements.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            Thank you. That is the nub of it (to use an odd expression) right there. Is it a racial trait or is it intellectuals who just happen to be Jews? That is the issue I am struggling with. As Richard said earlier genetics can determine much more than we like to think. There I must leave it as we are entering the racial zone and the barbed wire is beginning to appear. Thank you for a very stimulating discussion. I enjoyed it very much.

          • Fenton!
          • Paddy Kilshamus

            It is too late Fenton, I have crossed over into the forbidden zone and there is no way back now.

          • Richard

            Very interesting book, that. All of that is so obvious, but the science has been politicised. If the Left could demonise gravity, they would, as being “fattist”. It is all so peculiar. Whatever, the UK is so intellectually dishonest that pathological PC suits the country to the ground (note choice of words).

          • sarah_13

            Not quite sure why you’re giving Paddy so much air-time. His jew-cenctric focus is unsettling and starts with the usual platitudes but always ends the same way..

          • Damaris Tighe

            I had a falling-out with him on another thread about this. But I had reason to think it was worth another go.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            I want to thank you for our discussion. You and Richard helped me to clarify a couple of very important things. If you had the attitude of Sarah_13 above then the discussion would never have begun. The subject is unsettling but this PC knee-jerk rejection is not doing anyone any favours(except maybe the people who thrive on the antagonism to derive a sense of self-righteousness by seizing the moral high ground) Honesty clears the air even if it draws blood at times.

          • Damaris Tighe

            It’s always worth talking if a mind isn’t closed.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            Yes I agree. I do have an open mind and that is the problem. With this issue most people have a fixed opinion and are unwilling to countenance any objection. I don’t mind if people write me off as a Jew-hater I know that there is something very important in this subject. I was listening to an interview with E. Michael Jones regarding his Catholic perspective on this. He has no racial agenda, his objection is theological. But he too is shut out of the arena by both Jews and White nationalists and Anti-Zionists. Anyway, thank you again.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Paddy, the subject is less important than you think. People seem to have a fixation with the Jews & that’s the problem. The Jews are a people like any other people, with heroes. saints, rogues & villains.

          • Paddy Kilshamus

            That is the truth but that is not the cultural narrative. I am interested in how and why that narrative has been written and the effect it has in the real world. Jews have been over-represented in the writing of that narrative for the last hundred years and are therefore of special significance.

          • sarah_13

            I doubt that it’s worth your time but I may be wrong of course. It strikes me from close reading of your interaction that his mind is firmly closed on this subject and will not be changed however civilised the discussion.

          • Richard

            Wagner’s music is ridiculously (in my opinion) politicised by those who have no understanding of music. Because Ligeti (and Shostakovich in the earlier phase of his career) was listened to by communists, does that make it communist music? Or Bob Marley by thugs who engaged in the Brixton riots (some of whom tried to saw the head off a policeman) mean you have also to be that way to enjoy it? The art is separate from the artist, or it would be imprisoned within the mind of its creator.

          • Damaris Tighe

            I think it is because Wagner was an antisemite so his volkisch music was seen as contributing to the national socialist cause.

          • Fenton!

            My god, you’re a barbarian. I don’t normally talk to racists like you but I have to say that your second sentence could be right out of the mouth of the dictator of the Third Reich. Meanwhile, a Jewish composer created ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, and it’s a triumph.

          • Richard

            I never said anything about inferiority or superiority. I merely stated what I believe to be an aesthetic difference. Mahler could not be anything other than Jewish to me, and I am a huge fan of Mahler. I don’t believe in hiding opinions due to terror of the PC Inquisition. People are different, passions are different, ways of interpreting the world are different, genes are subtly different. However, we are all still people, with mutual comprehension and (hopefully) respect. Even if some of us do call those with different opinions barbarians.

          • sarah_13

            “When the jews were held at bay”?!!! yeah all the that dreadful contributing to science, literature and humanity… needed to be “held at bay”. You sir are deluded.

      • Guest

        Jews have been in the UK for hundreds of years and have only contributed

        Muslim shave been here for less 40 years, and our country is a filthy mass raped toilet

        comparing muslims to jews, is like comparing the trainspotting toilet to a fruit bowl: extremely offensive

        as a British jew, Brits like you make me feel bitter and disappointed and angry – my ancestors fought next your ancestors for OUR country, and I all I get is betrayal and being thrown to the wolves.

        No wonder more and more jews leave Britain: with friends like these.

        • GenJackRipper

          I’m not british.

          Haha, you’re offended by being compared to muslims? My God, are you a racist? 🙂

          • Guest

            oh just another jew-hating, ranting 3rd world enricher, huh?

            oh well, no wonder you hate jews, muslims literally get foam running down their face carpets, when confronted with the success that is Israel, compared to all the landfills they live in

            on case you’re not a muslim: even worse!

            all that oil, all that money, and yet, nothing but squalor, misery and warring – yeah Allah loves you, sure, lol

          • GenJackRipper

            Haha, you’re one judgemental fellow.

            If you’d bother to read what I’ve written and not get stuck on the word JEW, then you’d see how stupid your comment looks.

            I’m swedish of swedish descent.

  • Stephen Milroy

    I don’t remember my parents asking for mass immigration (I admit I was 8 when the general election happened in 1997….) but going through archives I didn’t find any polls in favour of mass immigration either. Nor did I find Labour promising to take the entire planet and cram it on an island with the same population as France, and a third of the land mass. The sad thing is, no one asked for this.

    • Richard

      They didn’t ask for it, but Labour gave it to them nonetheless. They wanted the votes of the desperate Third World immigrants. They cared nothing for Britain. And then, as always happens, Brits lined up in a row to enact the new moral code their government forced upon them. It became evil to oppose Labour’s edicts, and everybody bowed down to enact them. The years between 1997-2010 showed me that Brits are no different from the Continentals, and have just as strong a fascist tendency, but expressed in a much more subtle way. I’ve been eyeing the door ever since.

  • How to get back your ex husband, wife, girlfriend, or boyfriend,

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in Texas,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same Website: http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com}

    (`’•.¸(` ‘•. ¸* ¸.•’´)¸.•’´)..

    «´ Thanks to Dr Brave ¨`»

    ..(¸. •’´(¸.•’´ * `’•.¸)`’•.¸ )..,,,,,,,,,,

  • Peter Stroud

    Mr Karam, I sincerely hope that you have a return ticket in your pocket. And I sincerely hope that this is the last article you write for The Spectator.

  • i am hear to give testimony of how i got back my husband back

    My name is Samira Ahmed, from Kuwait married to Mr Josh Ahmed . My Husband Mr josh Ahmed dumped me two weeks ago after I accused him of seeing someone else and insulting him. I want him back in my life but he refuse to have any contact with me. I was so confuse and don’t know what to do, so I reach to the internet for help and I saw a testimony of how a spell caster help people to get their ex back so I contact the spell caster and explain my problem to him and he cast a spell for me and assure me of 48hours that my ex will return to me and to my greatest surprise the third day my ex came knocking on my door and beg for forgiveness. I am so happy that my love is back again and not only that, we are about to do our third year anniversary. Once again thank you Dr Brave, You are truly talented and gifted. Email: bravespellcaster@gmail.com is the only answer. He can be of great help and I will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man.Email:bravespellcaster@gmail.com,or kindly visit he Website: http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/ .He is the best spell caster.

  • willshome

    Yep, there’s not much wrong with Britain but the loud-mouthed overpaid tax-dodgers who love to run it down.

  • Patrick_Blankfein

    How did Britain become every foreigner’s second home? It is imperative that the indigenes ask ‘who told the world to come and make this island a convenient refuge?’

    • Terra Viva

      It’s your language, folks.

      • Terra Viva

        You know how hard it is to learn Swedish?

      • KimJongUn

        Germany has twice the numbers. Britain was around 500 000 in 2013, Germany over a million despite the language. Also, Sweden has a higher per capita rate.

  • Paddy Kilshamus

    What a guy. Praises the country which gives him refuge and proceeds to run down the inhabitants. Probably one of Miliband Senior’s friends.

  • Guest

    Its engineers built the Gulf.
    Not exactly. A lot of English engineers ‘built’ the Gulf — if you mean the oil refineries and water desalination plants of the Persian Gulf — and my dad was one of them.

  • Fenton!

    ‘Despite the rise of UKIP’? You must be joking. UKIP is the best thing that has happened to freedom in this country since Margaret Thatcher became MP (and then, of course, PM).

  • CO Jones

    If a restaurant owner in Harrow (or anywhere else) is to be free to put a picture of Saddam Hussain in his window, others may well feel that they are free to put a half brick thought it.

  • Mike

    Lebanon is long passed its Islamification phase and is a lost cause for democracy and Britain is half way through that process. Unlike Britain whose colonial power lasted a mere few hundred years and had barely 100 years at its peak, Islam has been a colonial power ever since its conception 1400 years ago and shows no sign of letting up.

    • Tony

      Not quite. Have faith. For a lot of our history we hid in caves in the mountains and valleys where we conducted Mass and prayed our Rosaries, to eacape the hordes of Muslim invaders. Often we fought back. Thousands of us were slaughtered. Yet here we are. As long as we have faith, incense will rise from those little caves. If we lose faith, we lose everything.

  • Tony

    Interesting article but:
    – the Lebanese Army is not siding with Hezbollah as he implies. Hezbollah is a Lebanese armed militia and should the army engage it in battle, it would lead to civil war. On the other hand, IS and Al Nusra are not Lebanese militias and the army engaging them on Lebanese soil is normal and is what the army is there to do. Hezbollah needs a political solution.
    – to people commenting on the lout, the writer doesn’t mention that he is English. The nice old lady could be English too. The point I think he is trying to make is about entitlement and perspective.
    – UKIP is in my opinion a normal reaction to Islam and the EU looking to change British identity and reduce Britain’s independence. The danger is when you have BNP idiots wearing UKIP clothes to appear legitimate.
    – London in 1990 was a much nicer place to live in than London today. Jamaicans, Indians, the Irish and East Europeans integrated well without losing their heritage. There were bad apples but that is to be expected. Bad apples come in all shapes and colours. The Muslim influx is a different story. Muslims have the concepts of Dar al Salam (a country where they are a minority and so remain peaceful), Dar al Harb (when they are numerous enough to fight), Dar al Islam (when they’ve won the fight and the land they are in becomes Muslim land). I need not say more.
    – Lebanese Christians are still not a minority. 40% is not a minority. Moreover, expats are overwhelmingly Christian (upward of 80%) and there are 5 times as many Lebanese outside the country than inside.
    – the UK faces similar risks to what Lebanon went through and is still going through. Lebanon was majority Christian and particularly Maronite Catholic. We built the infrastructure. We gave the country (and the region) its academics, doctors, bankers, entrepreneurs etc. The Muslims destroyed it. They cannot live with the “other”. They have no notion of a secular state. They support only other Muslims over their compatriots. In Lebanon, they supported the Egyptian Nasser and the Palestinian Arafat and their militias in Lebanon who fought us. They accepted funds from the Libyan Gadaffi and fighters from Iraq, Chechnia and Somalia. In the UK they will do the same. There are no moderate Muslims. Those who are moderates are not following the example of their prophet and his teachings.
    – the UK should stop pandering to its Muslim population and to Muslim countries (especially in the gulf) who fund these psychos, if not for our sake then for yours. It seems that Sterling is king for many Brits. Why aren’t you supporting us. We gave you Christianity – your faith and culture – we welcomed and we fought with the (legitimate) Crusaders who came to our shores to defend the faith. How sad to think that we now have Liz and Dave instead of Richard the Lionheart.
    – the writer seems like he is one of the many Lebanese bourgeois in London. They know only Chelsea and celebrate “multiculturism”. I wonder if they would like to live in East London with Pakistanis and Iraqis as neighbours. Honest answer please.
    – we Lebanese Christians – and particularly Maronites – have always faced perecution and death. And yet here we are. The danger is not from the sword. The threat is that we lose our faith. That we become culturally Christians. That young people believe the lie that religion causes war instead of the truth that Islam causes wars because wars are intrinsic to Islam. The danger is that young people equate Christianity with being “open”. We need to go back to the mountain. The UK is way past us in losing the faith, time to fix this in my opinion.
    – i understand Lebanese Christians wanting to leave, but they should leave with a plan to return stronger: keep the faith, make honest money, buy land, have children.

  • JoBennets

    Well it wouldn’t be a story without a dig at Ukip, a hat tip to ‘hard working immigrants’ and a knife in the back of the Englishman on a train, would it?

  • McQueue

    A more tolerant Britain? To tolerate is to suffer something adverse to one’s interests or wellbeing.

    Yep, we have been very tolerant and do recognise this was a mistake.

  • Cymrugel

    Just move out of London Michael.
    You will find people elsewhere in the UK far politer and a lot less up themselves than those in the south east.

  • Expecting borders not to change when DAESH is on the rampage, makes using cottage cheese to make statues look like common sense by comparison.

    The Druze deserve a homeland, just like anyone else who see DAESH as a threat, and what is the sense in horsetrading in governing, so that when differences occur, someone always loses?

  • Malus Pudor

    I should stick to wine, Michael…. perhaps an explanation of why Chateau Musar is not the sublime experience of yesteryear …

    Sorry about the obnoxious yuppie on the Brighton express…better than a raghead poking an AK47 up your nose though, I guess…

  • pp22pp

    Lebanon is what eventually happens to all multicultural societies.
    What’s happened to the Speccie and the DT? They’re going for the leftwing, immigrant market. Good luck with that one!

  • pp22pp

    Our country was remarkable and unique, before it was filled by people like you. GO HOME.

  • Gemma Brand

    So, Michael Karam, what you are really saying is that you are the kind of coward who deserts his country in a time of need and you flee to a country where men are willing to fight to protect you? How sickening low can you get?

  • Trofim

    Don’t worry, Mr K. The latest geographical research has shown Great Britain is made of an elastic material which can expand to contain the entire population of the world, 7 billion at the moment, but more in the future, and we in Britain don’t at all mind how the quality of our lives is affected by this process. We’re endlessly welcoming, tolerant and kind.

  • How I was able to get my husband back from those home breaker

    Am Linda Henrik i was married to my husband for 5 years we were living happily together for this years and not until he traveled to England for a business trip where he met this girl and since then he hate me and the kids and love her only. so when my husband came back from the trip he said he does not want to see me and my kids again so he drove us out of the house and he was now going to Italy to see that other woman. so i and my kids were now so frustrated and i was just staying with my mum and i was not be treating good because my mother got married to another man after my father death so the man she got married to was not treating her well, i and my kids where so confuse and i was searching for a way to get my husband back home because i love and cherish him so much so one day as i was browsing on my computer i saw a testimony about this spell caster Dr Brave testimonies shared on the internet by a lady and it impress me so much i also think of give it a try. At first i was scared but when i think of what meand my kids are passing through so i contact him and he told me to stay calm for just 48 hours that my husband shall come back to me and to my best surprise i received a call from my husband on the second day asking after the kids and i called Dr Brave and he said your problems are solved my child. so this was how i get my family back after a long stress of brake up by an evil lady so with all this help from Dr Brave , i want you all on this forum to join me to say a huge thanks to Dr Brave , and i will also advice for any one in such or similar problems or any kind of problems should also contact him his email is )(bravespellcaster@gmail.com)he is the solution to all your problems and predicaments in life. once again his email address is (bravespellcaster@gmail.com,or kindly visit he Website: http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/)

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  • Damaris Tighe

    Spectator! Please will you block the spam!

  • How to Get your wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend, Back after A Divorce or A Breakup

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in Texas,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same Website: http://enchantedscents.tripod.com/lovespell/,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com} Thanks for reading.,,,

  • global city

    But, they are intent on turning Britain into a mega-Lebanon, with all it’s new and ‘diverse’ communities at each others throats.

  • edlancey

    I’m fed up hearing Lebanese people (in the case of this chancer, unfortunately a Lebanese with a British passport) whine about the civil war.

    The truth is that the Lebanese Christians did it to themselves – they hated Israel so much they let the Fakestinian trash into their country after Jordan rightly booted them out. Stop whining.

    As for the guy having a beer – so f# what. They Syrians shouldn’t even be in the country and the sooner you f# off back to Lebanon the better.

    • Ukip tottie

      i know, when i hear chrisitan lebanese whinge about Israel (which they always do), i think to myself: it wasn’t the Israelis who invaded the ‘Paris of the Middle East’ and turned it into another ‘chit hole of the Middle East’

      they are stupid and self destructive, like Brits are today

  • Mode4

    I get the impression from the article that Britain is a unique and fine place to live if only we can get rid of that pesky indigenous population.

  • Kasperlos

    The writer missed the boat of an England of yesteryear viz. pre-WWI when the modern era was in the future combined with the two great wars which sealed the coffin of Western Christendom, independent states, and greatly damaged English civility and all the prospects that engendered. It is no great surprise that migrants from the 3rd – 5th worlds find England a paradise: semi-detached, running water, commodes, clean streets, a pleasant countryside, motorways, social benefits, coupled with a generally just law system. Everything important to economic migrants sans interest of the raison d’etre that made England so great. So the immigrant sees it as new, as forward progress, an instant utopia without the sweat. That’s in the eye of the beholder. For the native English they have a measuring stick which tells otherwise: a decline in standards of economic, political, social, moral, and ethical. They see themselves no longer having an imprint or control in their own land nor prospects of having any in the future. Forward progress does not always equate to better. Mass immigration of people from the aforementioned worlds will serve, aside from a wider selection of restaurants, to relegate England along with most western countries, to a country just like every other, i.e.average 3rd world. And the writer ponders the state of the Englishman in regards to how he sees his own country.

    • Paddy Kilshamus

      You have a way with words. Excellent stuff.

  • Hole_in_One

    In my younger years I worked for an overtly Jewish company (I’m not Jewish) – it was a great experience in a company that was a pillar of progressive thinking and progress within which was available to any employee of whatever faith. I subsequently worked for a Jewish CEO who was a complete a@@ehole – now that may be because he was Jewish, but I think it was just because he was an AH. Lesson – don’t ascribe to generalist views of people based on religion. There is good and bad in every corner of the globe.

  • Guest

    Christian Lebanese are spineless cowards.
    They are weak opportunists, who sell out their country, yet find blame with complete outsider show have nothing to do with the situation at all.

    They are very close to the typical islamic mindset of never accepting responsibility and blaming the west and/or Jews for all their misery.

    It’s possible to find an intelligent sensible CHristian Lebanese, I know 1, but most of them are shallow and tacky cretins, who are more interested in the latest fashions and watches, than the future of their own country.

  • Bumble Bee

    Most Lebanese Christians I know are shallow and primitive.
    They’d sell their soul for the newest shiny complicated timepiece.

  • andylowings

    I`m not sure on what basis, a bloke from another middle eastern country can decide to live in Britain.

  • Ivanich

    “Two of the Libyan soldiers have been charged with raping a man in Cambridge. Moktar Ali Saad Mahmoud, 33, and Ibrahim Abogutila, 22, are due to appear before Cambridge magistrates court on Tuesday accused of carrying out the attack on Sunday 26 October.
    Last week, Libyan cadets Ibrahim Naji el Maarfi, 20, and Mohammed Abdalsalam, 27, appeared before the same court to admit two counts of sexual assault. They are also due to be sentenced on Tuesday.
    El Maarfi faces two counts of sexual assault and one count of exposure. Abdalsalam faces charges includingsexual assault.
    Khaled el Azibi, 18, has also been charged with three counts of sexual assault, but has yet to enter a plea.
    The Libyan government had originally agreed to pay for this training. However, the MoD has now acknowledged that it may incur some costs.” theguardian.com

    – Misha, you are in multicultural tolerant country now!

  • RJ O’Callaghan

    “A few louts are a small price to pay for the peace and prosperity of Britain.” So true. It’s good and healthy to be reminded that despite its problems, we’re lucky to live now and in England.

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