Sunday, 23 August 2009

'The Old People's Town'

'So it’s the consequence of your urban planning, or your colonialism, or your wealth, or just plain you. We’ll blame anything rather than confront the central truth—that when an old, relatively unicultural society admits in a short space of time a large, young, fecund population from somewhere else, you are setting in motion a process of transformation. Caldwell asks the obvious question—“Can you have the same Europe with different people?” and gives the obvious answer: no. “Europe is not welcoming its newest residents but making way for them.”

In the end, that coy French euphemism for the, um, rioters of no particular socio-religious persuasion—“youths”—gets to the heart of the matter: youths are youthful, and ethnic Europeans aren’t. In the heavily North African Paris suburb of Montfermeil, the Muslim children from the housing projects pass on their way to school each morning a neighbourhood of detached houses still occupied by French natives: they call it “la ville des vieux”—the old people’s town.'

Mark Steyn reviews Christopher Caldwell's Reflections on the Revolution in Europe.

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