69 million page views

"No-Go" Zones, then and now

Reader comment on item: Does Europe Have No-go Zones?
in response to reader comment: semi-autonomous sectors

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Feb 6, 2015 at 17:25

Hi, Brigitte

I am a US citizen, and have lived in the US for some 98.5% of my life, so I do not know the specifics of the situation in Europe. Just about everything you have said, though, would also describe the situation in the US; though we, of course, have a much longer and deeper history of dealing with mass industrial immigration. I am happy that you have not witnessed actual, de jure "no-go" areas in the cities; though they apparently exist there, as they do in the US, de facto.

You did well, to point out that the immigration of (mainly Turkish) Muslims to Germany was the result of German government policy. Behind the official veneer, though, it's clear to me that the real deciders were not the German people, but the German industrialists. This is also true in the US, and it has been the case since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It's difficult to pinpoint the start of this event, which various authorities have said happened between 1790 and 1840.

The cited graph shows that a radical demographic change happened in the US around the middle of the 19th Century (the 1800s). 1830, 1848 and 1860 were years of social unrest in Europe; and much of that unrest was the result of the changes there brought about by the Industrial Revolution. This was also the beginning of rather large population movements within Europe. During this time, for instance, Jews were starting to strike out from their shtetls, often losing their Jewish identity. German sugar-makers were also finding their way to England, and their children were setting up refineries in Ireland. The rise of a middle class in Britain led to a change of diet, with a greatly enlarged gentry consuming not only copious amounts of sugar in their tea, but also potatoes produced on an industrial scale in Ireland.

I know about the above, because all these events directly impacted my and my wife's family. The reason these internal events in Europe affected an American like me, is that this was a time of massive, manufacturing-enduced, migration across the ocean, mainly by workers from Ireland and Germany. This was followed, in the "Second Industrial Revolution" in the late 1800s, by a wave of immigrants first from Scandanavia and Germany, then from Eastern and Southern Europe.

The disruptions of these migrations to American society were on the same scale as the Muslim immigration you Europeans are now experiencing. By the time the Germans (and Australians also, I might add) began actively encouraging immigration to supply labor for its factories, the US had already become a cosmopolitan society, with Jews, Poles, Irishmen and Italians occupying increasingly important roles in society.

The acme of this change was the election of an Irish Catholic, John F. Kenedy, as President in 1960. This coincided with the beginning of massive social disruption in our society. I believe it was Kennedy's book, "A Nation of Immigrants", which gave statistics about ownership of major enterprises in the US. While non-British immigrants and their descendants constituted a clear majority of white Americans at that time, some 97% of the wealth was still in the hands of "White Anglo-Saxon Protestants" (WASPs). I imagine that in Europe today, non-Muslim Europeans have a similar control over the economy. Also in the US in the late 1960s, Black and Hispanic Americans supplied about twice their proportional number of troops for the military, especially the Army; and an even more disproportionate share of infantrymen. Elite outfits such as the one I was in, meanwhile, were virtually all white.

There has often been a comparison made, between American Black-majority and Hispanic-majority ghettos, on the one hand, and the Muslim "no-go" ghettos of Europe. In terms of demographics, this is a valid comparison, though some Europeans have contended that the situations are dissimilar because ours is a "racial" divide, whereas Europe's division is "religious". What I have said above ought to amply show, however, that we also have had to deal with a massive onslaught of religious aliens: Roman and Orthodox Catholics, Jews and Atheists, who in their day were as starkly different from mainstream Americans as the Muslims are today in Europe.

In conclusion, I would say that the "Muslim Problem" in Europe probably is having an impact on your society of a magnitude similar to what we in the US experienced in the early 1900s. You have your burqa laws, and we had Prohibition; you have scattered acts of terrorism, and we had labor riots. Because of the time lag, we are a bit out-of-sync with each other; but we can certainly relate, to an extent, with each other's experience. What's more, the upheavals happening in both places today are not because of Induxtrial Revolution dislocations, but of Information Refolution ones; so in this respect, we very much are in sync.

In today's ethnic turmoil, as in the previous turmoils of the 1930s and the 1800s, the attention of the masses is with the persons of the immigrants; but the drivers of the troubles are exceedingly wealthy individuals living in islands of wealth, comfort and stability. Some things, it seems, transcend time and geography.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2023 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)