Banal Ethnic Conflict and the Burkini


During peacetime, ethnically diverse societies tend to fight over a variety of public cultural issues, such as flags, statuary, and holidays. They can’t help themselves. Multi-ethnic societies don’t think about issues from a clinically rational perspective that weighs the merits of arguments and considers the facts on the ground; they rely on tribal affiliation to determine political positions. The latest such issue to highlight this is the “burkini” controversy in France. The dispute, over what can only be described as Islamic swimwear, pits the ethnic French against Muslims and their anti-nationalist allies. This is what really matters, folks. Or does it? As controversial symbol of different things for different people, the burkini is an opportunity to fight.

This latest Islam-derived controversy comes in a country which has already banned face veils, and one that is reeling from several Islamic mass terror attacks over the last year and a half. The most recent attack was in July 2016, when 86 people died and 307 were injured in Nice. It was France’s deadliest kebab flare-up since the November 2015 Paris attacks, which killed 130 and injured 368. There was also the less major but no less extreme incident in July of a Catholic priest being martyred in Normandy, which the civil and religious authorities of France responded to with cucked mewling about tolerance and peace.

So just in time for last days of summer, more than a dozen French municipalities along the Mediterranean have banned the beach burqa, the so-called burkini. They cite numerous reasons, mostly referencing France’s state-enforced secularism or ideal of gender equality. Both of these are, for lack of a better word, threatened by the growing Muslim population, and the extremely concealing swimwear is a visible reminder of this. Islam, after all, is not an ecumenical ideology and has no room for respecting other ideologies unless they are subservient to it. In the aftermath of burkini-based beach brawls in Corsica between Europeans and North Africans, as well as the terrorism backdrop, public order has also become a pretext for the ban. So far, a French high court has struck down one of the bans.

The ban controversy has spread overseas and generated concern among the chattering classes in the Anglo countries, where the press tends to support “a woman’s right to choose” and “religious freedom.” Muh rights (created with European populations in mind), therefore Glad bag-clad Maghrebi women belong on French beaches. In an aggressive display of context denial, they also congratulate themselves on being clever enough to observe that the French want to regulate what women can wear in the name of opposing religious regulations on what women can wear. Checkmate, French bigots.

Now, I cannot precisely speak to what French-language coverage of the controversy is like, but I imagine there are more voices in support of the ban in France than there are internationally. An IFOP survey found two-thirds of French people polled were in favor. And this makes sense. Most Americans and Britcucks can go about their daily lives—unless they live in very specific areas—without physically experiencing the presence of Islam in their neighborhoods and workplaces. In other words, visible Islam is a non-issue to them; and so of course they side with the politically correct third-worldist opinion championed by the cosmopolitan elite. But France is at least 10% Muslim—the government doesn’t officially collect and release data on ethnicity and religion so precision is impossible—and most Muslims are concentrated in Paris and the South of France. A good amount of the ethnic French population then cannot avoid the physical presence of Islam.

So the question of whether Islam follows them to the beach, however mundane, has become swept up into the general French debate on Islam’s place in the Fifth Republic. The burkini becomes more than a swimsuit, it becomes a symbol of Islam, of terrorism, of diversity, of immigration, of tolerance, of the oppression of women, of feminism—of anything it can be fitted to.

And really, it is the mundaneness of the issue that makes it so striking. How did such a non-existential issue manage to seize the emotions of and elicit a righteous fervor from the left and right in France?

Judaeo-Saxon social psychologist (((Michael Billig))) wrote a book in 1995 called Banal Nationalism, which introduced a concept of the same name. Banal nationalism, as opposed to the more political or ideological forms of nationalism as a system, refers to everyday representations of “the nation” in the form of repetitive symbols, messages, and events. Examples (((Billig))) gives include flags, anthems, sports, and currency. From the book’s introduction:

“The central thesis of the present book is that, in the established nations, there is a continual ‘flagging’, or reminding, of nationhood… France, the USA, the United Kingdom or New Zealand – are not typically termed ‘nationalists’. However, as will be suggested, nationhood provides a continual background for their political discourses, for cultural products, and even for the structuring of newspapers. In so many little ways, the citizenry are daily reminded of their national place in a world of nations. However, this reminding is so familiar, so continual, that it is not consciously registered as reminding. The metonymic image of banal nationalism is not a flag which is being consciously waved with fervent passion; it is the flag hanging unnoticed on the public building.”

Like the Stars and Stripes hanging from house after house in the American suburb, the burqas, niqabs, hijabs, and Glad bags draped over Afro-Islamic women in the French banlieue are banal. They’re just there. They don’t really mean anything by themselves. They are symbols of something much bigger that people can connect with emotionally and ideologically. The burkini, the beach ready shariah-compliant swimwear, is just an extension of something already ubiquitous in France, Islam.

That’s one way of looking at it, though a  bit of a stretch. The established fact of Islamic dress being visible in France, now extended to yet another category of clothing, is not something as settled as the design and display of the flag. It is not a banal symbol of the nation. It is a banal symbol of a contentious process taking place in France, their own third demographic transition.

The burkini debate sprawls its tentacles out like an octopus, attaching to secondary issues like secularism, religion, terrorism, feminism, egalitarianism, and tolerance. But what the burkini itself actually represents—and what the debate should be centered on—is that France is less French every year as a result of the Fifth Republic’s immigration policies. There would be no burkini if France wasn’t over 10% kebab and counting. A third of babies born in France are non-European, so this is not going to go away. The debate should be about Françafrique, not fashion. With the rise of the nativist, civic nationalist party Front National in the polls, France is approaching this debate, which must take place and will not be resolved without pain.

But this is essay is titled “Banal Ethnic Conflict,” not “Ethnic Conflict.” We’re talking about ethno-identitarian disputes over mundane symbols, not armed struggle. The ethnic conflict in France, for now, is cold rather than hot. It’s about swimwear. It’s completely banal. And yet, the underlying issue is so brutally obvious that the efforts to ignore it and make the issue one of fashion and feminism are deeply suspect. Superficially, there is a debate about secularism and women’s rights centered on the banal issue of clothing. What remains unspoken by much of the press, however, is the demographic reality. A principled debate about the merits of secularism in French society this is not. It’s about France itself, but as a multi-ethnic country, France can’t truly have that discussion because all politics is tribal.

The burkini controversy is a banal ethnic conflict between Frank and Saracen. The French don’t want it to be obvious anywhere they go in public that their country is crawling with Maghrebis. They want to go to the beach—they want to take a break from life’s drudgery—without experiencing the third world. Support for the ban is opposition to demographic change expressed through the only politically correct form available, that of defending secularism. The Maghrebi population on the other hand, wants to enforce its ancestral customs and norms rather than adopt those of the France, which are seen as both immoral and soft.

If the French government forces Islamic dress out of the public space, it won’t change the deep-seated attachment to Islam that Maghrebi colonists have, or make them into Europeans. It will reduce the visibility of Islam, not Islam itself. It won’t change fertility rates. Banning the burkini is not some silver bullet that will solve the “assimilation” problem in France. Multi-ethnic football teams didn’t do it, and this won’t either. Nothing will, because you cannot assimilate millions of ethnocentric foreigners of a different nation and religious tradition into a community which prides itself on believing in nothing.

So it’s a banal ethnic conflict in another sense, in that no matter which tribe wins this fight it will not alter the balance of power. It’s just another thing to fight over because diversity + proximity = conflict.

If France continues its biological drift towards Africa and ideological drift towards Islamic socialism, the coming debate will not be over banning the burkini. It will be over mandating the burkini. And at that point, Islamic dress will be as banal in “France” as the Tricolor.

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9 Responses to Banal Ethnic Conflict and the Burkini

  1. Bar Tar says:

    The more painfully obvious it is to the French, the better. Let their court overturn the ban. Let them look around and see seething masses of sand-rags everywhere. Let the Saxon begin to hate.

    By the way, what happened to the old Diversity + Proximity = War?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert the Bruce says:

    Charles de Gaulle quote from 1959, ” It is very good that there are yellow French, black French, brown French. They show that France is open to all races and has a universal vocation. But [ it is good ] on condition that they remain a small minority. Otherwise, France would no longer be France. We are, after all, primarily a European people of the white race, Greek and Latin culture, and the Christian religion.

    Don’t tell me stories! Muslims, have you gone to see them? Have you watched them with their turbans and jellabiyas? You can see that they are not French! Those who advocate integration have the brain of a hummingbird. Try to mix oil and vinegar. Shake the bottle. After a second, they will separate again.

    Arabs are Arabs, the French are French. Do you think the French body politic can absorb ten million Muslims, who tomorrow will be twenty million, after tomorrow forty? If we integrated, if all the Arabs and Berbers of Algeria were considered French, would you prevent them to settle in France, where the standard of living is so much higher? My village would no longer be called Colombey-The-Two-Churches but Colombey-The-Two-Mosques. ”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant essay Lawrence, France is fucked any country with a 10% Muslim population is in deep trouble


  4. John Smith says:

    Of all the West European states, France has the greatest potential to rise up and do what needs to be done. We need things to go as bad there as possible. Rapid, discernible demographic and cultural shifts are a good thing. It stops the population being bluepilled by the left’s gradualism. Soros and Merkel are actually doing us a favour in Europe. If this mad response to the migration crisis hadn’t happened, the gradual legal colonization would have continued without comment.


    • Kama says:

      Absolutely. Much still needs to be done, but compared to Germany, the UK or Spain, even Belgium, we probably are in a better state of mind generally speaking. I’ve seen a lot of people change their minds, myself included (I was already against mass immigration and leftism before, but more radically now), because of the refugee crisis. People are fed up with this bullshit. Add to that that the government just fucked us over by passing a labour law that, among other things : makes employment more “flexible”, that is less secure as the employer can fire you more easily, gives more “religious freedom” on the workplace (probably for the Shintoists…), makes you work more to earn less and so on, discontent is growing, and fast. If nothing changes, France will in my opinion experience a civil war within the next 10 years.

      Marine Le Pen probably won’t win in 2017 though, because a lot of people are still oblivious to the situation. In Britanny and the South-West of France, people still vote in majority for the Socialist Party. Probably because there are less immigrants there. Paris is also a place where leftism is strong. Because of immigrant votes, but also because people in general are left-wing for some reason. I really can’t fathom why, even though I’ve lived there. Le Pen will undoubtedly make it to the second round of the elections, but getting 51% in that round will be hard. Not impossible, but hard.

      The elites have started to legalize illegal aliens to get votes, and I have the feeling they’re not gonna stop until 2017. And God knows how they will massively vote against the Front National.

      Oh, but don’t forget Austria : they’re revoting in December, and there’s a big chance Höfer wins. Switzerland is not so asleep neither.

      May Trump and Höfer make 2016 finally great🙂.

      Liked by 1 person

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