Updated: 7 July, 2000

 

Review - The Camp of the Saints

by Jean Raspail

EcoFuture (TM) Population and Sustainability
Books, Fiction

 
The Camp of the Saints, Jean Raspail; The Social Contract Press, Petoskey, MI 49770, 800.352.4843, 1973, ISBN 1-881780-07-4, (311p, $15)
 
The Social Contract Press states: Originally published in France, The Camp of the Saints has been described as the 1984 of the late twentieth century. The Social Contract Press is pleased to be able to offer a reprint of this gripping novel, which envisions the overrunning of European civilization by burgeoning Third World populations.
 
 


 
This review has included most of the memorable excerpts below. The book incorporates the issues of overpopulation, poverty, rich-vs-poor, environmental refugee migration in mass, and the attitudes that are held on both sides of these issues. These are issues that we should all ponder and discuss because we will be facing them sooner or later.
 
Excerpts from the author's intro to the 1985 French Edition, the original intro and the afterword, by Jean Raspail -- Translated by Gerda Bikales.
 
Published for the first time in 1973, Camp of the Saints is a novel that anticipates a situation which seems plausible today and foresees a threat that no longer seems unbelievable to anyone: it describes the peaceful invasion of France, and then of the West, by a third world burgeoned into multitudes. At all levels -- global consciousness, governments, societies, and especially every person within himself -- the question is asked belatedly: what is to be done?
 
Now that the relationship between the forces [of expansionism and relative strength of numbers] has been diametrically reversed, and our ancient West -- tragically now in a minority status on this earth -- retreats behind its dismantled fortifications while it already loses the battles on its own soil, it begins to behold, in astonishment, the dull roar of the huge tide that threatens to engulf it.
 
Professor Jeffrey Hart of Dartmouth, a literary historian and a famous American columnist: "Raspail is not writing about race, he is writing about civilization..."
 
After all, Camp of the Saints is a symbolic book, a sort of prophecy, dramatized rather brutally.... If it is a prophecy, we live its beginnings today. Simply, in Camp of the Saints, it is treated as a classic tragedy, according to the literary principles of unity of time, place and action: everything takes place within three days along the shores of Southern France, and it is there that the destiny of white people is sealed. Through the action was then already well developed along the lines described in Camp of the Saints (boat people, the radicalization of the North African community and of other foreign groups in France, the strong psychological impact of human rights organizations, the inflamed evangelism of the religious leadership, a hypocritical purity of consciences, refusal to look the truth in the face, etc.) in the actuality the unraveling will not take place in three days but, almost certainly, after many convulsions, during the first decades of the third millennium, barely the time of one or two generations.
 
It's enough to go back to the scary demographic predictions for the next thirty years, and those I will cite are the most favorable ones: encircled by seven billion people, only seven hundred million of them white, hardly a third of them in our little Europe, and those no longer in bloom but quite old. They face a vanguard of four hundred million North Africans and Muslim, fifty percent of them less than twenty years old, those on the opposite shores of the Mediterranean arriving ahead of the rest of the world!. Can one imagine for a second, in the name of whatever ostrich-like blindness, that such a disequilibrium can endure.
 
...[E]specially to my refusal to enter the false debate about racism and anti-racism in French daily life, as well as my revulsion at describing the racial tensions already discernible (but for the moment not fit for discussion) for fear of exacerbating them. To be sure, a mighty vanguard is already here, and expresses its intention to stay even as it refuses to assimilate; in twenty years they will make up thirty percent, strongly motivated foreigners, in the bosom of a people that once was French.
 
It will probably not happen as I have described it, for the Camp of the Saints is only a parable, but in the end the result will not be any different, though perhaps in a form more diffused and therefore seemingly more tolerable.
 
But the petty bourgeois, deaf and blind, continues to play the buffoon without knowing it. Still miraculously comfortable in his lush fields, he cries out while glancing toward his nearest neighbor: "Make the rich pay!" Does he know, does he finally know that it is he who is the rich guy, and that the cry for justice, that cry of all and only against him. That's the whole theme of Camp of the Saints.
 
I am a novelist. I have no theory, no system nor ideology to propose or defend. It just seems to me that we are facing a unique alternative: either learn the resigned courage of being poor or find again the inflexible courage to be rich. In both cases, so-called Christian charity will prove itself powerless. The times will be cruel.
 
I should at least point out, though, that many of the texts I have put into my characters' mouths or pens -- editorials, speeches, pastoral letters, laws, news stories, statements of every description -- are, in fact, authentic. Perhaps the reader will spot them as they go by. In terms of the fictional situation I have presented, they become all the more revealing.
 
When the first edition of the book appeared, it was badly received. The surrender at the end had no effect on the critics. I was called a "racist," the ultimate anathema of our hypersensitive and totally blind West, a West which has not yet understood that whites, in a world become too small for its inhabitants, are now a minority and that the proliferation of other races dooms our race irretrievably to extinction in the century to come, if we hold fast to our present moral principles.
 
And, when there appeared on the shores of Asia, the shores of Europe and the coasts of the United States, flotillas of boat people similar to those I had invented several years before--when it was proved by irrefutable statistics that our land frontiers had cracked open in the U.S. and Europe and that these people were entering our countries by the tens of millions in an irreversible stream-- when the slow, cancerous progress of compassion, which is only a misleading and lethal form of charity, duly laid siege to the Western conscience--when it finally became apparent that in the future the denial of essential and basic human differences would work solely to the detriment of our own integrity--then, at last, people began to understand what I had tried to express. I, the accursed writer, was transformed into a prophetic writer.
 
 


 
 
Excerpts from the book.
 
...this vanguard of an antiworld bent on coming in the flesh to knock, at long last, at the gates of abundance.
 
...peaceful assault on the Western World.
 
...it wasn't a matter of tender heart, but a morbid, contagious excess of sentiment...the human race no longer formed one great fraternal whole--as the popes, philosophers, intellects, politicos, and priests of the West had be claiming for much too long. Man never has really loved humanity all of a piece--all its races, its peoples, its religions--but only those creatures he feels are his kin, a part of his clan, no matter how vast.
 
...there were too many poor. Altogether too many. Folk you didn't even know. Not even from here. Just nameless people. Swarming all over.
 
...Ever been swept off your feet by a herd of stampeding lambs? No, I tell you, Norman, the Third World's turned into a bunch of lambs, that's all.
 
When man has nothing left, he looks askance at certainty. Experience has taught that it's not meant for him. As likelihood fades, myth looms up in its place. The dimmer the chance, the brighter the hope. ...The simpler the folk, the stronger the myth. Soon everyone heard their babble, believed their fantasies, and dreamed the same wild dreams of life in the West. The problem is that, in famine-racked Calcutta, "everyone" means quite a few.
 
Can't you see where it's leading? You've got to be crazy. Crazy or desperate. You've got to be out of your minds just to sit back and let it all happen, little by little. All because of your pity. Your insipid, insufferable pity!
 
Now the thousand years are ended. The nations are rising from the four corners of the earth, and their number is like the sand of the sea. They will march up over the broad earth and surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city.
 
There's no Third World. No, not anymore. That's only a phrase you coined to keep us in our place. There's one world, only one, and it's going to be flooded with life, submerged. This country of mine is a roaring river. A river of sperm. Now, all of a sudden, it's shifting course, my friend, and heading west.
 
As always, you've tried to explain away that congenital habit you people have of closing your eyes...Oh, you're a bright, clever man, I'm sure. Your whole country is bursting with bright, clever men. Men who knew what was going to happen. Your nice little speech laid it all out pat: the famines, wars, floods, epidemics, the mighty myths and superstitions, the population growing by leaps and bounds... No need for a computer to predict the future here--though you people do have computers, I'm sure... Oh no, you knew. You saw all those waves that you described so well. You knew they were coming! And what did you do? Not a thing!
 
Or open your high-class papers and read the reporters who knew what was going on, but didn't let it spoil their dinner or keep them up at night. With headlines like: 'Affluent Nations' Conscience Unmoved by Third World Plight ... Western and UN Aid Falling Far Short ... Future of Third World Seen at Stake ..." You people all know how to read. You're not deaf. You've heard the same tune for ten years now, in every key. But only from all your bleeding hearts, and plenty of them at that. So what did you do? You treated your conscience to a dose of guilt and then prayed to someone or other that things would stay the way they were as long as they could. That's where you went wrong. You should have held fast to your Western contempt. It might have steeled you against disaster.
 
All over the world. They're oozing out of every country. Thousands of everyday priests, ready and willing to poison the minds of millions of idiots. Bleeding hearts puking out gospels galore.
 
The governments of the Indian subcontinent, gravely concerned with domestic conditions and the worsening crisis in food distribution... wish to make it clear, at this time, that any action on their part is quite out of the question, and they wish to disclaim any and all responsibility...
 
As I read and listen to the first reports and comments on the Ganges armada, and its staggering exodus westward, I'm struck by the depth of human feeling that seems to pervade them all, and the candid appeals for a wholehearted welcome. Indeed, have we time for a choice? But through it all, one thing appalls me: the fact that nobody yet has pointed to the danger, the risk inherent in the white man's meager numbers, and his utter vulnerability as a result. But what do we amount to in the aggregate?
 
Some seven hundred million souls, most of us packed into Europe, as against the billions and billions of nonwhites, so many we can't even keep up the count.
 
I can tell that you really don't believe how serious the situation is. After all, we lived side by side with the Third World, convinced that our hermetic coexistence, our global segregation, would last forever. What a deadly illusion! Now we see that the Third World is a great unbridled mass, obeying only those impulsive urges that well up when millions of hapless wills come together in the grip of despair. ...We're witnessing a mighty surge, seeing it take shape, for once, and roll on. And nothing-- nothing, take my word--is going to stop it!
 
Maybe our country won't get involved. Maybe the Western nations will come up with a miracle just in time.... Well, you're welcome to close your eyes and hope. But later, when you open them up, if you find a million dark-skinned refugees swarming ashore, tell me, what will you do? Yes, like it or not, cordial or begrudging, we 're going to take them in. We have no choice. Unless, that is, we want to kill them all, or put them away in camps.
 
Reasonable people took their heads in their hands, unable to cope with the moral upheaval. If they came to the conclusion that altruism doesn't justify out-and-out brutality, they made sure not to spread the word. Besides, who would have listened? In short, through its own diabolical devices, the beast had tucked cops and courts of the Western World safely away in its pocket, and was free now to indulge in what it termed "the shaping of opinion." And so, once again, opinion was shaped to believe that racism in the cause of self-defense is the scourge of humanity.
 
As for the shape that Western opinion should really have taken-- namely, the realization of the mortal threat to its very existence.
 
Accepted notions die have, like straitjackets, stifling our minds. Let's just talk about the media, so called, and the shameless way certain people, under the guise of freedom, took a tool meant for mass communication, twisted and warped it, and used it to bully the minds of the public. The few clear thinkers left tried to warn us. But we wouldn't listen.
 
I've been thinking a lot too. In the long run, whatever I do, I certainly can't let that starving mob come and land on our shores. We could put them in camps, we could try to assimilate them. But the result would be the same: they would be here to stay. And once we had opened the door and shown how weak we are, others would come. Then more, and more. In fact, it's already beginning...
 
 
      --Review by Ed Glaze III
 

 


 
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