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That, I guess, is the best way to explain what it was that touched me in that hotel lobby. And it touched me because there is so much that is happening in Europe – and especially, I think it is fair to say, in Sweden – that seems to spell the doom of such delicately distinctive traditions. In writing about her exchange with Lise Bergh at the integration conference, Storhaug mentioned an event that had taken place some months earlier. In a speech at a mosque, Mona Sahlin, who at the time was Sweden’s minister of integration (and who wore a veil for the occasion), asserted that many Swedes envy immigrants – by which she plainly meant Muslim immigrants – because they have a culture and a history to bind them together, while Swedes only have “töntiga” (“cheesy”) things like Midsummer Night.
One can hardly imagine a more breathtaking betrayal of one’s own country and culture by a high-level public servant – a woman entrusted with a position in which she wielded extraordinary power to either enhance or undermine her nation’s, and her culture’s, ability to survive and prosper. Watching those teenagers singing “Santa Lucia,” I marveled at, and took comfort from, the fact that in one European country after another, there are still many people who continue, quietly and respectfully, to preserve their national traditions, even as a relative handful of elite types, including elected officials like Lise Bergh and Mona Sahlin, mock and dismiss those same traditions as “cheesy” – so desperate are they to please and pacify “new countrymen” whose own traditions, however aggressive and brutal, they are pathetically eager to extol. What is sad is that the Berghs and Sahlins, however small their numbers, possess a huge power to destroy. For anyone who cares about the preservation of Western civilization, the manifest determination of such people to offer up their own cultures on the altar of multiculturalism is nothing less than terrifying.
And that is why, as the white-robed girls and boys disappeared into the hotel bar, and I turned around and headed for my room, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of wistfulness. Could the glow of their dozen little candles possibly be bright enough to overcome the darkness of the Berghs and Sahlins, and of the imported culture of brutality that they so reflexively appease and eulogize? Or was that glow, as it were, the last light of a setting sun?
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