Why is Europe on fire?

Violence, car burnings and explosions must not become the new normal.

Liam Thompson

Topics Politics World

The British press, obsessed with the supposed ills of Brexit, remains conspicuously silent on the many problems befalling the rest of Europe. One such example is how, in recent years, New Year’s Eve on the continent has slowly transformed from an evening of good-natured celebration into something more closely resembling The Purge. In some European towns and cities, 31 December was marked by car burnings, attacks on emergency workers and police, church desecrations, and shootings.

In Strasbourg, France, holiday home of the EU Parliament, more than 220 cars were incinerated during the ‘celebrations’ this year – twice the number torched last year. Firefighters attending the blazes were attacked. There were similar violent scenes across France, including reports of men roaming the streets with Kalashnikovs in Marseille.

In Germany, meanwhile, a police officer in Leipzig had to undergo emergency surgery. Policemen were attacked with a burning shopping cart and fireworks. The local police union said that the violence this year had taken on a ‘new quality’. The attack is being treated as attempted murder. On the same night in the same city, 25 stained-glass window panes were smashed with rocks. The windows belonged to the 800-year-old St Thomas Church, the burial place of JS Bach.

In Brussels, vehicles were torched and more than 180 people were arrested. Explosions in Sweden are not limited to New Year’s Eve fireworks – over 100 explosions were reported last year.

Of course, fireworks have long been part of New Year’s Eve – and have always carried risks. In the Netherlands, a man and his child were killed when fireworks set a housing complex ablaze. But what is new is the use of fireworks as projectile weapons to incinerate vehicles and attack police officers.

Some blame gang violence, while others blame alcohol. These explanations have a whiff of ‘nothing to see here’ about them. After all, Europe has always had alcohol, and it has always had gangs – but it hasn’t experienced the level of indifference to authority, and contempt for the wider populace, that these new ‘traditions’ seem to demonstrate.

The right-wing bogeyman of ‘Islamic immigration’ cannot explain it. While the 2015 incidents in Cologne were an obvious example of a crime committed by migrants, there is nothing but anecdote to suggest that migrants, or Muslims, are the driving force behind these events. In fact, the trouble in Leipzig is being attributed to a far-left faction.

Whatever is to blame, clearly something has changed. Most people recognise that it wasn’t always the case that their cities needed ‘safe zones’ for women and others on New Year’s Eve. Christmas markets didn’t always need barricades and armed police. But for the liberal media, even talking about these issues invites accusations of right-wing conspiracy-mongering.

Mainstream media outlets and politicians need to do much more to get to grips with what is going on. The risk is that not talking about these issues and pretending that nothing is happening will fuel political extremism. If the mainstream won’t talk about what is happening in Europe, then other, perhaps more sinister actors will.

Liam Thompson is a writer. Follow him on Twitter: @ljshaughnessy.

Picture by: Getty

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Mark Williams

9th January 2020 at 10:28 pm

There’s something cultural going on. I lived in Germany for 3 years. Germany is the land of rules, regulations, and endless bureaucracy. It’s mind numbing.

However, on New Year’s Eve, all hell breaks loose with fireworks. There are Germans left, right, and centre running around with fireworks — pointing them at people, letting them off in all directions, and generally being idiots.

I put it down to the same reason why Brits often go crazy outside the UK: So much pent up frustration and emotions that cannot be expressed in polite society.

It has to come out somehow. For Germans, that somehow is fireworks on NYE.

Dominic Straiton

9th January 2020 at 9:56 pm

Young men love violence. We used to be really good at it. From Agincourt to the North stand at1970s Chelsea the controlled English way prevailed. Today tribal warfare, stabbings, acid attacks and murder has nothing to do with England or the English.

anna livia fleischschleifer

9th January 2020 at 8:04 pm

“The right-wing bogeyman of ‘Islamic immigration’ cannot explain it.”

Many subsaharans are not muslims. Lest the author hasn’t noticed, there were many more boatloads of them dumped into Europe over the past few years in particular.

michael savell

9th January 2020 at 5:15 pm

I think people are realising that “democracy”as they used to know it has run it’s course along with capitalism,the ideas are good but unfortunately,in practice they are failing due to one group sequestering them both leaving sod all for anyone else with the help of those who legislate laws and print the money.

nick hunt

9th January 2020 at 8:01 pm

But are all these woke people the ones responsible for the violent unrest, or for inciting it? If yes, do you condone thie violence? If no, what’s causing the crisis?

Rohland Martel

10th January 2020 at 12:05 pm

We need to move away from the idea that unrestricted democracy or capitalism automatically leads to more freedom, wealth and progress. Democracy needs strict checks and balances and capitalism needs to be leashed,tamed and regulated. The idea that technological progress is only positive also needs to go. The printing press did not just lead to the spread of knowledge and enlightenment. It also led to centuries of religious wars.

Jerry Owen

9th January 2020 at 4:24 pm

Well, we got a glimpse of the elephant from the author … but ‘new quality’ will suffice I guess!

Jim Lawrie

9th January 2020 at 4:15 pm

“The right-wing bogeyman of ‘Islamic immigration’ cannot explain it. ….In fact, the trouble in Leipzig is being attributed to a far-left faction. Not one for facts in your journalism , are you Mr Thompson? Do you know what attributed means? Do you know it does not belong in the same sentence as ‘in fact’.

It’s not as if immigrants in Marseille have ever been known to be violent criminals.

Did this sort of thing happen in Poland? Russia? Hungary? Or are they not in Europe?
What about Palermo? Any trouble down there?

Rohland Martel

9th January 2020 at 3:55 pm

I think every European country is different but in the Netherlands , where I am from, it certainly has become more violent on New Years. I agree with the writer that it cannot simply be explained as ‘Muslim migration’ I think that there is a more broad feeling of disenfranchisement among groups , that the society does not belong to them. Perhaps a result of multiculturalism in general ?
I see it when no one bothers to grab a broom and clean the street after New Years. Something that was standard practice when I was growing up. We have seen a lot of riots from ‘left behind youth’ in Europe often migrant or mixed backgrounds with little prospects. You also see it in the USA the darker the neighborhood the more poor and run down and crime ridden it becomes. It is too simple to say this is the result of some invisible hand of a white man holding these blacks back from improving their neighborhoods. Especially when you see other racial minorities do better. It might be genetic and related to IQ and the (in)ability to not act impulsive and live in the moment, but instead plan for the future. Whites had to plan for the winter months or they would simply die. They had to build shelters and make warm clothes. Other races could simply survive all year round from what food nature provided them just pick it from a tree. It could even be dysgenics in general like in the movie Idiocracy that modern life allows people to survive and breed who would otherwise not be able to.

Rohland Martel

9th January 2020 at 3:59 pm

In fact average IQ’s in the West are falling.

Jim Lawrie

10th January 2020 at 11:10 am

They are falling fastest in places like Ireland and Scotland where the centuries long emigration of our best people has been compounded by the arrival of third worlders.

Jim Lawrie

9th January 2020 at 4:04 pm

Who is committing these acts?

Rohland Martel

9th January 2020 at 4:43 pm

I haven’t seen statistics but I fhink it is mostly immigrant youth , mostly but not exclusivly of a Muslim background most are non-white or mixed. If you read my comment I think we make a mistake to just focus on their religious background as the primary factor. Instead it might be better to look at genes , average IQ’s etc.

Ed Turnbull

9th January 2020 at 1:30 pm

Interesting, this article shines the torch upon the pachyderm in the room for the briefest instant, and then rapidly swings it away lest the proles see too much. But it’s too late: the proles can already see what’s happening, and who’s doing it.

The author claims there’s nothing but anecdote to suggest the perps are from ‘certain cultures’, and anecdote is all we’ll have as long as the authorities continue to ignore reality. This wilful ignorance has resulted in the proles electing Trump and Johnson (to name but two) – necessary correctives to the multicultural madness. But, if these populist political actors prove ineffective, I fear the proles may turn to less pleasant electoral options.

Brandy Cluster

9th January 2020 at 4:38 pm

If it’s NOT people from ‘other cultures’ it’s still the most massive co-incidence I’ve ever heard of!!!!

Marvin Jones

9th January 2020 at 12:52 pm

Steve’s comment below has stolen my thunder. Every problem over the last 10/15 years all over Europe and Britain, is due to mass uncontrolled migration. Beginning from 2004 under Blair the murderer of many thousands, but to rub the faces of the right in the sewage, through to Cameron and May, the intention was to just let them flood this country with absolutely no will to stop it or even ease this tsunami of dependant wretches, and then complain of the lack of housing and food banks. In every aspect of every machinations and workings of this country’s politics and economy, the problems begin with mass ultra migration.

steve moxon

9th January 2020 at 11:44 am

Not migrants?!
What continent are you on, Liam?! Evidently not Europe.
The disaster that is French mass immigration has led to migrant no-go areas for police ringing French cities, where every weekend large numbers of cars are set on fire.
This has been going on for years.
Sure, there are ‘anti-fascist’ (ha!) actually fascist Left, but not migrants?! Pull the other one.

steven brook

9th January 2020 at 10:29 am

“The right-wing bogeyman of ‘Islamic immigration’ ” It must be those bloody Quakers again!

Femxle Penis

9th January 2020 at 10:26 am

The likely fall out of this will be the reemergence of Big Brother, with fewer officers on the streets and with the threat to life, there will surveillance cameras everywhere in a few years.

Alley Kat

9th January 2020 at 1:41 pm

We’re thinking along the same lines…unsafe streets, rampant crime, no demographics of offenders….why not implement EU martial law which would require a federal army to uphold it?
They did it on the quiet in Catalonia to subdue the natives.

Brandy Cluster

9th January 2020 at 4:41 pm

And you forget the unmentioned consequence; perverse leniency in courts. The Left has a great deal to answer for.

Adamsson 66

9th January 2020 at 9:25 am

The answer is climate change that is always the answer when anything bad happens.

Ed Turnbull

9th January 2020 at 1:21 pm

Well done sir, I nominate your comment for thread winner.

Stephen J

9th January 2020 at 8:07 am

Well I reckon that the significant factor that has changed is the burgeoning of the European Union. The people that have taken charge, no longer represent the people that you think they do… Silly, you thought that they represented your local interests when really all they were interested in was your cheap labour, until they could find some one cheaper.

Globalism is NOT a valid system of civic management, it is a guarantor of misery.

Carrie Casey

9th January 2020 at 3:58 am

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