Bradley Moore, American Renaissance, December 4, 2019
Stephen Smith, The Scramble for Europe: Young Africa on Its Way to the Old Continent, John Wiley and Sons, 2019, 200 pp., $22.95.
Paul Theroux’s 2013 travelogue, The Last Train to Zona Verde, did not get the attention it deserved. Although Mr. Theroux tried to show Africa in an optimistic light, he could not help documenting the horrors of the continent and greater horrors that will come as the African population continues to explode.
The book is about an attempted solo journey from Cape Town to the Sahara Desert. In one memorable passage, Mr. Theroux described how Africans “lived among garbage heaps, plastic bottles soda cans, torn bags, broken chairs, dead dogs, rotting food, indefinable slop and their own scattered twists of excrement.” In Angola, he and an Angolan looked out on burning tires, open sewage, and the swarming slums of Luanda. “This is what the world will look like when it ends,” said the African. Mr. Theroux gave up on the trip long before he reached the Sahara.
In the last chapter, Mr. Theroux writes:
My horror-interest in the futureless, dystopian, world-gone-wrong, Mad Max Africa of child soldiers, street gangs, reeking slums, refuse heaps, utter despair, misplaced belief, new-age cargo cults, and bungled rescue attempts — this horror interest is rooted in detachment. It is unworthy, no more than idle, slightly sickening curiosity over modernity in its most odious form, the sort that technology worsens by making people lazier and greedier, tantalizing them with visions of the unattainable, driving many of them to be refugees and bludgers [deadbeats] in Europe and America. We have bestowed on Africa just enough of the disposable junk of the modern world to create in African cities a junkyard replica of the West, a mirror image of our own failures — but no better than that. Writing about it, choosing the urban landscape and urban misery as a subject, is something for an obituarist. Such a vision, or a visit, represents everything in travel I have always wished to escape.
If Mr. Theroux’s book is the “shot,” Stephen Smith’s The Scramble for Europe: Young Africa on its way to the Old Continent is the “chaser:” an unflinching look at the impending exodus of blacks fleeing the misery of Africa for a better life in Europe. This mass exodus — and what to do about it — are the fundamental questions of the 21st century, and will determine whether Europeans have a future, or whether their continent will become another version of Mad Max Africa.
Mr. Smith worked for years as a journalist for Le Monde and is a professor of African Studies at Duke University. The Scramble for Europe could alert Europeans and Americans to the coming African deluge and to the consequences of inaction. The statistics are sobering: 40 percent of Africa’s population of 1.25 billion people is under age 15. By 2050, the number of Africans will double to 2.5 billion, or five times the number of people projected to be living in Europe. Is it any wonder, given the portrait of Africa that Mr. Theroux paints, that millions — hundreds of millions — are desperate to leave?
Mr. Smith writes that the desire to leave Africa is powerful, and leaves two possible outcomes for Europe: First, the Eurafrica Solution, which “presupposes a reservoir of goodwill towards African immigrants, who are viewed as the last chance of investing the Old Continent with a younger, more diverse, and possibly more dynamic population.” Second, Fortress Europe, which would mean securing the borders. Mr. Smith notes that “there is a case to be made for it, and perhaps it has a reasonable chance of success.”
The book devotes many pages trying to answer the question: “Will Africa become Europe’s Mexico?” One way Africa-to-Europe migration resembles Mexico-to-America migration before the 1970s is the high smuggler fees. It costs between $3,000 and $5,000 for an African to sneak into Europe, so only the relatively prosperous can afford the trip. This used to be true for Mexicans, but as Mexico grew richer, more could afford to hire “coyotes.”
And that’s what they did. Between 1975 and 2014, close to 12 million Mexicans moved to the USA, and including children born here, the number of Mexican-Americans is now 37 million. That is roughly 11 percent of the US population.
Mr. Smith suggests that as Africans get richer, even more will come because they can afford the trip. If that happens, he writes, “At the end of a sustained African migratory wave, Europe’s population would include some 150 to 200 million African-Europeans, both immigrants and their children, compared with just nine million today” — that’s a 20-fold increase by 2050. Mr. Smith does not speculate about what would happen to the parts of France, Germany, Italy, Britain, or Spain that become heavily African. Still, we must be grateful that a man of his stature sees Europe’s options so clearly.
Mr. Smith concludes his book with a question: “I often found myself wondering how different Africa would be if all that energy expended to leave the continent were turned inward. What would that look like?” Mr. Theroux has already told us.
National Review, has long derided the idea of The Great Replacement, but it published a review of The Scramble for Europe, in which Christopher Caldwell wrote about the turmoil Africans have caused in Europe:
There are a billion more where those came from. And how Europe addresses African migration is going to determine what the population of the continent looks like a generation from now. Since the turn of the century, Europeans have been faced with the most basic question about their future: whether they have one.
Of course, Europe will not be Africans’ only destination. They will risk their lives to get into every successful white country, with the greatest pressure on those, such as the United States, that are easiest to get into.
The great virtue of The Scramble for Europe is that it can reach many people who never read dissident authors and do not think in terms of race. Let us hope that its scholarly but stark depiction of the choice Europe must face will open the eyes of at least some of its readers to the reality and significance of race.