When Stephen Bannon, the mastermind behind President Donald Trump’s white nationalist ideology, calls legal immigration a problem or compares migration to invasion, he is not talking about how asylum seekers will inadvertently disrupt the Western society and its norms.
What he really means is the non-white refugees are only using war and genocide in their homelands as an excuse to come to Europe and America. He believes these people have purely evil intentions of destroying the white civilization and subsequently ruling them — or something along those lines.
The evidence behind this claim lies in his quote from a 2015 interview with then-Sen. Jeff Sessions.
“It’s been almost a ‘Camp of the Saints’-type invasion into central and then western and northern Europe,” Bannon said of the migrant crisis.
On another occasion, he remarked, “The whole thing in Europe is all about immigration. It’s a global issue today, this kind of global ‘Camp of the Saints.’”
What is it?
“The Camp of the Saints” is not a historic event — it is an incredibly racist 1973 French novel, which did not get much mainstream appreciation (or acknowledgement, for that matter) but its appalling and horrific depiction of the non-white population made it cult classic among far-right wingers and ultra-conservatives.
It is revered among people like Bannon, the holy warmongers and the fundamentalists, who treat it like some sacred scripture and cite it to rationalize their nationalism.
What is the “Camp of the Saints” about?
As the Huffington Post explained, the dystopian novel is set in the 20th century and follows the story of impoverished Indian immigrants who set sail for France with a man — or a monster, as portrayed by author Jean Raspail — named “turd eater” leading them.
On the surface, they act like a group of poor people seeking a better life, but in reality, the immigrants are set to obliterate the Western civilization. The antagonist, with the help of a deformed and apparently psychic child, leads an “armada” of 800,000 Indians to French shores.
Meanwhile, the European politicians and religious leaders waste time and debate whether to accept the refugees or, you know, kill them — because apparently those are the only two options the author believed they had.
The next thing they know, the armada reaches France and kills all those naïve and compassionate white folks who had gathered on the shore to welcome them. The Indians kill the men and take the women hostage, treating them like prostitutes.
That’s not it.
While Indians were trampling the French, the rest of the non-white population saw it as a signal to revolt.
Chinese immigrants attack Siberia, the African-American residents of New York City’s Harlem pour into the mayor’s office and pressure him to adopt a black family, while immigrants in the United Kingdom forcefully make the Queen marry her daughter to a Pakistani.
To put it simply, the novel described people of color as grotesque creatures, the deformed monsters who hurt their kin for pleasure and the sexual deviants who are truly disgusting in every sense of the word.
Whereas the author portrayed white “heroes” as defenders of Christianity, the only humans in the book fighting to defend themselves from the abhorrent foreigners.
It is cringe-worthy and despicable and the fact that someone so powerful and influential like the former Breitbart chief loves the book and uses it to justify his xenophobia and anti-immigrant stance is just stunningly disturbing.
Here are a few excerpts from the “The Camp of the Saints” to put things into perspective.
This how the author introduced South Asians:
“And you know what they'll do with your goddamn shoes? They'll probably use them to piss in. Or maybe they'll eat them. Because they all go barefoot!”
Here is what the novel said about the Asians:
“Don't be fooled by those sweet little tots, those clean-cut girls and boys, those helpless looking women! You can bet when we shoot up that crowd each one we kill will find just the right dramatic pose before they fall in a heap. Anything to impress us.”
And the African-Americans:
“There was really no solution. Black would be black, and white would be white. There was no changing either, except by a total mix, a blend into tan. They were enemies on sight, and their hatred and scorn only grew as they came to know each other better.”
About the “refugees” arriving in France:
“Unless the government orders the army to take all possible steps to prevent this landing, it's the duty of every citizen with any feeling for his culture, his race, his religion and traditions, not to think twice, but to take up arms himself. Even Paris, our own beloved Paris, has already been besieged by the henchmen of the invader.”
Is this how Bannon and others like him perceive the world?
In 1975, The Wall Street Journal said the novel “has moments of appalling power and occasionally a terrible beauty.”
Almost 30 years later, National Review founder and revered conservative William F. Buckley called it “a great novel.”
In 2005, conservative author and commentator Chilton Williamson described it as “magnificent” and “moving.”
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Joshua Roberts