Friday, July 15, 2011

Where's the Varangian Guard when you need them?

There are few military forces in history as weird as the Varangian Guard.  Viking mercenaries from Scandinavia who worked their way through Russia to Constantinople into the army of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, where they became a sort of medieval Praetorian Guard of the Roman Emperors.  Their mere presence signified that the Emperor was personally involved.  They were famous for their fierceness, bravery, effectiveness in combat, colorful clothes and very large axes.  And drinking.

They had a hand in defending the Eastern Roman Empire from Arab Muslim incursions, be it in Sicily or in the Eastern Mediterranean.  They were chopped to pieces at the Battle of Manzikert but were reconstituted enough to make a futile effort to defend Constantinople from the Venetian-sponsored invaders of the Fourth Crusade.  After the fall of Constantinople to and subsequent sack by the Fourth Crusade -- the true cause of the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire to the Turks later on -- the Varangian Guard seemed to disappear.  They may have been disbanded or the reconstituted Eastern Roman government may not have been able to afford them.

Whatever the reason, it seems the Varangian Guard may be needed back in Norway:

Taken together, two seemingly unrelated news stories from Norway paint a grim picture of that city’s future.
First, you need to know that Oslo is a sprawling, low-lying city, more of a small-scale Los Angeles than a small-scale New York.  Out on its eastern flank is a large valley called Groruddalen which, a few years ago, was a sleepy mishmash of industry and suburban apartment blocks.  It is now quickly becoming an urban center all its own.  It is said that if current trends continue, Groruddalen will, within a couple of decades, dwarf downtown Oslo itself as a population center.
One not-so-little detail: the reason for Groruddalen’s rapid growth is that it is a destination for new Muslim immigrants.  Groruddalen is, in short, a Muslim enclave in the making.
This is a first for Oslo.  Other cities in Europe already have Muslim enclaves — neighborhoods that are “no-go” areas for non-Muslims and that Muslim leaders consider autonomous or semi-autonomous territories, subject to sharia law and to the dictates of local imams.  In these areas, young men terrorize police officers or firefighters or ambulance workers who dare to cross into their territory.  Sharia dress codes are strictly enforced.  And cars are set on fire.
Until recently, by the strictest definition, Oslo hasn’t really had a Muslim enclave.  Yes, it has neighborhoods — Grønland, Tøyen — that are heavily Muslim.  There are parts of these neighborhoods where you wouldn’t want to venture at night, or perhaps even in the day.  And even in broad daylight, on a crowded major artery, a gay couple, say, would be well advised not to walk hand-in-hand.  But until recently, as I say, Oslo hasn’t had anything you could unequivocally call a “no-go” area.
In the last couple of years, however, it’s been clear that Groruddalen is fast approaching that status. The rise in Muslim population in the valley has been accompanied by a variety of challenging developments, including gang wars and a rise in rapes and other violent crimes.  The newspapers increasingly report on donnybrooks involving dozens of Muslim gang members; these often take place at or neat the subway station in Ellingsrudåsen, a neighborhood in Groruddalen.
Yet another grim indication that the day of reckoning is near appeared in the July 11 issue of VG. The night before, it was reported, something had happened that is unprecedented in Oslo: eleven cars had been set on fire in Ellingsrudåsen.  All of them had been destroyed, and three others had sustained fire damage.  The same night, another fire in the same area destroyed a car and Moped.
You’ve read about the large-scale torching of cars in the suburbs of Paris — crimes that the authorities seem powerless to stop, crimes that are the very symbol of the chaos into which the City of Light, among many other civilized metropolises, is sinking?  Well, this is how it starts.
Oh dear.  Surely, the police can handle this.  Wait! They don't have police ...?

[...] Norway, although a rich nation, has chosen not to spend much of its wealth on law and order.  Talk to Norwegian politicians, professors, and journalists and you’ll soon discover that there’s a lingering sixties-ish view of the police as fascist pigs. [...]
Even so, it was a surprise to read on July 11 — the same day that the newspapers reported the car fires — that out of 430 new graduates of the Norwegian Police University College, only fourteen have been offered jobs on a police force anywhere in the country.  Fourteen!
How bad is it?
A few months ago, when I called the Oslo police and asked them to send over a couple of cops for what I considered an important matter, I was told that they wouldn’t be able to dispatch anybody for several days; when I attempted to explain the urgency of the situation, the policewoman on the phone was apologetic but explained that their resources were paper-thin: at the moment, in the whole of Oslo, she volunteered, there was only a single patrol car cruising the streets.
This is sounding like RoboCop's Detroit.  Or Demolition Man's Los Angeles.
So here’s what we’ve got: a huge part of the national capital that is actively severing itself from the larger community and social order — and a national government that, instead of responding to this aggression with assertive policing, has chosen to steadily cut down on the strength of its police.  All I can say is that if you were a government official and you wanted the Islamists to take control of large swaths of the country, this is exactly how you’d go about letting it happen.
Not that I consider Norwegian leaders to be guilty of treason, of consciously aiding and abetting the forces of sharia.  No, they’re just unwitting allies — useful idiots.  They’re socialist fools who believe that a low-level police presence is the sign of an advanced, peaceful society — and all of whom, not coincidentally, live in parts of Oslo that are a long way from Groruddalen.
Unfortunately, that's happening all over Europe, especially Paris and London.

And it's coming to the United States.

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