Taki

Elephant in the room

Broadsides from the pirate captain of the Jet Set

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Gstaad

Sorry to bore you, but more about Poles. In all the years I’ve been writing ‘High life’, no column of mine has had such a positive response as ‘Pole position’, of three weeks ago, which is a record for yours truly. Poles in general and Taki in particular are not everyone’s favourites, but this time it seems we’re suddenly the cat’s whiskers. Even here in Gstaad, the Mecca of the nouveaux riches and almost-famous, people have come up to me and thanked me for writing that the Poles are the best and bravest people in Europe. (I thank everyone who has written so kindly, especially Andrej Zatuski, who enclosed his very good book The Third Estate.) When Michael Howard recently said on Desert Island Discs that his grandmother perished in a Polish concentration camp, he meant a German-run camp in Poland, but his lax language had the opposite effect. Never mind. Howard has his own problems, starting with the EU. As long as he dithers, the Tories will remain irrelevant. Fish or cut bait, as they say in piscatorial circles, but when was the last time a politician gave a straight answer?

Diplomats, and Saudi diplomats in particular, are no better. Diplomatic immunity was never intended to shield child molesters, but this is what it’s come down to. The Saudi ambassador should hand the alleged molester over to the fuzz and be done with it. If the man is innocent, all well and good. Otherwise he should have the book thrown at him. (There will be more about a European child molester later on; for the moment I am gathering evidence from lawyers.) Like many people, I have Arab friends, but political correctness being what it is, I tremble every time I put pen to paper. Let’s take it from the top: at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, several Israeli athletes were massacred. In 1983, 241 American Marines were killed by a suicide bomber. In 1988, Pan-Am Flight 103 was blown up, killing 270 people. In 1993, there was the first bombing of the World Trade Center, and in 2001 it was reduced to rubble, killing more than 3,000. In 1998, US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, killing 200 and injuring more than 4,000. All these outrages were perpetrated by Muslims, many of whom had been financed, however indirectly, by Saudi Arabia, which has embraced the Wahhabi doctrine for decades, and continues to support it. Thanks to a conspiracy of silence, most of the world ignores the involvement of the Saudi government in promoting Wahhabism and its hatred of the West. I take second place to no one in my support for the Palestinian struggle, but the Saudi game is becoming a sick joke.

Mind you, most of these attacks were against Uncle Sam, and his reckless and short-sighted Middle East policies. Instead of President Bush calling in the Saudi ambassador to Washington and reading him the riot act, they go shooting together and pose for home movies. Wahhabi-sponsored terrorism will only be destroyed when Western governments develop alternative sources of energy and deprive the Saudis of the moolah to support home-bred fanatics. But don’t hold your breath. European intelligence chiefs smile and talk about the elephant in the room that politicians like to ignore: Islamist extremists who become European citizens and hold EU passports. These bums are not only active against us, they are also protected by laws that guarantee their freedom of speech and assembly. Do we wish our destruction or what?

Very depressing, I agree, but not half as depressing as the Sudanese genocide. After the second world war, the world said never again to genocide. But did the words ever carry real weight? In the 1970s as many as two million out of three million Cambodians were murdered by the homicidal Marxist regime of Pol Pot, but the perpetrators all died — or will die — in their beds once Uncle Sam decided they were a bulwark against the North Vietnamese. Talk about double standards. In the 1990s almost a million people were massacred in Rwanda, while the UN gave chic cocktail parties and was busy ripping up parking tickets issued against brave diplomats. Now Arab militias, supported by Khartoum, are carrying out mass murder against black Africans. The UN is finally doing something. It has decided to accept a few parking tickets issued against brave diplomats. As my father used to say, diplomats are very good at marrying rich women and making polite conversation at cocktail parties, but don’t ever expect them actually to do something.

So far, so bad. Next week I’m off to Athens and the Games. Yanna Angelopoulos, who has made this Olympiad possible, has asked me to attend the opening ceremony as her guest. I’ll most likely watch it on the telly. At my age seeing the Greek flag moves me to tears. Too many memories of hard-fought contests. But I will be at her dinner, following the opening, and will tell you all about it in future.