The Camp of the Saints  

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"Can either Europe or the United States stem the migrant tide? France has experienced a significant strand of demographic pessimism, stretching from the searing novel of Jean Raspail in the 1970s to the scholarly analysis of Jean-Claude Chesnais in the 1990s and summed up in the 1991 comments of Pierre Lellouche: “History, proximity and poverty insure that France and Europe are destined to be overwhelmed by people from the failed societies of the south. Europe’s past was white and Judeo-Christian. The future is not.”"--Clash of Civilizations (1996) by Samuel Huntington

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Camp of the Saints (Le Camp des Saints) is a 1973 French novel by author and explorer Jean Raspail. The novel depicts a setting wherein Third World mass immigration to France and the West leads to the destruction of Western civilization. Almost forty years after its initial publication, the novel returned to the bestseller list in 2011.

Plot

In Calcutta, India, Catholic priests promote the adoption of Indian children by those back in Belgium as a form of charity. When the Belgian government realizes that the number of Indian children raised in Belgium has reached 40,000 in just five years, an emergency policy attempts to halt the migration. Desperate for the chance to send their children to what they call a "land of plenty", a mob of desperate Indians swarms the consulate. As a Belgian aid worker works through the crowd, an Indian gong farmer begs him to take them back to Europe, to which the worker agrees.

The worker and farmer bring the crowd to the docks, where there are hundreds of ships once owned by European powers, now suited only for river traffic. Nevertheless, the crowd boards, and a hundred ships soon leave for Europe; conditions on board are cramped, unsanitary and miserable, with some passengers publicly fornicating. As the ships pass "the straits of Ceylon", helicopters swarm overhead, capturing images of the refugees on board to be published in Europe. Meanwhile, on the Russian Far East, the Soviet troops see masses of Chinese ready to enter Siberia but are reluctant to fight them.

As the fleet crosses the Indian Ocean, the political situation in France becomes more charged. At a press conference about the crisis, a French official who offers a speech in praise of the refugees is confronted by a journalist who claims he is merely trying to "feed the invaders" and demands to know if France will "have the courage to stand up to" the migrants when they reach France. The official decries this question as morally offensive and threatens to throw the journalist out when he continues to yell. Other journalists seek to inflame tensions between the French and Africans and Arabs already living in the country. Over time, these journalists begin to write that the migrant fleet is on a mission to "enrich, cleanse and redeem the Capitalist West". At the same time as the fleet is praised by those in Paris, the people of Southern France, terrified of the migrants' arrival, flee to the north.

As the fleet approaches the Suez Canal, Egyptian forces fire a warning shot, causing the fleet to steer south, around the Cape of Good Hope. To the surprise of observers, the apartheid government of South Africa floats out barges of food and supplies, which the migrants throw overboard. The international press is thrilled, believing the rejection of these supplies to be a political statement against the apartheid South African government. Western leaders, confident the refugees will accept supplies from their "more virtuous" nations, organize a supply mission, funded by governments, charities and major churches, to meet the refugees off São Tomé. However, the fleet doesn't stop for these barges either, and when a worker from the Papal barge attempts to board one of the ships, he is strangled and thrown overboard. The press attempts to contain coverage of the disaster.

When the migrants pass through the Strait of Gibraltar, the President orders troops to the south and addresses the nation of his plan to repel the migrants. However, in the middle of the address, he breaks down, demands the troops simply follow their consciences instead. Most of the troops immediately desert their posts and join the civilians as they flee north, and the south is quickly overrun by the migrants. Some of the last troops to stand their ground take refuge in a small village, along with Calguès, an old man who has chosen to remain at his home, and Hamadura, a Westernized Indian who is terrified of his "filthy, brutish" countrymen and prides himself on having more in common with whites than Indians. The troops in this village remains the last defense against the immigrants.

The migrants make their way north, having no desire to assimilate to French culture, but continuing to demand a First World standard of living, even as they flout laws, do not produce, and murder French citizens, such as factory bosses and shopkeepers. They are also joined by the immigrants who already reside in the Europe, as well as various left-wing and anarchist groups. Across the West, more and more migrants arrive and have children, rapidly growing to outnumber whites. In a matter of months, the white West has been overrun. The village containing the troops is bombed flat by airplanes of the new French government, referred to only as the "Paris Multiracial Commune". In a few years, most Western governments have surrendered. The mayor of New York City is made to share Gracie Mansion with three families from Harlem, the Queen of the United Kingdom must agree to have her son marry a Pakistani woman, and only one drunken Soviet soldier stands in the way of thousands of Chinese peasants as they flee into Siberia.

The epilogue reveals that the story was written in the last holdout of the Western world, Switzerland, but international pressure from the new governments, isolating it as a rogue state for not opening its borders, and the internal pro-migrant elements force it to capitulate as well. Mere hours from the border opening, the author dedicates the book to his grandchildren, in the hopes they will grow up in a world where they will not be ashamed of him for writing such a book.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Camp of the Saints" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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