In April 1968, only days after Dr. King had been assassinated and riots had erupted in 100 American cities, there arose in England to raise the alarm on the explosive issue of immigration from the Third World a hero of the war and scholar of the classics, the Tory shadow minister of state for defense, Enoch Powell.
"The supreme function of statesmanship," Powell began, "is to provide against preventable evils. ... The discussion of future grave but, with effort now, avoidable evils is the most unpopular and at the same time the most necessary occupation for the politician."
"Only resolute and urgent action," said Powell, could avert the "horror" unfolding on the far side of the Atlantic. As he spoke, the immigrant flow into Britain from the Commonwealth nations of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean was 50,000 a year, a trickle compared to the 1.2 million legal and illegal aliens who have been entering the United States every year for a generation.
Powell warned that if stern action were not taken to stem the tide, by 2000, 5 million to 7 million Third World people would be there.
"It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre," Powell thundered. Then he spoke the words that ended his brilliant career: "As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood.'"
Powell was instantly gone from the shadow cabinet, dropped by Edward Heath for what that future prime minister called a speech "racialist in tone, and liable to exacerbate racial tensions."
Five years after Powell's "Rivers of Blood" speech, French writer Jean Raspail stunned Europe with his allegory, "Le Camp Des Saints."
Raspail described a "Last Chance Armada" of a million diseased and destitute from the hellholes of Calcutta who embark aboard a fleet of leaky and decrepit ships and steer round the Cape of Good Hope to Europe -- to be taken in, or die. As the armada enters the Mediterranean and reaches the Riviera, the French government, awash in humanitarian liberalism, refuses to repel the invaders and invites them in. Around the world, the wretched of the earth watch the television reports, and wait. When the Last Chance Armada triumphs, they emerge in an orgy of looting, rape and pillage to overrun the fat rich lands of the West, "the Camp of the Saints."
Though many reviewers were repelled, the novel was a smashing success, with some comparing Raspail's work to Camus' "The Plague" and Swift's "Gulliver's Travels." "One of the most chilling books of this generation," wrote James J. Kilpatrick. "Our children and grandchildren may soon discover that Jean Raspail wrote not fiction, but fact."
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