What if they were to come? Satan influences most of the nations of the Earth to gather for one final battle against "the camp of the saints," before being defeated for eternity: And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them. When the Belgian government realizes that the number of Indian children raised in Belgium has reached 40, 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.
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The premise, which has upset liberal commentators ever since publication, is apparently that a tide of refugees from the Third World arrive in Europe, who unwisely agrees to accept them, despite the fact that their resources are insufficient and it is not in their best interests. This duly ends up destroying European civilization.
The book has been generally labelled as racist, and, as a person with left-leaning sensibilities, my first reaction was indeed outrage. In the chess world, the central competition is the complicated series of elimination tournaments which culminate in the selection of a challenger for the World Championship.
This is very serious, and there is substantial money at stake: the prize for winning the final match can be as high as three million dollars, depending on the state of the world economy and the availability of suitable sponsors.
But, in parallel, there is the charming tradition of the Chess Olympiad, a world team event held every other year. Like the mainstream Olympic Games, this is an affirmation of community. Chessplayers from all over the world, from the most distinguished to the least significant, get together for two weeks and demonstrate their belief in the motto of the FIDE, the World Chess Federation: gens una sumus, we are all one kind.
However, when I say "from all over the world", I should add a caveat. Once you arrive the Olympic venue, you are given free board and lodging; but the travel costs for getting there and back have to be shouldered by the team in question. FIDE has member organizations, but only about would normally take part.
Fast forward to I do not know the details, but the intention was that teams who would not easily be able to pay would have the option of applying to have their flight tickets subsidized by the Norwegians.
Unsurprisingly, the result was that entries shot up; apparently teams have registered. Last week, the Norwegian organizers made a humiliating admission. They have applied to their government for extra funding, but have been publicly turned down.
The government minister in question seems rather annoyed about it, and says they needed to plan realistically based on the resources they were given. Attempts to find private sponsors have so far failed. At the moment, it is unclear whether the Chess Olympiad will go ahead. If you happen to know a chessplaying billionaire who wants to help out, please ask him to get in touch with the Norwegian organizers immediately.
It would be so nice to prove that this unpleasant French racist was wrong. Check out the rather sexist video here featuring a geeky male chessplayer and a cute girl acting as his barker.
Le camp des Saints, de Jean Raspail, un succès de librairie raciste?
The Camp of the Saints