If the past month has been chaotic in America, it has seen some bloody scenes here in Europe. On the morning of October 29, a 21-year old Tunisian national entered the Basilica of Notre Dame in Nice, France began knifing the three people he found there. He virtually severed the head of an elderly lady, stabbed an old man in the throat fatally, and then cut another lady sufficiently that while she escaped she succumbed to her wounds in a nearby café. Hastily summoned, the police shot the young man dead. That same day, here in Vienna, a mob of 50 Muslim youths invaded the Church of St. Anthony of Padua, kicked pews and a confessional, stormed around a bit shrieking “Allahu Akbar!” and then left.
Also here in Vienna, just a few days later on November 2 (All Souls Day, ironically) a twenty-year-old Macedonian Muslim went on a shooting spree in the tourist-filled First District, killing four and wounding 23 before being gunned down himself by police. Although the authorities declared that he had acted alone, they did arrest 14 people in the course of their enquiries.
While these particular woes may seem exotic, we have had a number of things occur in the past few months that shall make the exiled American feel far more at home. In the summer, there were BLM demonstrations—protesting both local and American Black grievances – in various parts of Europe. Although Britain was particularly hard hit by these, we did have some in Vienna. They culminated in a graffiti attack on the statue of Karl Lueger, a nineteenth-century Viennese mayor. Although Lueger had nothing to do with blacks, he did make anti-Jewish speeches; these apparently did not apply to those Jews to whom he gave civic positions. As if in sympathy, there have even been governmental attacks on Civil War monuments—albeit it was the Socialist regime in Madrid against that country’s Valley of the Fallen.