About sixty minutes was all it took for 129 mainly young people to die and for another 352 to be wounded, their bodies raked by bullets and shrapnel, as Islamic fanatics, their hearts black with hate for the infidel and his depraved Western civilisation, fired off round after round from their ubiquitous AK47s and casually tossed grenades into the piles of wounded afterwards just in case some were still alive. This latest attack, Paris’s second in a year and one of the worst terrorist atrocities committed in modern Europe, was an Islamic declaration of war, and one that the West must respond to. The Clash of Civilisations, so long predicted and so long avoided, is finally upon us and to win this war the West will have to become what it has so long feared to be, a people whose belief in their culture, faith and values is as strong as our enemies is in their religion. Strong enough in fact to wipe ISIS and radical Islam off the face of the earth or at least drive it out of Europe. Anything less and Europe at least will be lost to Islamic barbarism for centuries.
For years those who have decried Islam and warned of its slow encroachment and insidious usurping of our culture have been dismissed as racists, Islamophobes and fascists while Islamic appeasers, multicultural zealots and politically correct apologists have paved the way for the West’s pending subjugation. Indeed ever since the Iranian revolution in 1979 when the Shah, a Western backed puppet, was left dangling while the West effectively betrayed him and his westernised country, abet a corrupt and shabby interpretation of one, and left Iran to its fate while the Ayatollah’s  revolutionary guards did their stuff, we have misjudged and misunderstood the Islamic world and the Middle East in particular. No more so than in our ludicrous embracing and encouraging of the Arab Spring, which led, body-part by bloody body-part, to the Friday 13th massacres in Paris.
Rarely has the West’s liberal intelligentsia shown itself to be more self serving than over the Arab Spring, where, from its first stirrings in Tunisia which saw President Zine El Abiding Ben Ali pack his bags and flee to Saudi Arabia, Western governments have dumped old and loyal allies and thrown in their lot with the new kids on the chopping block. Seemingly with little or no understanding of who the trendy ‘rebels’ are or what a new government created by these romanticized ’freedom fighters’ would  look like? Or indeed what kind of society would emerge by overthrowing the existing regime? 
To the dreamers that make up much of the West’s liberal Establishment or among the Young Turks that swan around Washington’s Capital Hill clutching their iPhones and whooping at every Arab Spring posting on Twitter; Tunisia would become a democratic wonderland full of Starbuck cafés where the bright young things of the day could discuss new ideas like LGBT rights, Safe Place Apps and Global Warming. This was just too wonderful! And it was….
After Tunisia came Egypt’s moment and following a big ballyhoo in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, lots of shouting, a police charge on Camel back, Egypt’s 30-year rule by President Hosni Mubarak, ended. Mubarak, who had supported the Allies in the first Iraq war and committed Egyptian troops in the 
campaign to liberate Kuwait, who had risked assassination several times by his opposition to radical
Islamist movements, and made treaties with Israel. Who had, in fact, proved himself a reliable ally to the West on many, many occasions and a stabilising factor in a region known for its volatility was 
effectively sacrificed on the alter of Western liberal ideology and hypocrisy. 
For while Mubarak’s regime was plagued with corruption and allegations of brutality against his opponents this had not prevented the West from maintaining good relations with Mubarak, who was generally viewed favourably by Western governments up until the Arab Spring. So it was vaguely revolting to see Prime Minister Cameron on the first flight out to greet the military rulers who were keeping the lid on things following the ousting of Mubarak. Britain he said was a true friend to Egypt, though he should perhaps have prefaced that with fair-weather. Cameron also said that “there really must be a move to civilian and democratic rule as part of this important transition to an open, democratic and free Egypt.” Hurrah! 
Not to be left out, a more cautious Hillary Clinton visited Egypt two months later, saying that the 
US was committed to seeing true democracy in Egypt led by a government that reflected the true
diversity of Egypt’s peoples. It was a pity then that that the Egyptian people voted in the Islamist Egyptian Brotherhood party and that within a year the newly elected President Morsi would be deposed and arrested by Army chiefs along with thousands of his supporters, hundreds of whom would be executed. 
This great democratic experiment in one of the most important countries in the Middle East has seen a relatively stable and prosperous Arab country reduced to being run by a military dictatorship, while an ISIS backed insurgency grows in the Sinai region. Its tourist industry is ruined and the country is increasingly riven by strife and the threat of violence and, surprisingly, Prime Minister David Cameron, Egypt’s great ‘friend’ is nowhere to be found. 
After the toppling of President Mubarak, the West’s crusader liberal evangelists were on a roll and 
encouraged uprisings everywhere, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria were now in their sights. Even
Saudi Arabia was talked about in hushed whispers, if Libya could fall …. then why not the House of Saud, the Mordor of dictatorships gasped the Young Turks.
By now though street protests and catchy hashtags on Twitter had given way to bullets and baton rounds. Yet still the West encouraged dissent, and when it came to Libya we wanted to join in.  
France, England and the US committed jets and led a bombing campaign against government buildings and the forces of Colonel Gaddafi with the result that, a few months later, a terrified Gaddafi was shown being roughed up and shot by a mob of jeering rebel soldiers. Hurrah!
Again, seemingly drunk on the heady mix of revolution and victory, Prime Minister Cameron, along 
with France’s Nicolas Sarkozy flew straight out to Tripoli to big it up with Libya’s gun-totting rebels.
Here, surrounded by armed men and the world’s press, Cameron spewed forth, what, even
then seemed like absolute drivel, and now, with the benefit of hindsight, was madness:
“The Arab Spring is a massive opportunity to spread peace, prosperity, democracy
and vitally security, but only if we really seize it”
The Libya rebels of course seized the opportunity with both hands, murdering opponents, grabbing and selling weapons, fighting amongst themselves, murdering the US’s ambassador, Chris Stevens,
in Benghazi, and generally creating a lawless and ungovernable Hell-hole on the edge of Europe. A Libyan Hell-hole that ISIS started moving into about three years ago and of which they now control a sizeable and growing section around the coastal city of Sirte, which no doubt David Cameron will be visiting soon to explain the marvels of democracy to those citizens that still have heads. 
It was in Syria though that the West’s addiction to spreading democracy amongst Muslim peoples
with no tradition of democracy reached its nemesis. Here President Assad, who has presided over Syria for some 15 years and where, in the historic city of Damascus in an area once known as the Cradle of Civilisation, he allowed all faiths, Christian, Jew, Muslim to worship, and where alcohol was permitted and where, for most, life was pretty tolerable. However Assad is a dictator; Syrian elections allow for no opposition and his regime, like Saddam Hussein’s in Iraq, is Ba’athist, in that it follows an Arab nationalist ideology and allows for no criticism. It can also be brutal in its suppression of opponents but as in Iraq, for the majority of its citizens life was stable, and for many good. 
In fact Syria and Assad, again like Iraq and its former ruler Saddam Hussein, posed no threat to the West, yet buoyed up on Arab Spring mania the West stirred up opposition groups to Assad and egged on the protestors who rapidly went from throwing stones to firing guns and the regime did the same. The West’s liberal pack had now created what they wanted, a civil war against a ’fascist’ style dictator, this was Spain 1936 all over again, with Assad in the role of Franco and updated for the 21st century. 
With Syria, Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron wrapped in the flag of democratic self-righteousness, was on the attack straight away saying to the United Nations in 2012; “Those who look at Syria today and blame the Arab Spring have got it the wrong way around. You cannot blame the people for the behaviour of a brutal dictator. The responsibility lies with the dictator”
A year later Cameron would go on to propose, as with Libya, bombing Syria to help the ‘rebels’ remove Assad. However, unlike with Libya, by 2013 even the most fanatical supporters of the Arab Spring could see that their Spring was turning rapidly to Winter. Further, the Syrian rebels, who the West were arming indiscriminately, were committing atrocities against Christians, destroying villages and butchering captured Assad soldiers. So much so that Russia’s President Putin described the rebels as animals and for the first time the West had doubts over who these ‘rebels;’ were.
Then one of the more shadowy rebel groups fighting in Syria called the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate, merged with another, even shadowier group, led by a Wahhabi/Salafi jihadist extremist called Abu Bakr ak-Baghdadi. This merger initially went relatively unnoticed in Western circles, which is a pity as the new rebel groups name was: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL… Now generally known as ISIS this shadowy group is now on a major tour, shooting up cities in Europe and downing airliners. Its followers wear chic black clothes, are wizard on social media, and are known to take a dim view of gay men, women, Christians and non-believers generally, often removing their heads. 
Yet the West, despite helping to create ISIS, destabilising large parts of the Middle East and as a result causing the worst refugee crisis since World War 2 the West continues to avoid tackling the 
growing elephant in the room, Islam, preferring instead to skirt around the issue by hiding in safe places on social media and creating inane visual memes and soft, comforting phrases. As if by giving each other linguistic hugs ISIS will go away. 
Thus within minutes of the Paris attacks beginning, the victims of the attack were busy creating Paris hashtags, illuminating buildings in the colours of France’s flag, denouncing any criticisms of Muslims as racist, and designing a Paris victims peace sign with the Eiffel Tower as its centre. People loved it and the attack’s victims, that is, us, ensured that it went viral. As if by pouring our grief into creativity we could  defeat or pacify our enemies. 
We cannot. Radical Islam hates the West, it hates our culture, our weaknesses and our beliefs. It has no love of art, poetry, literature or music. It hates it. It loathes our heritage and will destroy our libraries, our art galleries, our museums and the places where we entertain each other. It will burn and eradicate all that is not Islam and kill or enslave all those who will not convert or bow to the sword of Islam and it will stamp on your hashtags and pretty logos. That is what is coming. That is what a Clash of Civilisations means.
We created this mess by our meddling, by our ludicrous support of the Arab Spring and by our arrogance and we have to make it right or ISIS, or its successors, will destroy us and all that we love unless we are prepared to fight to save it. To preserve what our ancestors created. If not, then we deserve what’s coming and no amount of hashtags and clever graphics will save us then.
©Nigel Wingrove 2016