The original interview found here is in French and translated here
He is a man of advanced age, dressed in a green jumper jacket with epaulettes, who apologizes in advance for the words he will not find and the memory that will sometimes fail him. It emanates from him some anxiety at the idea of talking about the book of his life. Physically, it seems yet strong standing on both bowed legs, small mustache at attention you. Before sitting down us at the table in her living room, where he posed coquettishly, like an on-tablecloth, a small marine square, Jean Raspail like to show us around his library, which occupies a room of his apartment in the 17th arrondissement Paris. Giono, Modiano, Cau, Camus, Volkoff … Jean Raspail, which enjoys the title of Consul General of Patagonia, collecting as many books – hundreds, not counting those in the cellar – as miniature boats and toy soldiers Vendée. His book The Camp of the Saints has been translated into German – after a reissue (Robert Laffont) in France in 2011 – and met, according to its author, “a good home” in Germany. Speaking of home, we discuss with him the crisis of migrants, the fear and the hope they inspire to some, the genesis of his book, a true “prophetic” work for part of the French extreme right … Interview.
The Point.fr: We owe you the Camp of the Saints, a book published in 1972 recounting the massive arrival of migrants on the coasts of the Mediterranean that some on the far right view, even more so since the refugee crisis, Visionaries … What does that inspire you?
Jean Raspail: This crisis is especially migrants end to thirty years of insults and slander against my person. I was fascist treated for this novel as a hate book …
The are you racist?
No, not at all ! We can not have traveled all his life, be a member of the Society of French explorers, having met umpteen of endangered peoples, and racist. That seems difficult. Upon its release in 1972, the book has greatly shocked, and for good reason. There was a period, in particular under the seven-Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, which was exercised a real intellectual terrorism against the right-wing writers.
An “intellectual terrorism”, already?
Yes I do. I was insulted, dragged through the mud then it is gently compacted. For, little by little, we started to live the situation I describe in this book. A number of intellectuals, including Left, acknowledged that there was some truth in what I preach. Bertrand Poirot-Delpech, who had me down in Le Monde at the exit of the book, said in an article in the same journal in 1998 that I was finally right. Now it’s over.
The Camp of the Saints also inspired the rejection, as the mention of your name …
Among the irreducible anti-Raspail, he hardly left but Laurent Joffrin (Liberation boss, Ed). Him, there is nothing to do, he continued to spit at me, it’s stronger than him. But my friend Denis Tillinac undertakes to respond. I’m not vindictive. I am now in my rightful place.
If this book is not racist, how would you?
This is an amazing book.
This book was born strangely. Before him, I had written books of travel and little success stories. I was in the South, one day in 1972, an aunt of my wife, near Saint Raphael, in Vallauris. I had a desk with a sea view and I thought: “What if they arrive? “That” they “was first undefined. Then I imagined the Third World would rush in this blessed country is France. This is an amazing book. It was long to write, but he came alone. I stopped in the evening, I resumed the next morning without knowing where I was going. There is inspiration in this book that is foreign to me. I do not say it is divine, but strange.
It is something that you had not anticipated, is the rejection aroused by this book upon its release …
When my editor Robert Laffont, an apolitical man, read the manuscript, he was very excited and did not find a comma to change. Besides, I have not changed anything.
It is a book that would have been possible today?
Initially, The Camp of the Saints did not. For at least five or six years, it has stagnated. It is not sold. After three years, suddenly, the sales figure increased. Success came by word of mouth and through the promotion made of it by right-wing writers. Until, in 2001, a ship ran aground Kurdish refugees in Boulouris near Saint Raphael, just meters from the office where I wrote The Camp of the Saints! This case was a terrible hay in the area. So, we again spoke of my book, and he hit a wide audience. It was the beginning of a maritime arrival of people from elsewhere. I’m a little ashamed, because when there is a wave of migrants, it is reprinted. It is consubstantial of what is happening.
Is it a political book?
Maybe a little, yes. The last four of loyal fighters and is composed of patriots, attached to the identity and terroir. They rebelled against the general brotherhood and miscegenation …
You defend yourself from being extreme right, but your book tract value in certain xenophobic movements. You deplore?
You talk about the extreme of the extreme right! It’s possible that this book is exploited and there may be, at times, excessive language. I can do nothing. Furthermore, I do not go on the Internet, I have not entered the twenty-first century, I do not know what it says. Personally, I’m right, and you do not mind me saying. I even “right-right”.
Say to the right of Juppé. I am first a free man, not beholden to a party. I patrol the edges.
Not always, I am a royalist. I vote in the final round of presidential elections. I do not vote on the left, it is a certainty.
Have you considered writing a sequel to Camp of the Saints?
It is certain that there will be one, but it will not be me. Does it happen before the big general upheaval? I’m not sure of it.
In your book you mention the character “fierce” of migrants. But today we see that those who come from Syria or elsewhere do not have the knife between his teeth …
What is currently happening is not important, it is anecdotal, because we are only at the beginning. Right now, everybody speaks about it, there are thousands of experts in the field of migrants, it is a chaos of comments. None place in the 35 years to come. The situation we are living is lower compared to what awaits us in 2050. There will be 9 billion people on earth. Africa rose from 100 million to one billion people in a century, and perhaps double in 2050. Would the world will be livable? Overcrowding and religious wars make the delicate situation. This is when flooding will occur, which will be inevitable. The migrants come mostly from Africa, the Middle East and the borders of Asia …
Should we fight evil at the root and bomb strategic points Daesh as just done France?
That’s their problem, not ours. This does not concern us. What have we been doing in this story? Why do we want to play a role? They are doing! We once removed from these areas, why come back?
And what do you do when an attack orders against France passed from Syria?
Is blocked. Entries are prevented in French territory. The policies have no solution to this problem. It’s like debt, we refile it to our grandchildren. It will be for our grandchildren to manage this massive migration problem.
The Catholic Church is not at all on this wavelength. It invites the faithful to be generous …
I wrote that Christian charity suffer a little in front responses to cope with the influx of migrants. It will harden the heart and remove itself any sort of compassion. If anything, our country will be submerged.
Deny welcoming all, including Christians of the East?
Possibly because they are closest to the West because of their religion. This is why many French people wish to admit. France, the country with no religious beliefs, shows that the background Western Civilization is a Christian background. People, even if they no longer go to Mass and do not practice, react according to this Christian background.