London: Look Beyond the Olympic Lights

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London: Look Beyond the Olympic Lights

England’s majestic capital isn’t what it seems.
From the August 2012 Trumpet Print Edition

The eyes of the world are fixed on London.

In a normal year, London attracts 13 million overseas visitors, more than Paris or New York. An additional 260,000 are expected for the Olympics. It has the sixth-largest city economy in the world. Judging by appearances, it seems that London, as its mayor recently boasted, is “the greatest city on Earth!”

Of course, London is as comfortable in the spotlight as an Englishman operating a teapot. For centuries, this city was the heart of Western civilization, the magnificent centerpiece of the British Commonwealth, from which the British peoples shared with the world the best of English civilization: its language, literature, banking, trade and commerce, industry, justice, Common Law, representative government and Protestantism.

Joseph Conrad called the mighty Thames the “waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the Earth,” upon which floated the “dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires.” Samuel Johnson said, “By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show.”

To Johnson and many others, the capital of the British Empire was life. It was the center of the world, the essence of civilization, the core of intellectual and political life, the nucleus of global trade and commerce, and the acme of Western class, sophistication and culture. Though it certainly had its shadows—what city does not?—London was once, by virtually all measures, the world’s greatest city—a symbol of the greatest empire in human history.

Watching the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, it will seem as if nothing has changed. On television and within the athletes’ village and tourist spots, London will appear a vivacious city bursting with life and excitement. Symbols of its majestic history—Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace—stand tall, graceful and immovable against a 21st-century backdrop of dazzling wealth and modernity.

But the truth is, the aura of sophistication and class is a veneer. Look a little ways beyond the Olympic lights—take a 10-minute tube ride to one of London’s less-touristy, more “ethnic” boroughs, stroll the city streets late on a Friday night, visit virtually any of its schools—and it’s obvious the city isn’t what it seems.

London is indeed a symbol—a symbol of a dying empire.

The Enemy Within

London has always been a cosmopolitan city. During the height of British rule, thousands of boats from Africa, Asia, South America, the Caribbean, the South Pacific and almost everywhere else docked on the banks of the Thames. Off stepped passengers of every race, color, culture and creed. Yet, despite the diversity, London remained culturally and ideologically homogenous, a distinctly English city.

Today, virtually the only testaments to London’s English heritage are its architecture, structures, statues and museums. In almost every other way—culturally, demographically, racially and politically—London feels increasingly foreign to the English. And of all the peoples filling its streets, including Eastern Europeans, Africans, Asians and others, one group has a particularly ubiquitous and forceful presence: Muslims.

Some London suburbs look, feel and smell more like Islamabad than an English city. Arabic signage. Women wearing burqas and headscarves. Mosques with towering minarets. Muslim leaders, not English police or city officials, are the ultimate authority. English law is suspended in favor of sharia law.

What is most alarming about London’s (and England’s) Muslim community, though, is that an enormous number are openly hostile to their host nation.

In her 2006 bestseller Londonistan, Melanie Phillips wrote that London had become “the epicenter of Islamic militancy in Europe. … Its large and fluid Muslim and Arab population fostered the growth of myriad radical Islamist publications spitting hatred of the West, and its banks were used for fund-raising accounts funneling money into extremist terrorist organizations. Terrorists wanted in other countries were given safe haven in the United Kingdom and left free to foment hatred against the West” (emphasis added throughout).

Outside of Muslim-dominated regions like Pakistan, few places offer better sanctuary to Islamic extremism than Britain, and especially the streets of London. Britain’s government works around the clock, spending millions and millions, seeking to thwart attacks being plotted by radical Muslims dwelling within their own borders, and in many instances, living on government money.

Law enforcement has not always been successful. In July 2005, Muslim terrorists attacked London’s transit system. These terrorists weren’t raised in Pakistan or Iran. They learned to hate on London’s streets. “[T]hese British boys, who loved cricket and helped disabled children, had somehow been so radicalized within the British society that had nurtured them that they were prepared to murder their fellow citizens in huge numbers and to turn themselves into human bombs to do so,” wrote Phillips.

The government’s main solution to Britain’s radical Islam problem is to pour money into “moderate” groups. But many of these defend or even actively support Islamic terrorism. While it’s true that only a small minority of Britain’s Muslims are terrorists, a much larger number have values and beliefs that are decidedly anti-British.

In the London borough of Tower Hamlets, radical Islam has all but taken over the local government. Mayor Lutfur Rahman won with the support of the Islamic Forum of Europe, an extremist group actively working to transform Britain into a Muslim state subject to sharia law.

London’s universities are famous worldwide for their problems with radical Islam. “For many years it has been clear that British university campuses are breeding grounds of Islamic extremism,” the Center for Social Cohesion, an independent think tank, wrote. Though the group has tried to warn UK leaders of campus radicalization, and though “public and press concern over this issue is growing, our warnings have been repeatedly ignored by political leaders, university heads and national student bodies,” it wrote. Its report lists 14 college or university colleges that have invited radical speakers to their campuses. All but two are in London.

It’s a terrifying reality: Beneath London’s veneer lies a ferocious, hate-filled enemy actively seeking to destroy its host.

Youth in Revolt

Last summer, thousands of English teenagers and young people ransacked London, smashing shop windows, looting stores, firebombing cars and fighting law enforcement.

This was a destructive manifestation of a moral and spiritual crisis besieging Britain’s young people. This moral rot remains, and is certain to explode in more chaos and violence. The chairman of the Riots Communities and Victims Panel said similar riots could “quite possibly” happen again. Last winter, the government trained hundreds of paratroopers to contain rioters, in case riots break out this summer.

The panel concluded that a root cause of the riots was hopelessness. “Most disturbing to us was a widespread feeling that some rioters had no hope and nothing to lose,” they said. Apparently the “greatest city on Earth” doesn’t offer a future to youth growing up in it.

This same hopelessness and despair is on display every weekend, when thousands of Londoners hit the clubs and pubs solely intent on getting blind drunk. Drunkenness and its many costly side effects have reached epidemic levels in London and throughout Britain. The country has a global reputation for drunken thuggery.

It’s so bad, London has “booze buses” to ferry drunk partygoers to the hospital. Before Christmas last year, the ambulance service put a temporary field hospital at a station in London. That’s right, a field hospital: the same thing soldiers set up near battlefields.

Drunkenness is now part of the London lifestyle, a cultural practice that people of every age and class engage in. The London Ambulance service receives the highest concentration of calls from Westminster and Camden, two of London’s more affluent suburbs. Last Christmas, a journalist accompanied one “booze bus.” He wrote, “Distressingly, during our seven-hour shift, we saw horrifying scenes, including women rendered incoherent by booze lying in dark streets, being sick, with their underwear on show, and men collapsed among bags of rubbish with head injuries.” The reporter detailed the humiliating, even life-threatening, situations the ambulance staff rescued drunks from.

Like many nations, England has deeply serious economic crises—yet it spends billions dealing with drunks!

What a commentary on the moral and spiritual health of this once-great nation.

Many drunken patients are violent or abusive. “I’ve been spat on, punched, kicked, bitten, slapped … you name it,” one “booze bus” worker told the Guardian. “It was frightening at first, but it happens at least once every shift, and I’m used to it now. … The other night I gave a tissue to a girl who was crying and she bit my hand.”

“After midnight, it just goes ballistic,” said a paramedic. “From 1 a.m., Accident and Emergency will be choked up with people intoxicated with alcohol. There is no typical background. No class divide. It takes all sorts, from the 12-year-old drunk in the supermarket car park to the 55-year-old ceo of a West End company.”

And it’s not just alcohol. Drug abuse is mainstream throughout London. A psychiatrist in the accident and emergency department of one London hospital told the Telegraph: “What the older generation doesn’t understand is that combining drugs and alcohol is normal for young clubbers.”

It’s true that every city and every race has these problems. But in London, and in many other places throughout Britain, the lawlessness, the chaos and violence, the revelry and barbarism is epidemic. “The physical ugliness perpetuated almost everywhere has been fully matched by an ugliness of soul and society that is so obvious to visitors to our shores,” Theodore Dalrymple lamented (Real Clear World, June 7).

London, indeed England, used to be the epitome of class and culture. Today, more and more parts of this once-great metropolis—and the empire it represented—have transformed into dens of amoral behavior flooded with cesspools afloat with beer bottles and pills.

Fracturing Family

Did you know that London is the family breakdown capital of Britain?

This is a national trend too. An astonishing 9 in every 10 British couples live together before they marry. This adversely affects the stability of those couples—and the lives of the children they produce.

During last year’s riots, Dalrymple wrote, “British youth leads the Western world in almost all aspects of social pathology, from teenage pregnancy to drug taking, from drunkenness to violent criminality. … British children are much likelier to have a television in their bedroom than a father living at home. One third of them never eat a meal at a table with another member of their household—family is not the word for the social arrangements of the people in the areas from which the rioters mainly come” (Australian, Aug. 11, 2011).

The London Child Poverty Commission notes the link between London’s single parents and high child poverty. Two-parent families are eight times likelier to have an employed family member than single-parent families are. The problem is especially bad in London, where 55 percent of single parents are out of work, compared to 42 percent outside the city.

Millions of British children and youth are being raised by only one parent. In one London local authority, the figure is nearly 60 percent. Before the 1960s, births outside marriage were around 5 percent. They have since increased nine-fold. And for many children, it’s not just that they don’t have a stable family—it’s that they don’t even know what a traditional family entails. Without family, their social skills, their sense of place in society, their ability to interact with other humans, becomes warped. “They are therefore radically unsocialized and deeply egotistical. … By the time they grow up, they are destined not only for unemployment but unemployability,” observed Dalrymple (ibid).

“Family breakdown increases the chances of a young person living in poverty and reduces the chances of a young person escaping poverty as an adult,” notes the Center for Social Justice, a conservative think tank. The statistics prove it.

For many young people, education is non-existent. There was a time when London was considered one of the capitals of education and learning. English schools were once the global standard of education, and people from around the world would pay enormous sums of money to have their children live in London and go to school. Many of the great poets, writers and intellectuals were educated in London.

Looking at this history only intensifies the tragedy that is English education today.

London’s Future

When you look beneath the surface, the vision one gets of contemporary London—and the Britain it represents—is grim, seemingly hopeless. What is the solution to the radical Islamist enemy growing in its midst? How can the government ever inject enough hope and optimism into Britain’s youth to prevent them from getting drunk and ransacking city streets? How can traditional family virtues and morals ever be restored, now that it has come to this?

Is there really any hope for London, and for the once-great nation of England?

The answer to that question can be found in what seems like a most unlikely place: in London, and to be specific, in Buckingham Palace. Here’s what Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his booklet The Key of David: “The solutions to Britain’s problems can be found within the knowledge of the true ancestry of the British throne.”

That’s a dramatic and powerful claim, but it’s rooted in the Bible!

Nearly 3,000 years ago, God made a promise to King David of Israel. You can read that promise in 2 Samuel 7:12. God told the king, “When thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.” God is talking about David’s son Solomon. In verse 13, God says of Solomon, “He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.”

Have you ever marveled at the durability of Britain’s monarchy? These verses explain it. In verses 14-16, God explains His promise to David even more explicitly: “I will be his [Solomon’s] father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him … And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”

God reiterates this promise in 2 Chronicles 13:5, which says that “the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt.” Some translations read: “… by a perpetual covenant.” You see, beginning with his son Solomon, David would always have a descendant ruling as a monarch over Israel! That means forever, including 2012, and including the future!

If you have an objective mind and are prepared to do a little study, you can very easily prove that Britain’s royal family descended from King David!

Queen Elizabeth ii is a living fulfilment of God’s promise to King David.

Now, if you can believe that, then the next question is, why would God make this promise to King David? God has given us Britain’s royal monarchy as tangible evidence of a magnificent, hopeful vision. It’s a vision of peace and prosperity, a vision of a time when there will be law and order, when all nations will live in harmony, a vision of religious and ideological unity. It’s a vision of a time when London, and Britain—and every city and nation and people—will experience the heights of joy and peace and happiness.

God terms this glorious vision the key of David. It is a time when the ultimate ruler will sit on David’s throne—the same throne of Queen Elizabeth ii—and solve these terrible crises facing London today! God wants to share that vision with London, with Britain, with all of mankind.