Welsh Superheroes

Via Insty and Sullivan, here’s an interview with Johnathan Rhys-Davies, who plays the Dwarf Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
All I can say is… damn, you gotta go read this thing.
The most interesting part of Rhys-Davies’ interview occurs when he recounts his father, in 1955, warning that radical Islam was a storm cloud poised to break over the western world. According to Rhys-Davies:

I think that Tolkien says that some generations will be challenged. And if they do not rise to meet that challenge, they will lose their civilization. That does have a real resonance with me.
I have had the ideal background for being an actor. I have always been an outsider. I grew up in colonial Africa. And I remember in 1955, it would have to be somewhere between July the 25th when the school holiday started and September the 18th when the holidays ended. My father took me down to the quayside in Dar-Es-Salaam harbor. And he pointed out a dhow in the harbor and he said, “You see that dhow there? Twice a year it comes down from Aden. It stops here and goes down [South]. On the way down it’s got boxes of machinery and goods. On the way back up it’s got two or three little black boys on it. Now, those boys are slaves. And the United Nations will not let me do anything about it.”
The conversation went on. “Look, boy. There is not going to be a World War between Russia and the United. The next World War will be between Islam and the West.”
This is 1955! I said to him, “Dad, you’re nuts! The Crusades have been over for hundreds of years!”
And he said, “Well, I know, but militant Islam is on the rise again. And you will see it in your lifetime.”
He’s been dead some years now. But there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and think, “God, I wish you were here, just so I could tell you that you were right.”

Yeah, well, I don’t know where your father is, Johnathan. But I think he’s been whispering to George Bush, Tony Blair, Messrs. Howard and Berlusconi, and perhaps Michael Ledeen.
Rhys-Davies continues:

What is unconscionable is that too many of your fellow journalists do not understand how precarious Western civilization is and what a jewel it is.
How did we get the sort of real democracy, how did we get the level of tolerance that allows me to propound something that may be completely alien to you around this table, and yet you will take it and you will think about it and you’ll say no you’re wrong because of this and this and this. And I’ll listen and I’ll say, “Well, actually, maybe I am wrong because of this and this…”
[. . .]
I mean… the abolition of slavery comes from Western democracy. True Democracy comes form our Greco-Judeo-Christian-Western experience. If we lose these things, then this is a catastrophe for the world.
And there is a demographic catastrophe happening in Europe that nobody wants to talk about, that we daren’t bring up because we are so cagey about not offending people racially. And rightly we should be. But there is a cultural thing as well.
By 2020, 50% of the children in Holland under the age of 18 will be of Muslim descent. You look and see what your founding fathers thought of the Dutch. They are constantly looking at the rise of democracy and Dutch values as being the very foundation of American Democracy. If by the mid-century the bulk of Holland is Muslim—and don’t forget, coupled with this there is this collapse of numbers … Western Europeans are not having any babies. The population of Germany at the end of the century is going to be 56% of what it is now. The populations of France, 52% of what it is now. The population of Italy is going to be down 7 million people. There is a change happening in the very complexion of Western civilization in Europe that we should think about at least and argue about. If it just means the replacement of one genetic stock with another genetic stock, that doesn’t matter too much.
But if it involves the replacement of Western civilization with a different civilization with different cultural values, then it is something we really ought to discuss—because, g**dammit, I am for dead white male culture.
You do realize in this town what I’ve been saying [is like] blasphemy…
…but we’ve got to get a bit serious. By and large our cultures and our society are resilient enough to put up with any sort of nonsense. But if Tolkien’s got a message, it’s that “Sometimes you’ve got to stand up and fight for what you believe in.” He knew what he was fighting for in WW1.

In an update, Glenn Reynolds excerpts a reader email, expressing amazement that the same industry that produces knuckleheads like Streisand and Baldwin, could give rise to a wised up fellow like Rhys-Davies. I would respond to that by saying that it was Africa that produced him. With few exceptions, the Whites I have known who grew up in Africa are able to see the world for what it is, with all the sadness that entails. True, some African whites are rogues and lunatics. But even they have the wisdom of experience, of living in the knowledge that the animists and communists and black radicals were only a spark of an incident away from dropping the ax on their skinny white necks. Kim DuToit is a good example of what Africa does to a white lad.
The continent does something to blacks, too. Ever read Chinua Achebe? There’s a lot of truth in his novels. And you know, I hadn’t a clue he was black from the text – unlike Cornell West, who lets you know it at every turn.
Africans generally seem to value western civilization, especially black Africans who have seen how the other half lives. The jive-ass brothers in the U.S. wearing Kente are always stunned the first time they meet well educated, cultured, British or French accented blacks from Africa. Time and again I saw this in the Army, and it was hilarious. The Army enlisted man, or lower ranking officer would greet the African with “Whassup, my brotha?” The African would almost inevitably reply, “I’m not your brother, so please don’t address me that way. And why are you speaking with that accent?” Men who clawed their way up from real poverty and real oppression didn’t have time to put on the robe of the patois-speaking oppressed black man.
The learning process with Africans and the rest of us is a two way street. I happen to be a good friend of an ex- African National Congress terrorist. Let’s call him Allen, to protect the guilty. That’s right, a commie bomb chucker and your friend Al Maviva is pals with him.
These days, Allen says he is a big fan of capitalism and human rights. He feels capitalism and an American style observance of human rights and civil liberties is the only way South Africa (and the rest of the continent) can right itself. And as he explains his terrorist history, “Well, what would you do? I was black, I grew up in a township, and we had shit. The ANC gave us a way to fight back. Yeah, they were pricks, but we got rid of most of them as soon as we’d won.”
That’s not the voice of an ideologue; it’s the voice of a very pragmatic man.
Allen is getting a doctorate here in the ‘States. He’s one of the smartest and most cultured men I’ve ever known, and his absolute unconsciousness about race and scholarly brilliance has actually changed the minds of a couple of mutual friends of ours on racial matters. I find a lot of educated black Africans cling to learning, and to civilization in a way our over-educated and over-civilized elites just can’t comprehend – and to white guys from Southy or Bed Stuy, who climbed out of American ghettos, this is both shocking and favorably impressive. Allen is the kind of guy they would look up to, moreso because he is a self-made man who has mastered the civilized arts better than they have.
It’s no wonder that Joseph Conrad wrote about Africa in Heart of Darkness – the continent strips away a lot of western illusions about the heart of man. This seems to make Africans wiser, if more sad. So it’s not shocking to me that Johnathan Rhys-Davies is an astute observer of politics, and a staunch booster of Western Civ. We need a few more like him.


One comment

  1. Dave in LA

    I read this earlier today, and was stunned. What a shame that his most excellent commentary won’t get wider circulation, but morons like Sean Penn, Tim Robbins et. al. are trumpeted as moral giants.