2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Jean Raspail, who has died aged 94, was a French writer and eccentric whose Le Camp des Saints (1973, “Camp of Saints”), a dystopian novel foretelling an imminent “swamping” of Europe by “brown people” from the Orient, articulated a nightmare which became fashionable not only with the French Right, but among American neo-conservatives.
But Raspail, who styled himself “King”, or sometimes “Consul General”, of Patagonia (via a claimed kinship to an unhinged French adventurer named Antoine de Tounens, who was proclaimed King Orelie-Antoine of Patagonia by the native population for a few weeks in 1860 – until the Chileans saw him off), was also guilty of some “swamping” of his own.
A practitioner of elaborate practical jokes or, as he put it, “games that are not entirely games”, Raspail was behind the “invasion”, on three occasions, of the Minkies Reef, known in French as Les Minquiers, a tiny uninhabited rocky archipelago in the St Malo bay, part of the Bailiwick of Jersey, by intruders who claimed the territory for Patagonia.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户In June 1984 Raspail led a force consisting of what one British newspaper called “sozzled French students”, who renamed the territory Northern Patagonia in response to Britain’s “unacceptable and prolonged occupation of the Malouines [ie Falkland] Islands, a territory of Patagonia”, and fled when the coastguard was alerted.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户The invasion was repeated in 1998 when the intruders lowered the Union flag from the islands’ solitary flagpole, replacing it with the Patagonian flag and painted the islands’ one lavatory – a small wooden hut – in the Patagonian national colours of blue, white and green.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户The invaders were sent packing a day later thanks to the intervention of the Sun which dispatched an inflatable dinghy, skippered by Jersey gendarme PC Fitchett, to reclaim the “Minkies” for Queen and Country. However the British Embassy in Paris ended up having to intervene to get Raspail to return the Union Jack, which he initially said he would only do on return of the Patagonian flag on “neutral” territory – a Parisian bar – before agreeing to present the captured flag to the Embassy.
In October last year, probably at Raspail’s instigation, the so-called “Special Forces of the Kingdom of Patagonia” once again hoisted the Patagonian flag on the islands and repainted the lavatory hut, this time in retaliation for Brexit, before retreating upon the arrival of the hut’s owners.
Jean Raspail was born on July 5 1925 in Chemillé-sur-Dême, in the Indre-et-Loire department of west-central France, the son of a factory manager, and educated at private Catholic schools.
As a young man he was a tireless traveller, leading an overland expedition from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska in the early 1950s and a research expedition to the land of the Incas in 1954. In 1956 he spent a year in Japan. He published several works of travel and adventure, for which he was awarded the Jean Walter Prize of the Académie française in 1970.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户Le Camp des Saints was initially panned by the French press. Even France’s biggest right-wing newspaper, Le Figaro, to which Raspail was a contributor, tore into his tale of Europe being overrun by dark-skinned, faeces-eating, sexually predatory invaders bent on overpowering the white population. The book sold only 15,000 copies in its first year.
Its fortunes were transformed from 1985 when an English language edition was published in the United States, sponsored by the Right-wing Laurel Foundation, and it became a best seller.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户The more charitable saw the work as a satire of white European privilege and colonial guilt, but that was not how it was interpreted by the far Right. In France Jean-Marie Le Pen took to peppering his speeches with references to “Jean Raspail’s famous work”; the book also found a powerful advocate in the leading American neo-conservative Daniel Pipes, who proclaimed The Camp of Saints to be true prophecy.
2020欧洲杯体育投注开户The former Trump confidant Steve Bannon also cited the book as key to understanding the European migrant crisis and the failure of political elites to respond with the necessary resolve to preserve what he called the “underlying principles of the Judeo-Christian West”. Raspail found himself hailed as a prophet – “the Frantz Fanon of the White Race”.
Raspail wrote other novels, including Moi, Antoine de Tounens, roi de Patagonie (“I, Antoine of Tounens, King of Patagonia”) which won the Grand Prix du Roman of the Académie française in 1981.
His traditional Catholicism and monarchism also inspired Sire (1990) a novel in which the ideologies of communism and liberalism are vanquished by a restored French monarchy – as well as an attempt to hand back the Comtat Venaissin, the region round Avignon, to the Vatican on the grounds that it had belonged to the Pope until the French Revolution.
Raspail was a candidate for the 40-member Académie française in 2000, for which he received the most votes, but failed to obtain the majority required for election to the vacant seat.
He was a Chevalier of the Legion d’honneur.
Jean Raspail, born July 5 1925, died June 13 2020