On July 14, 2015, the Christian Science Monitor published one of the first in-depth looks at the migrant crisis that now has Europe by the throat. While making the dubious claim–refuted by videos across YouTube showing Greek citizens fearful for their own lives–that residents of the Mediterranean country had been “welcoming and generous” to the flood of asylum-seekers from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eritrea, and Somalia, the article does note that, as of five months ago, roughly 1,000 migrants per day were arriving on Grecian shores.
To be sure, most migrants were simply passing through, seeking government-funded riches in countries such as Germany, where public aid is seemingly limitless and “tolerance” evidently now means evicting native Germans to make room for the flood of able-bodied Muslim men changing Europe’s complexion virtually overnight. (By year’s end, Germany–a country roughly the size of Wisconsin–expects to have absorbed 1.5 million migrants.)
The unintentional–yet perhaps foretelling irony–of the Monitor publishing its story on July 14 is that, on that very day in 1683, the Ottoman Empire laid siege to Vienna. In other words, nearly 350 years ago, an army swearing allegiance to Islam attempted to conquer one of Europe’s most economically and culturally significant cities. Facing an Ottoman army of nearly 150,000 troops with just 15,000 conscripts of his own, Ernst Rüdiger Graf von Starhemberg–leader of European forces stationed at Vienna–dismissed the Turkish demand of surrender and dug in to fight down to the very last man.
Intense fighting followed for weeks on end, with food and other supplies essentially cut off to Vienna. Later that summer, the Polish, led by Jan III Sobieski, united with armies from Saxony, Bavaria, Baden, Franconia, and Swabia. Ultimately, the Ottoman army was routed, with Sobieski paraphrasing Julius Caesar by saying, Veni, vidi, Deus vicit (“I came, I saw, God conquered”).
To be sure, there were conflicting interests among the kings, generals, and others who led their men to battle to save Vienna from the Ottoman Empire. What these men shared, however, was a belief that Europe was home, that it was worth protecting–that the very soil had been renewed time and time again by European blood and deserved to be defended to the death. Today, conflicting interests once again prevail in Europe, with treasonous public officials insisting it is Europe’s duty to accommodate hordes of migrants not fleeing warzones but simply seeking to take advantage of the Western way of life.
Europe has already begun to unite again. The Germans march side by side with the Polish; the Swedes and Britons have had enough, too. But who will answer the call like the defenders of Vienna in 1683? Who will, in the words of Before God’s song of the same name, be “the last line of defense”?