The Negresco is a beautiful rococo, belle époque hotel built around the turn of the last century on La Promenade des Anglais in Nice, in the south of France. Even under today’s plebeian standards, when backpacking and sandal-wearing tourists invade its elegant quarters, it stands as a monument to a world that no longer exists. I used to stop for a drink at its bar almost daily—nightly, rather—as the Negresco was always on the way back to Antibes after a night of gambling.
We were always three: Jimmy de Cadaval, Portugal’s premier duke; Porfirio Rubirosa, the world’s greatest playboy and seducer; and poor little Taki. Poor is the operative word, as the reason for the nightly stop was to drown my sorrows after an evening of contributing my father’s hard-earned cash to the Monte Carlo Bathing Corporation, as the casino was formally known.
Jimmy and Rubi both liked a drink, and after the casino closed at 4 a.m. we’d drive back to Antibes, where Jimmy’s boat was anchored. The bar was closed, but the hotel was open. The night concierge, a great friend of all of us, would open it, and we would have a whiskey or two, or at times even three. On the rare occasions when one of us was a winner, champagne would be offered, and perhaps a lady of the night.
This is all in the distant past, Nice having been overrun by North Africans, gangsters, and all sorts of low-lifers attracted to the French Riviera’s hot spots like Monaco and Cap Ferrat, where their likes are hardly welcome by the locals. Nice is the closest they get to them—in daytime, that is. The Riviera is now so redolent of thieves that there is not a single grand house that has not been burgled or vandalized in the area, from Menton to Saint-Tropez.
The elegance is gone with the wind. Once upon a time giants of industry, the Gotha, and Hollywood owned houses and entertained in the grand manner. Now the Arabs and Russian oligarchs—read crooks—reign supreme and very inelegantly. Large superyachts that look like refrigerators on steroids dot the shoreline, the water is filthy, and the only living thing on the water is the occasional tart thrown overboard by an irate Arab. It is as sad as the ending of Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night, the haunting novel that was written there and about the place by the tragic American writer. It is called progress.
The Negresco came to mind after the outrage on Bastille Day, when a Tunisian small-time crook killed 84 people and injured close to a hundred. The French authorities reacted as usual. They talked tough but are not about to do anything drastic, because political correctness forbids the mention of the culprit’s religion. He was, naturally, a Muslim. In fact the French media, closely shadowed by the odious New York Times, immediately asserted that there was little evidence that the attacker had direct ties to Islamic terrorist groups. The fact that ISIS claimed it and the perpetrator announced it before the attack meant nothing to Western media determined to whitewash Islam. ISIS then followed this outrage by claiming responsibility for the brutal throat-slashing of Fr. Jacques Hamel in Rouen.
Why should Islamic terrorists take heed when the Western media refuse to put the blame on those responsible? So-called experts, professors in American universities who offer quotations to hacks writing about the atrocities, are as predictable as they are wrong. “[J]ihadism has become a kind of refuge for some unstable people who are at the end of their rope and decide they can redeem their screwed-up lives” was one of the most egregious opinions I read following the massacre. (It came from a prof at Dartmouth.)
In Germany things are not much better. One week after Nice, a 17-year-old Afghan migrant took an ax and almost beheaded four people in Bavaria. Under German law, a 17-year-old migrant has the same rights and education and financial support as a German juvenile who lives on his own. Isn’t that wonderful? An Afghani thug is granted the privilege of living for free in beautiful Bavaria until he chooses to behead people with an ax, and the word Islam is never mentioned. Afghanistan also gave us Orlando, and is the sort of “major ally” (per then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) where fathers barter away their pre-teen daughters to men who marry them and then sometimes burn them alive for refusing to work in the poppy fields and produce heroin.
Let them all in, say Obama, Merkel, and Hillary; they are allies. Some allies, says the poor little Greek boy. Almost as valuable to us as the Saudis and Qataris. (And where are our feminists on this one?) The best (read: worst) are those who loudly protest after any mass killing where there is a Muslim involved that it is not by definition a terrorist act.
I wonder what, in their truly sick minds, they think it actually is.
Islamic terrorism seems to have broad appeal to the mentally disturbed, but we seem to be far more mentally disturbed in allowing Muslims to infiltrate us.