Saturday, December 23, 2006

Fighting Bernard Lewis's Liberty

I've had this on my radar screen for quite a while, but for several reasons: naturally lazy, hesitance on not having widely read Lewis and busy with other stuff, I couldn't write a critique on this intellectual aspersion of scholarship. Rather than go about doing all that, I'll leave you to make your own conclusions. I have now read some of Lewis's writings, but there is not even a mild requirement to equip oneself to tear down Lewis's mask and examine his words in this case, words that haven't been cloaked in subtlety. Instead Lewis makes no bones of the fact that now at over ninety, he can say whatever's on his mind without hints or queues. That's what you do when you're caught several times. I'll just give you Islamophobia Watcher's brief background into Lewis's train of thought. To learn more about the Orientalist, visit the Wikipedia page.

Whether he is asking What Went Wrong? or pontificating on The Crisis of Islam and The Roots of Muslim Rage, it’s all the same – the failure of what Lewis calls "Islam" to acknowledge the success and brilliance of "our Judeo-Christian heritage". The pioneer of the Hitlerian science of the clash of civilizations, much of the world torn by imperialist war and strife, owes its tragedies indirectly to Lewis and the other government-appointed or patronized heirs to the growing international class system of intellectuals like Fouad Ajmi, the proponents of sadistic war and imperialism. It doesn’t surprise some of us that his most faithful disciples are all rabid Zionists.

As he is nearing a century in years, the poison that at times spurted on to the shores is now a routine manifestation. Edward Said once noted that Lewis's "truth" came out when he was on television, but I see that it has also crept into his writings, not that it was "pure" by any chance erstwhile.

Whether he is telling Dick Cheney that the only way to discipline an Arab is to hit him with a big stick right between the eyes or promoting imperialism in Muslim countries as he did for Iraq, the mask of scholarship peels off all of a sudden. After unsuccessfully predicting that Iran would attack Israel on August 22 what Juan Cole called “Lewis’s weird interpretation of his millenarian beliefs”, it turns out Lewis had done a crazy striking earlier on July 16th, in a lecture aboard a cruise ship in the British Isles, what a place for another Lewis prophecy indeed:

Bring Them Freedom, Or They Destroy Us

I won't waste any time dwelling on the points Lewis makes here. You may understand them as bloated versions of the title itself. In my next article, I'll dissect another Neanderthal Orientalist, Daniel Pipes, who has been missing from this blog for a while, on his perspective on Lewis's dangerous trumpery. Well, not for long insha'Allah.

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