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JonIrenicus
06-20-2010, 08:33 PM
I found this kind of interesting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KePJz28_GY



Lewis starts around the 21 minute mark. He is getting on in years, so at times it can sound like he is dying, but it is mostly clear to understand.

JonIrenicus
06-20-2010, 08:55 PM
He is dying: he's 90 something. Bernard Lewis reminds me of a Bond villain, it must be his voice. I've got his survey history of the Middle East, a tad dry, but good. He's often caricatured as some kind of evil imperialist, but he's fairly even handed when discussing Islam; watch his 'In Depth' on c-span.


He does seem to have a more descriptive eye as he sees it vs a judgmental eye. I'll check out the cspan version when I have the time. The charlie rose interview is pretty good too, people like him are interesting to listen to because of all the depth and breath of knowledge they have.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7x0TUgly2c&feature=related

Lyle
06-21-2010, 12:02 AM
Bernard Lewis is great. God bless him.

nikkibong
06-22-2010, 10:45 AM
If you have the three hours (!) handy, I do recommend the c-span In Depth. It's filmed from Lewis' house! (No cat on his lap though -- contra toryentalist)

Lewis makes a number of insightful points: tyrannical governments of the Muslim World is actually transplanted from the West, not indigenous to that region, and that suicide terrorism is actually *prohibited in the Koran.*

I was left wondering why Lewis is considered a bete noir on the left. Considering - contra Steyn, VDH et al. - he has a great respect, no, actually LOVE, of Muslim civilization, and a great (and non-condescending) understanding of it. Lazily labeling him "orientalist" seems to imply that "only Muslims can study Islam," or something similarly reductive.

Worth the three hours IMO.

Lyle
06-22-2010, 12:23 PM
Probably because Edward Said propped himself up against Lewis in the orientalist field... and Said was a darling of the Left. Lewis wanted nothing to do with Yasser Arafat (Leftist hero) and any of the other Palestinian KKK (Leftist heroes), or for that matter any of the other myriad 'tyrannical' Muslim leaders (oft Leftist heroes) alive during his lifetime. Lewis also wasn't anti-war. In fact he argued Saddam Hussein should have been removed (violently) after the first Gulf War, and of course he supported the second Gulf War.

I'm not sure it's even arguable that Mark Steyn or Victor Davis Hansen 'hate' Islam. I think that is probably a childish defamation on your part. I think they simply hate imperialist, radical Islam (as every democrat should since it is horribly violent, misogynist, and despotic). They have Muslims friends for Allah's sake. They want Muslim women to be free (oh, the horror). They want Muslims around the world to live in peace (oh... hateful!).

edit: Here's the C-Span visit to his home (http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/175933-1).

nikkibong
06-22-2010, 05:08 PM
Probably because Edward Said propped himself up against Lewis in the orientalist field... and Said was a darling of the Left. Lewis wanted nothing to do with Yasser Arafat (Leftist hero) and any of the other Palestinian KKK (Leftist heroes), or for that matter any of the other myriad 'tyrannical' Muslim leaders (oft Leftist heroes) alive during his lifetime. Lewis also wasn't anti-war. In fact he argued Saddam Hussein should have been removed (violently) after the first Gulf War, and of course he supported the second Gulf War.

Have you ever actually met one of those fantastical "leftists" you are always describing? What Leftist would support Arafat, or the "Palestinian KKK?" What was the KKK's opinion of Muslims, incidentally? You do realize that saying Palestinian KKK is as silly as saying Israeli Nazi, don't you? Is there a point where you get tired of employing facile moral equivalence?

I'm not sure it's even arguable that Mark Steyn or Victor Davis Hansen 'hate' Islam. I think that is probably a childish defamation on your part. I think they simply hate imperialist, radical Islam (as every democrat should since it is horribly violent, misogynist, and despotic). They have Muslims friends for Allah's sake. They want Muslim women to be free (oh, the horror). They want Muslims around the world to live in peace (oh... hateful!).

OK, let me amend my statement. Steyn and VDH doesn't 'hate' Islam. They hate Muslims.

Lyle
06-22-2010, 06:24 PM
Ah... lots of Leftists loved Yasser Arafat. He was THE leader of the Palestinian movement and we all know how much Leftists love the Palestinian movement. Right? I mean you might as well say the left had no love whatsoever for Che Guevara. And a Haha to that.

Here's some enlightenment for you nikkibong since you've publicly acknowledged your ignorance of Yasser Arafat's connection to the western political Left.

http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/30975

http://newsflavor.com/opinions/the-lefts-totalitarian-martyrs-yasser-arafat/

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1994/arafat-bio.html (he won the Nobel Peace Prize, you know?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keffiyeh (you know the keffiyeh don't you... and who helped to popularize it, yes?)

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-keffiyeh-fashion-trend-or-political-statement/2/ (more on Arafat 'chic')

As far as the KKK goes... guess who makes the analogy besides me? Our friend Bernard Lewis does, and in the actual C-Span video you asked us to watch. Haha. Go back and the watch the video to re-educate yourself nikkibong.

edit: He didn't say it in the 3 hour C-Span episode at his house he said it on this C-Span talk from the New Yorker festival (http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/172907-2). (the comparison he makes though is in regards to the Wahhabists... similar enough, imo)

Of course the KKK hate Muslims, they're a white Christian power group (if you're not white protestant Christian they hate you). However, Hamas is no different than the KKK. They're just an Arab-Muslim version of the KKK who are more of a problem today since the KKK actually advocates and practices non-violence unlike our Hamas brothers and sisters. And that's why I call them such so that people will wake up and understand who they're holding hands with. No that hard to understand really.

edit: ... and good point, yes, because it is okay to call Israelis Nazis or apartheid occupiers, it is okay to refer to Hamas and friends as the Ku Klux Klan of the Arab-Muslim world... cause that's what they're like, and they're even more comparable to the Klan of the negro lynching 1920s than the Israelis are to the Jew killing Nazis of the 1920s (cause they actually lynch people, shoot people, and throw people off buildings... on a whim).

Lastly, how do Steyn and VDH hate Muslims when they are friends with Muslims? How do they hate Muslims when they want to see an end to Islamist terrorism? Why do you equate their hating of al Qaeda with hating Muslims?

JonIrenicus
06-22-2010, 06:36 PM
If you have the three hours (!) handy, I do recommend the c-span In Depth. It's filmed from Lewis' house! (No cat on his lap though -- contra toryentalist)

Lewis makes a number of insightful points: tyrannical governments of the Muslim World is actually transplanted from the West, not indigenous to that region, and that suicide terrorism is actually *prohibited in the Koran.*

I was left wondering why Lewis is considered a bete noir on the left. Considering - contra Steyn, VDH et al. - he has a great respect, no, actually LOVE, of Muslim civilization, and a great (and non-condescending) understanding of it. Lazily labeling him "orientalist" seems to imply that "only Muslims can study Islam," or something similarly reductive.

Worth the three hours IMO.


As to why he may not be seen in a positive light from some one the left, it probably has to do with 2nd, 3rd, tenth hand accounts of his attitude and ideas from people who disagree with specific policy positions he has taken.

Watching the source without all the losses in communication just clears away the negative spin others have placed on him.

If anyone was looking for it, here is the 3 hour interview from back in 2003 I believe.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/175933-1


I haven't finished it yet, but it IS 3 hours (a good thing btw if the subject is interesting)

It holds up relatively well since his scope spans decades and centuries, not just the tiny sliver of current events.

bjkeefe
06-22-2010, 06:46 PM
Ah... lots of Leftists loved Yasser Arafat. He was THE leader of the Palestinian movement and we all know how much Leftists love the Palestinian movement. Right? I mean you might as well say the left had no love whatsoever for Che Guevara. And a Haha to that.

Here's some enlightenment for you nikkibong since you've publicly acknowledged your ignorance of Yasser Arafat's connection to the western political Left.

http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/30975

http://newsflavor.com/opinions/the-lefts-totalitarian-martyrs-yasser-arafat/

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1994/arafat-bio.html (he won the Nobel Peace Prize, you know)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keffiyeh (you know the keffiyeh don't you... and who helped to popularize it, yes?)

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-keffiyeh-fashion-trend-or-political-statement/2/ (more on Arafat 'chic')

This is so comically self-refuting that it barely needs additional comment, but let's just observe that Lyle's evidence that Teh Left Luvz Arafat can be summarized as follows.

• 1 pretty good piece of evidence in support; i.e., one guy writing sympathetically on what looks like a lefty site. Calling it "love" would be a bit of a stretch, and saying this one guy speaks for Teh Left is so stupid as to need no further elaboration, but let's not quibble, given what else we have to examine.

• A link to a Wikipedia entry about Nobel prize winners. (Wingnuts always think the Nobel Committee is LIBRULBIASED!!!1!)

• A link to a Wikipedia entry about an article of clothing

• An assertion that repeats Lyle's assertion, from a guy who describes himself (http://www.triond.com/users/Benyamin+Solomon) as follows:

Benyamin Solomon is an expert on the threats to America. Though no expert on economics, he understands Obama's Socialist agenda and the deadly consequences of Socialism. Benyamin Solomon is a voice of hope and freedom in a troubled world. He is an American Jew. In American politics, he is a Republican. In Israeli politics, he is from the Likud party.

• Something from Pajamas Media. About the same article of clothing. 'Nuff said.

The first blockquote above is the most FAIL-filled post ever posted anywhere on the Internet and will remain so until the next time Lyle posts something.

Lyle
06-22-2010, 06:51 PM
So Arafat wasn't popular with the western political Left? Really? That's your public argument?

Haha.

bjkeefe
06-22-2010, 06:55 PM
So Arafat wasn't popular with the western political Left? Really? That's your public argument?

No. I do not know the comprehensive views of hundreds of millions of people, so the most I would be prepared to say is that, sure, some people who happen(ed) to be on the left side of the political spectrum thought well of Arafat, a long while ago.

My "public argument" in my previous response (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=166345#post166345) to you was that your claim to be "enlightening" nikkibong; i.e., to be showing how Arafat was supposedly "loved" by Teh Left, was so unimpressive that I couldn't believe even you would put it up.

Lyle
06-22-2010, 07:02 PM
No, I couldn't find any great examples in a cursory Google search (boo fucking hoo)... but at least you're not ignorant enough to deny some on the Left loved them some Yasser Arafat... fuck, it's why he became a wealthy ass man with a luxury apartment in Paris. Haha.

bjkeefe
06-23-2010, 01:32 AM
No, I couldn't find any great examples in a cursory Google search (boo fucking hoo)...

You should cry. With embarrassment. An assertion as sweeping as the one you made earlier should have been brain-dead easy to support, if it were true. And by "brain-dead easy" I mean, of course, probably within your realm of capabilities.

TwinSwords
06-23-2010, 06:14 AM
Here's some enlightenment for you [on] Yasser Arafat's connection to the western political Left.

[...]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keffiyeh (you know the keffiyeh don't you... and who helped to popularize it, yes?)

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-keffiyeh-fashion-trend-or-political-statement/2/ (more on Arafat 'chic')

Oh lord, this has to the be funniest thing ever posted on the forum. I'm going to be laughing all day.

* Already emailed to friends. *

TwinSwords
06-23-2010, 07:03 AM
I was left wondering why Lewis is considered a bete noir on the left.

Lewis is not a bęte noire on the left because the left carefully analyzed Lewis's scholarly output and found it wanting. He is a bęte noire because he was a chief spokesman for the neocon agenda and a key advocate for the invasion of Iraq, an undertaking which is now widely recognized as a disaster for US interests.

E.g. (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0411.hirsh.html):

Lewis's basic premise, put forward in a series of articles, talks, and bestselling books, is that the West--what used to be known as Christendom--is now in the last stages of a centuries-old struggle for dominance and prestige with Islamic civilization. (Lewis coined the term "clash of civilizations," using it in a 1990 essay titled "The Roots of Muslim Rage," and Samuel Huntington admits he picked it up from him.) Osama bin Laden, Lewis thought, must be viewed in this millennial construct as the last gasp of a losing cause, brazenly mocking the cowardice of the "Crusaders." Bin Laden's view of America as a "paper tiger" reflects a lack of respect for American power throughout the Arab world. And if we Americans, who trace our civilizational lineage back to the Crusaders, flagged now, we would only invite future attacks. Bin Laden was, in this view, less an aberrant extremist than a mainstream expression of Muslim frustration, welling up from the anti-Western nature of Islam. "I have no doubt that September 11 was the opening salvo of the final battle," Lewis told me in an interview last spring. Hence the only real answer to 9/11 was a decisive show of American strength in the Arab world; the only way forward, a Kemalist conquest of hearts and minds. And the most obvious place to seize the offensive and end the age-old struggle was in the heart of the Arab world, in Iraq.

This way of thinking had the remarkable virtue of appealing powerfully to both the hard-power enthusiasts in the administration, principally Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, who came into office thinking that the soft Clinton years had made America an easy target and who yearned to send a post-9/11 message of strength; and to neoconservatives from the first Bush administration such as Paul Wolfowitz, who were looking for excuses to complete their unfinished business with Saddam from 1991 and saw 9/11 as the ultimate refutation of the "realist" response to the first Gulf War. Leaving Saddam in power in '91, betraying the Shiites, and handing Kuwait back to its corrupt rulers had been classic realism: Stability was all. But it turned out that the Arab world wasn't stable, it was seething. No longer could the Arabs be an exception to the rule of post-Cold War democratic transformation, merely a global gas station. The Arabs had to change too, fundamentally, just as Lewis (and Ataturk) had said. But change had to be shoved down their throats--Arab tribal culture understood only force and was too resistant to change, Lewis thought--and it had to happen quickly. This, in turn, required leaving behind Islam's anti-modern obsessions.

Iraq and its poster villain, Saddam Hussein, offered a unique opportunity for achieving this transformation in one bold stroke (remember "shock and awe"?) while regaining the offensive against the terrorists. So, it was no surprise that in the critical months of 2002 and 2003, while the Bush administration shunned deep thinking and banned State Department Arabists from its councils of power, Bernard Lewis was persona grata, delivering spine-stiffening lectures to Cheney over dinner in undisclosed locations. Abandoning his former scholarly caution, Lewis was among the earliest prominent voices after September 11 to press for a confrontation with Saddam, doing so in a series of op-ed pieces in The Wall Street Journal with titles like "A War of Resolve" and "Time for Toppling." An official who sat in on some of the Lewis-Cheney discussions recalled, "His view was: 'Get on with it. Don't dither.'" Animated by such grandiose concepts, and like Lewis quite certain they were right, the strategists of the Bush administration in the end thought it unnecessary to prove there were operational links between Saddam and al Qaeda. These were good "bureaucratic" reasons for selling the war to the public, to use Wolfowitz's words, but the real links were deeper: America was taking on a sick civilization, one that it had to beat into submission. Bin Laden's supposedly broad Muslim base, and Saddam's recalcitrance to the West, were part of the same pathology.

The administration's vision of postwar Iraq was also fundamentally Lewisian, which is to say Kemalist. Paul Wolfowitz repeatedly invoked secular, democratic Turkey as a "useful model for others in the Muslim world," as the deputy secretary of defense termed it in December 2002 on the eve of a trip to lay the groundwork for what he thought would be a friendly Turkey's role as a staging ground for the Iraq war.

Ultimately, Lewis (and the administration) were right that Turkey's secular implementation of Islamic society was a positive model to be encouraged and fostered elsewhere in the region. The only problem is you don't encourage that kind of outcome through a program of mass murder. Turns out that decimating Iraq and slaughtering tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent people had the opposite effect -- as everyone capable of clear expected from the beginning.

Lyle
06-23-2010, 12:36 PM
Haha... no, I will not cry. Nor am I embarrassed. Cause I am right after all. :)

Florian
06-24-2010, 01:59 AM
I can understand that Lewis is the bęte noire of the American left because of his support of the Iraq war, but I think it is an unfair to dismiss his work as an historian on these grounds. There are very few scholars writing in English or French who have his breadth and intimate knowledge of the different cultures of the Muslim world. Like all good historians he tries to be impartial and to avoid "present-mindedness" (reading the past with an eye on the present), and you can always learn something from him.

His view of the inevitable "clash of civilisations," which inspired Huntington, is more realistic and sensible than the "end of history" rubbish that was just a repetition of the usual ideology of American exceptionalism---and perhaps the real driving force of the neo-cons. It is unfortunate that Lewis, because of his visceral identification with Israel, was unable to see that war would only corroborate his thesis.

TwinSwords
06-24-2010, 06:42 AM
I can understand that Lewis is the bęte noire of the American left because of his support of the Iraq war, but I think it is an unfair to dismiss his work as an historian on these grounds. There are very few scholars writing in English or French who have his breadth and intimate knowledge of the different cultures of the Muslim world. Like all good historians he tries to be impartial and to avoid "present-mindedness" (reading the past with an eye on the present), and you can always learn something from him.

His view of the inevitable "clash of civilisations," which inspired Huntington, is more realistic and sensible than the "end of history" rubbish that was just a repetition of the usual ideology of American exceptionalism---and perhaps the real driving force of the neo-cons. It is unfortunate that Lewis, because of his visceral identification with Israel, was unable to see that war would only corroborate his thesis.
Thank you for the elaboration. Coming from you, the endorsement of his work means a great deal. I'm not personally qualified to judge his professional output, nor do I mean to do so in my post. I merely wanted to explain why Lewis is considered a bęte noire to the American left: It's because of his close association with the Bush Administration and his misguided encouragement of Bush foreign policy, including (or, especially) the disastrous Iraq war.