Fever, &c.

Historian Bernard Lewis


You know Bernard Lewis, the historian who is the dean of Middle East scholars, and a friend of National Review, and an NR cruiser. But did you know that he was leading a plot to divide Egypt into four separate states? Oh, yes. MEMRI — the invaluable Middle East Media Research Institute — has the story, here.

It is not only the Muslim Brothers who are peddling this lunacy: It’s the official Egyptian press. Lewis is the “Jewish-Zionist Orientalist,” alternatively “the Zionist conspirator historian” — etc.

I have said it for decades, ever since being exposed to the Arab world while in high school: The region will never, ever progress until the fever breaks — until the culture of the lie, the culture of nutty paranoia, dies or weakens. More than poverty or anything else, it’s lunacy and lies that hold the Arab world back.

Many Arabs will tell you this, when they think it’s safe to do so.

Quick story — a repeat: On 9/11 or 9/12, I received an e-mail from an Egyptian acquaintance, who lectured at the university in Alexandria. Very well-educated, Westernized woman. She said (in essence), “I hope you’re okay. And please know it couldn’t have been Arabs who did this — it must have been the Jews.”

If she could do no better than that — what hope was there for the man who emptied her trash at the university?

This story begins, “U.S. nonprofit organizations under investigation in Egypt say an old ally of Hosni Mubarak is behind an Egyptian campaign against pro-democracy groups.” The headline: “US groups point finger at Egyptian minister.”

I know which finger I hope it is.

The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Martin Dempsey, has described Iran as a “rational actor.” (Story here.) Really? Hope he’s right. A lot hinges on that . . .

Hugo Chávez has hit on a line of attack to use against his opponent in the October election, Henrique Capriles: “Jew, Jew, Jew!” With a dose of “Fag!” thrown in.

Wonder what our Chávez-supporting “progressives” — Kevin Spacey, Sean Penn, Naomi Campbell, et al. — will say.

(For a news article on Chávez versus Capriles, go here.)

Ho-hum — another Falun Gong practitioner being tortured to death. Hope I can stay awake long enough to tap this item.

This one’s name is Zhou Xiangyang. For a report on him, go here. Amnesty International has said, “His family saw him a few days ago and say that he is in very bad physical condition. During the visit, he told his family that the suffering inside the prison was beyond people’s understanding and that he could no longer take the torment.”

Do you suppose our leaders will think of Zhou and the countless Chinese like him, as these leaders cajole and fête the Communists in charge of this torture? I don’t either.

This anti-Romney article from the Associated Press was rather amazing. It began, “The world according [to] Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney: Europeans are socialists. The Chinese are currency manipulators. Russia can’t be trusted to abide by nuclear agreements. The Palestinians are out to destroy Israel. And the U.S. is too generous with humanitarian aid.”

All right. But I especially loved this: “[Romney] takes aim at European allies, who are seen as slipping the capitalist leash.” Funny, but I think of socialism as having a leash — a leash of varying length and tightness. And capitalism? Not so much of a leash, you know? Which is one reason socialists hate it so much.