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.
I wish to highlight two nuggets from this article on the 50th anniversary of Project Mercury. You may remember what Scott Carpenter said, just before liftoff: “Godspeed, John Glenn.” It is now revealed what he said right before that: “Remember, John, this [the rocket] was built by the low bidder.”
Speaking at a reunion on Saturday, Carpenter said, “We stand here waiting to be outdone” — in other words, where are the heroics of our present age?
Apparently, New York City bans pets in restaurants — I never knew that — but the health department waived the rule for the winner of the Westminster Dog Show, a Pekingese named Malachy. According to this article, the pooch “enjoyed the traditional victory meal at Sardi’s.”
Isn’t that just like Big Government? Granting special favors, holding all the cards — acting as the Sovereign, who may occasionally condescend to grant some exemption to a particular subject.
This report contained an obscenity, I think — a violation of taste, conscience, and truth. See what you think.
It spoke of Morocco’s democracy movement, which seems to have run out of steam. “Like the Occupy movements in the United States, Morocco’s pro-democracy groups now need to find out if they can keep the fight going.”
Trust me, the similarity between the Moroccan groups and our “Occupy” — with its “down twinkles,” defecation on police cars, and other charming acts — is absolutely zero.
I used to say, “Germany and Austria are pretty much the only democratic countries in which I don’t root for the Right.” I thought of this when reading, “Sudanese police raided student dormitories at Khartoum’s main university on Friday, beating and arresting hundreds of students in the latest crackdown on youth protesters . . .” (Article here.)
In my own country, student protesters have so often been complete jerks, and utterly unjustified. Elsewhere — e.g., Tiananmen Square — no.
About Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks phenom, some people say, “He wouldn’t be getting so much attention if he weren’t Asian.” Is that true? Maybe.
I had a memory: In 1987 (I’ve just looked it up), Isiah Thomas said that, if Larry Bird were black, he would be considered just another good player, not a great.
Well, Bird is a great. But was he extra-praised — singled out — because he was white? Probably.
After a little furor erupted, Thomas said he was just joking. I never thought he was.
Happy Presidents Day! Kind of a bogus thing, I know (and with a complicated history, which I won’t get into now). If I had my way, we’d celebrate Washington’s birthday and Lincoln’s birthday separately.
Is it my fault that Martin Luther King, Lincoln, and Washington all had birthdays within about five weeks of one another? Is it my fault that Thanksgiving and Christmas are so close?
No! I am not the spacer-in-chief, you know.
A few days ago, I was looking at dolphins playing in the Gulf of Mexico. At least, that’s what I thought and said they were doing: playing, frolicking, cavorting.
But, really, how could I know? What would I know? Maybe they were doing something of tremendous gravity to themselves.
When I was growing up, people said that the Chinese, when they talked, always sounded mad, even when they were expressing tender sentiments.
Spotted outside a shop in North Redington Beach, Fla.: “For Sale: Husband (Remote Included).”
A little language? Here’s a gate agent at the Tampa airport, after a long delay: “As we say in the South, we’ll board it like we stole it, and be on our way.”
Sunday in Manhattan: A beggar says, “Can you help me get something to eat?” “Sure,” says the man to whom the beggar has appealed. Proffering a bag, he says, “Take this: It’s moussaka, sort of like Greek lasagne.” Beggar: “Naw, I had lasagne yesterday.”