Monday, August 14, 2006

Odds and Ends

When Bernard Lewis speaks about the Middle East, you had better listen. An excellent interview here.

President Bush has been in trouble lately over his studied use of the term "Islamic fascists." And while I have been none too charitable to our President in recent months, he is correct on this one. The term comes closer to recognizing reality--vastly superior to the nonsensical "war on terror." To separate the Islamic part of the equation from the terrorism, is to purposely miss-characterize what is actually happening. If anything, the term is still too tame. For fascists, to my understanding, were all about order--their order to be sure--but order, nonetheless. We've often heard the old line about how "Mussolini made the trains run on time," etc. I think "Islamic anarchists" is more descriptive.

The chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) predictably huffed that it "contributes to a rising level of hostility to Islam and the American Muslim community." Well, that is typical PCBS. Whether it engenders hostility or not, is immaterial. What is needed is an awareness that the current conflict is just the latest episode in the 1400 year-old struggle of Islam against the West. It has ebbed and flowed, but at present, it is flowing our way. One can make the point that the current terrorism is an aberrant and virulent strain of Islam, but the greater point is that it is a recurring strain in Islam. Calling it what it is is healthy.

I suspect everyone is tired of the whole Mel Gibson episode by now. Even so, lest we get into high dudgeon over it, Rod Dreher addresses the Mel in all of us. And in doing so, he invokes Flannery O'Connor--always a nice move. Read it here.

And finally, Maureen Freely has an excellent essay in Sunday's NYTimes about the trouble a Turkish novelist is in over her use of the "G" word. That's right--genocide, as in Armenian. Read it to believe it here. We occasionally read of a nutcase and/or Iranian President who denies the Jewish Holocaust. In Turkey, Armenian Genocide denial has been a matter of statute law. Truth will out, and the official line is becoming harder and harder to maintain, but the legal and military apparatus is still poised to pounce on any writer who dares to speak the truth.

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