A License to Kill: The Muslim Rage

A Short History Lesson

Born to Jewish parents, British-American historian specialising in Oriental Studies, Mr Bernard Lewis (now 98 years old), served in the British Army and WWII Intelligence Corps before taking up a role in the Foreign Office. Considered by many as the most influential (Western) post-war historian of Islam and the Middle East, and whose name has been attached to the then British plan to undermine the USSR (through Balkanisation of the Middle East) — and said to have later been adopted by America’s own Zbigniew Brzezinski — here (sometime in the post-immediate 9/11 wake) Mr Lewis takes questions from American journalist, founder and now retired CEO of C-Span, himself once a member of White House Telecommunications policy staff and U.S. Navy officer, Brian Patrick Lamb.

Sure of his footing, Mr Lewis demonstrates a great wit tempered with more-or-less proportionate humility to befuddle Mr Lamb (who, to be fair, had been overwhelmed with information and a head full of questions to ask) whose characteristic hard-hitting, short-and-sharp style is subject to great, and often unrecognised, irony (but to his credit doesn’t give in). All the while and floating nicely above (and perhaps also within) the UK v USA undercurrent between these two is a lesson for all.

[Video footage of the interview seems to have been taken down from YouTube. In its absence, we post another interview with Mr Lewis discussing Muslims and Islam.]

Here are links to the two articles said to have propelled Mr Lewis’ thoughts on the Middle East into pre-eminence in the West: a 1990 article about Muslim discontent published in The Atlantic and a 1998 article about Osama bin Laden published in Foreign Affairs. While no one person can claim all the answers or a complete perspective, these articles help to set the background for a more complex survey of the geopolitical landscape that is the current Middle East. It behoves us all to read them.

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