Fouad Ajami: Tribute to Bernard Lewis
Bernard Lewis, the esteemed scholar of Islam and the Middle East, who will be 90 in a few days, is one of the Cassandras of our era. As Fouad Ajami, himself a respected Middle Eastern Affairs scholar, writes in today's WSJ.com Opinion Journal:
We anoint sages when we need them; at times we let them say, on our behalf, the sorts of things we know and intuit but don't say, the sorts of things we glimpse through the darkness but don't fully see. It was thus in the time of the great illusion, in the lost decade of the 1990s, when history had presumably "ended," that Bernard Lewis had come forth to tell us, in a seminal essay, "The Roots of Muslim Rage" (September 1990), that our luck had run out, that an old struggle between "Christendom" and Islam was gathering force.
Ajami goes on to relate how and why Lewis was able to foretell the imminent clash of civilizations from a "declaration of war," published in an obscure London-based Arabic newspaper, and written by an equally (then) obscure, self-designated "holy warrior," unknown at that time even to Lewis, named Osama Bin Laden.
Professor Ajami's entire article is well worth reading.