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Such speculation is not virgin territory for Lewis, at least as far as the critic Edward Said was concerned.In his (1978), Said accused Lewis of characterizing the Arab male as incapable of true revolution because he is essentially castrated and unable to get either it or civil protest up.Now that we are about to officially head into the Autumnal paradox of the Arab Spring, there is no limit to the excess of punditry about why it happened, is happening and will continue to happen.Back in February, the historian Bernard Lewis weighed in on the current uprisings for an interview in ).
That “more open, much more tolerant” pre-modern political paradise is as absurd as the more common Islamophobic trope that Muslims have always ruled by the sword.I note here the question from the interviewer and the response by Lewis: There’s a common theme of anger and resentment.And the anger and resentment are universal and well-grounded. First of all, there’s the obvious one – the greater awareness that they have, thanks to modern media and modern communications, of the difference between their situation and the situation in other parts of the world. But when everybody else around you is pretty far from abjectly poor, then it becomes pretty intolerable. One has to remember that in the Muslim world, casual sex, Western-style, doesn’t exist.On the one hand, it can lead to the suicide bomber, who is attracted by the virgins of paradise – the only ones available to him. The fact that a young man (or woman) in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya or Yemen cannot get a job and make a living at home is not the tipping point for Lewis; no, it is pure jealousy — give me hamburgers and blue jeans or give me death — don’t tread on my cell phone.Then there is that particular “another thing.” If as a young Arab man you can’t get laid, then you might as well go out in the streets and brave the dictator’s thugs and tanks.
A more contemporary example is the modern-day theologian Lee Gatiss who argues that premarital sex is immoral based on scripture.