Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bizarre anecdote of the day

In the course of his address to an audience (including Dick Cheney), marking his receipt of the 2007 Irving Kristol Award from the American Enterprise Institute, Bernard Lewis (as this sentence now reaches neocon saturation point) told this tale (via The Corner) --

when the Barbary Corsairs raided an Irish town called Baltimore in the 17th century, abducting its inhabitants and enslaving them in Algiers, they took away a family named Cheney

This was apparently part of a broader thesis that the West has been at war with Islamism for centuries -- not that Dick Cheney needed the surname similarity for an excuse to ignore what people here and now think of his policies, as opposed to some imagined legacy hundreds of years down the road.

UPDATE: Another account of the broader themes in Lewis's speech. The rapturous reception among this influential audience for what is quite a radical or even reactionary view of Europe's relationship to Islam is salutory.

FINAL UPDATE: With the FT's Gideon Rachman (subs. req'd) justifiably calling attention again to Lewis's bizarre speech, here's the transcript.

No comments: