Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The Devil You Don't Know--Until Gwen Ifill Tells You About It
Now, I ask you: Until all this Egypt stuff started, had you EVER heard of the Muslim Brotherhood? I hadn’t, and I consider myself a fairly media-savvy individual. It’s been more than 30 years since the Iranian Revolution, and since then there’ve been numerous international events that have heightened our exposure to all things Islamic, including the Gulf War and many terrorist events before that and since, not least of all 9/11.
In fact, in the U.S., in the modern age, we have been pretty much obsessed with Islam, Muslims, Arabs, etc., not only because of the terrorist aspects that affect our country, but also because the U.S. maintains a cozy relationship with Israel--a relationship that is forever in danger of being stressed by our need to deal with the Arabs. (We need their oil and Arab countries essentially surround Israel, whom historically they don’t like.)
But really, folks, why is it that only fast on the heels of Egyptian upheaval are we learning about the Muslim Brotherhood--”the world's oldest and largest Islamic political group, and the ‘world's most influential Islamist movement.’ ”? What the--??
I’ve been watching PBS news and news programming for decades. I catch “Meet the Press” fairly often. I’ve watched the cable news wars. And never once did I hear Gwen Ifill, John McLaughlin or the late Tim Russert or the current David Gregory or anybody else say a single word about the MB. Not even after 9/11, when everyone was rushing to their computers to research Al Qaeda, was there any common profiling of this group. And whatever there was must have been pretty sketchy.
Now, the MB are (is?) this supposedly hugely influential group in the Arab world. All of a sudden. Just like that.
Well, no, they’ve been around a long time, apparently. But it’s very interesting to me that it’s only now that the average American citizen is learning of them.
I must say, their name doesn’t exactly inspire a warm, fuzzy feeling. The Muslim Brotherhood. It seems closer to organized crime than to thoughtful, measured Middle Eastern political policy. Presumably, it’s not a sisterhood, either. So that would exclude the thousands of Egyptian females that kept popping up on American news programs--the ones in Tahrir Square who kept saying they wanted to become doctors and lawyers and teachers and scientists.
All we really know is that the MB is Muslim, and while we’re trying to be openminded and all--support your local mosque, either at Ground Zero or in Murfreesboro, Tennessee--whatever we're feeling presently doesn't exactly smack of peace of mind.
At any rate, now we know who’s calling the shots for Middle East governments. We can use that information--as one Arab nation after another collapses under the weight of its newfound desire for “freedom” and “prosperity.” Hmmmm...
We can only hope the MB play fair. And have a vision characterized by progressive thought and good intentions. But if I’m an Israeli, I’d be a little more nervous than I already am.