Christiane Amanpour, despite her family background, has no real experience or knowledge of Islam. Herself secular, and married (in a mariage blanc) to James Rubin, she is confused about Islam. She knows Iranian Muslims who are nothing like the Iranian Muslims now in power, but she fails to recognize that those she knows were never the real thing. She doesn’t realize that they were unrepresentative, as unrepresentative of Islam as was, say, Maxim Litvinov of the Soviet regime — even though he served that regime as Foreign Minister and as ambassador.
She is defensive about Islam without knowing about it, and without knowing how the primitive Muslim masses think. Yet that is what should count in Infidel calculations, and not the suave and often deceptive exceptions — whether they are Chalabi and other westernized Shi’a exiles inveigling the Americans into removing Saddam Hussein, or plummy-voiced Prince Hassan, a real performance artist, capable of impressing the impressionable.
Amanpour has never studied Islam, never quite grasped the significance of its texts. After all, apparently her own parents were capable of ignoring large parts of them. Nor has she studied the history of Islamic conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims and destruction of non-Muslim cultures, although as someone of Iranian descent, she might well have bothered to do so. Her name gives her, for audiences, a false authenticity, and allows her to be endowed with an authority her level of knowledge does not actually entitle her to claim, or to have attributed to her.
Meanwhile, there is that CNN glory. There is that money. There is that celebritydom. There is that Washington wedding, attended by le tout Clinton administration, and that marriage of convenience, that mariage blanc.
Petro-dollars explain part of it. Stupidity another part. In the case of Amanpour, one wondered how she would come out. Would she realize, in the manner of so many Iranians in exile, that Islam and not merely the Islamic Republic of Iran, was the problem? Would she move from her older positions, like Oriana Fallaci, and see what Islam was all about? Or would she play her “Islamic” card for all it was worth to her — in entree here and there (to the Hajj, for example)? She is a careerist hell-bent on furthering her career. And what better way to further her career at this point in history than in being a Muslim? Not a real one — her faith is as sham as her marriage. Instead, she is almost a “Muslim-for-identification-purposes-only” Muslim, who does what she does out of a curious blend of monomaniacal careerism and ambition, together with filial piety. There is also in play for her all sorts of misremembered nostalgia for that jeunesse-doree life as a spoiled child in Teheran — a child of the very class that benefited financially from the ancien regime, that corrupt, stupid, and unaware regime, that when confronted with Khomeini did not know where to put its feet and hands.
She used to be tolerable — just. No longer.
Why does the press, why does television, who do political leaders simply refuse to even hint at the truth? Do they think this makes things better, makes us more able to conduct ourselves in what is a permanent war? When, to give one example, 60 Minutes some time ago had a segment devoted to Muslim mistreatment of women among the immigrants in France, the bland and blind though endlessly self-assured Amanpour never, not once, mentioned the word “Islam.” When one of her interviewees explains the oppression of young girls — mass rapes, burning to death, that sort of thing — as being the result of “tradition,” she lets that vague word stand unchallenged and unglossed.
What will it take? Must there be bombs in Jain temples, or at a Confucian altar, sufficiently publicized to make clear to all but the hopelessly stupid and those who are wedded to false symmetries and pat phrases (not just Amanpour, but Tom Friedman, with his platitudes and fake plongitudes, comes nautically to mind)? How much evidence had to be assembled before Copernicus could dare suggest that, after all, the earth really did travel around the sun? How much evidence needs to be accumulated about what is happening now, and what has been happening for 1350 years of Islam’s aggression against all non-Muslims, for people to become their own little Copernicuses, and arrive at the unstoppable and ineluctable and unavoidable explanation of what is going on? How much evidence needs to be accumulated for even Christiane Amanpour to do so?