Christiane Amanpour has at least one parent who was part of what one would have hoped to describe as the intelligent secular ancien regime. They were the people pushed out by Khomeini and his epigones, and therefore, one would have thought, comprehending the nature of Islam. Well, it turns out that not everyone who has fled Iran quite has that necessary understanding. Some like to pretend that Khomeini is a sport, when the real sport was the Shah and his father, in their de-emphasis on Islam, their emphasis on the pre-Islamic past of Iran, and their willingness to limit the power of the mullahs — and, above all, to give the non-Muslims of Iran, the Christians, Jews, and Baha’is, reasonable security and even something akin to legal equality.
But Amanpour does not realize that. Nor, in her aggressive climb through the media ranks, has she stopped to study Islam. She has not stopped to find out what happened to the Zoroastrians or what happens to them in Iran today. She has not stopped to find out why, even in the 20th century, a Jew could be killed for going out in the rain (where a drop might ricochet off him and hit an innocent Muslim with this raindrop of najis-ness, thus contaminating him).
She might, that is, have begun with the history of Islam in Iran and considered the treatment of non-Muslims, and how Shah Abbas II overnight ordered the conversion of all the Jews and Armenians in an Iranian city (possibly Tabriz), and why the real, as opposed to the Iranian exile’s dreamy fictional history of Iran, is full of such episodes. She might have gotten hold of E. J. Browne’s work on Persian literature, and studied Hafiz and Sa’adi. She might have read Omar Khayyam, and come to realize just how un-Islamic he was. She might have read the Shahnameh of Firdowsi, and seen how his literary talent was put to work preventing the linguistic and cultural imperialism of the Arabs from successfully coming to damage and then overwhelm the Iranian culture. She might have done a special program on Islam as a vehicle of Arab cultural and linguistic imperialism, and used Iran as an example of one place where it did not succeed as it did elsewhere.
Oh, there are many things that raw-boned massive Christiane Amanpour might have done, if she had allowed herself the leisure to think, and be something more than one more media star, one more mere reporter incapable of making sense of what she reports on.
But she did none of it. She clawed and clawed to the top. She entered into a mariage blanc, a white marriage of grayish convenience, with James Rubin. She travels, she reports from here, she reports from there. She is like so many of them, with their fabulous salaries, their baseless self-assurance, their inability to convey anything difficult, anything that requires instructing us rather than feeding us visual and verbal pablum.
If you have seen the presentation of those “Christian fundamentalists” (read: Fanatics), then you will observe how carefully the cameramen have captured those flags, and taken shots of hands uplifted in prayer or hallelujahs to make sure the viewer gets the impression of a Nuremberg rally, with these “Christians” heil-hitlering all over the place. Very carefully done, very artfully and deliberately done. She, Christiane Amanpour, is of course determined to make this group of Christians look as bad as possible, and then to convince us that they represent a huge number of people, and to do the same, when their time comes, to those wild-eyed fanatical Jews, those “Biblical settlers” who think — imagine that! — that the Land of Israel, that gigantic land, practically the size of Connecticut or is it Massachusetts, was given in a Covenant to the Jews. What a terrible thing, what a thing so utterly comparable, is it not, to the view in Islam that the entire world belongs to Muslims, and that they must by right dominate everywhere?
Do you see a little something not quite symmetrical in her view, in her presentation, or that of her crew, so willing to play ball? Meanwhile, one wonders how she can stand herself. And why CNN so obviously insults us, in reducing the menace of Islam, the menace that only a fool could ignore, and the full scope of which, based on immutable texts, becomes clearer to the intelligent every day, to something like the non-existent menace from those wild-eyed Nurembergian Christians, with Amanpour as their recording Riefenstahl, or those crazy “West Bank” settlers, in their trailers, choosing to live among a million Arabs — “Palestinians” — who of course have every right to be there, because…well, isn’t the Middle East the same thing as the Arab World, after all? Where do those pesky remnants of Jews, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Copts, Maronites, Mandeans, Yazidis, Armenians, and all the others come from? Why don’t they go back where they came from? The “Arab World,” the “Muslim Arab World” — now that’s more like it. That’s just the ticket.
Because, you see, Every Group Has Its Crazies. And those crazies, you see, are exactly alike, in what they want, and how they act, and the size of the demands they make on the rest of us. But exactly.
That’s the point of this series. You didn’t think there was another point, did you?