Bernard Lewis citations

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Bernard Lewis

Date de naissance: 31. mai 1916
Date de décès: 19. mai 2018

Bernard Lewis, né le 31 mai 1916 à Stoke Newington, un quartier dans Londres, est un historien, professeur émérite des études sur le Moyen-Orient à l'université de Princeton, spécialiste du Moyen-Orient, notamment de la Turquie, et plus généralement du monde musulman et des interactions entre l'Occident et l'Islam. Il est l'auteur de nombreux ouvrages de référence sur le sujet. De citoyenneté britannique à sa naissance, il a aujourd'hui également acquis la nationalité américaine et israélienne.

Outre ses activités académiques, Bernard Lewis est un intellectuel engagé dans le combat politique. Il est connu pour sa défense d'Israël, l'apologie de l'interventionnisme des militaires dans la politique turque et pour sa négation du génocide arménien pour laquelle, en France, il fut condamné au civil, en vertu de l'article 1382 du code civil pour « faute » et pour avoir causé un dommage à autrui[pertinence contestée]. Il fut conseiller des services secrets britanniques lors de la Seconde Guerre mondiale[réf. nécessaire], consultant du Conseil de sécurité nationale des États-Unis, conseiller de Benyamin Netanyahou alors ambassadeur d'Israël à l'ONU [réf. nécessaire] et reste aujourd'hui un proche des néo-conservateurs,.

Citations Bernard Lewis

„L’Europe fera partie de l’Occident arabe, du Maghreb. La migration et la démographie militent en faveur de cela. Les Européens se marient tard et ont peu ou pas du tout d’enfants. Mais l’immigration reste forte : les Turcs en Allemagne, les Arabes en France et les Pakistanais en Angleterre. Ils se marient jeunes et font de nombreux enfants. Suivant les tendances actuelles, l’Europe aura des majorités musulmanes dans la population d’ici la fin du XXIème siècle au plus tard.“

—  Bernard Lewis

Europa wird sich als Teil des arabischen Westens sein, des Maghrebs. Dafür sprechen Migration und Demographie. Europäer heiraten spät und haben keine oder nur wenige Kinder. Aber es gibt die starke Immigration: Türken in Deutschland, Araber in Frankreich und Pakistaner in England. Diese heiraten früh und haben viele Kinder. Nach den aktuellen Trends wird Europa spätestens Ende des 21. Jahrhunderts muslimische Mehrheiten in der Bevölkerung haben.
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Interviews

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„Coming back to Iraq, obviously the situation has been getting worse over time, but I think it is still salvageable. We now have a political process going on, and I think if one looks at the place and what's been happening there, one has to marvel at what has been accomplished. There is an old saying, no news is good news, and the media obviously work on the reverse principle: Good news is no news. Most of the good things that have happened have not been reported, but there has been tremendous progress in many respects. Three elections were held three fair elections in which millions of Iraqis stood in line waiting to vote and knowing they were risking their lives every moment that they did so. And all this wrangling that's going on now is part of the democratic process, the fact that they argue, that they negotiate, that they try to find a compromise. This is part of their democratic education.
So I find all this both annoying and encouraging. I see that more and more people are becoming involved in the political process. And there's one thing in Iraq in particular that I think is encouraging, and that is the role of women. Of all the Arab countries, with the possible exception of Tunisia, Iraq is the one where women have made most progress. I'm not talking about rights, a word that has no meaning in that context. I'm talking about opportunity, access. Women in Iraq had access to education, to higher education, and therefore to the professions, and therefore to the political process to a degree without parallel elsewhere in the Arab world, as I said, with the possible exception of Tunisia. And I think that the participation of women the increasing participation of women is a very encouraging sign for the development of democratic institutions.“

—  Bernard Lewis

Books

„What we have now come to regard as typical of Middle Eastern regimes is not typical of the past. The regime of Saddam Hussein, the regime of Hafiz al Assad, this kind of government, this kind of society, has no roots either in the Arab or in the Islamic past. It is due and let me be quite specific and explicit it is due to an importation from Europe, which comes in two phases.
Phase one, the 19th century, when they are becoming aware of their falling behind the modern world and need desperately to catch up, so they adopt all kinds of European devices with the best of intentions, which nevertheless have two harmful effects. One, they enormously strengthen the power of the state by placing in the hands of the ruler, weaponry and communication undreamt of in earlier times, so that even the smallest petty tyrant has greater powers over his people than Harun al-Rashid or Suleyman the Magnificent, or any of the legendary rulers of the past.
Second, even more deadly, in the traditional society there were many, many limits on the autocracy, the ruler. The whole Islamic political tradition is strongly against despotism. Traditional Islamic government is authoritarian, yes, but it is not despotic. On the contrary, there is a quite explicit rejection of despotism. And this wasn't just in theory; it was in practice too because in Islamic society, there were all sorts of established orders in society that acted as a restraining factor. The bazaar merchants, the craft guilds, the country gentry and the scribes, all of these were well organized groups who produced their own leaders from within the group. They were not appointed or dismissed by the governments. And they did operate effectively as a constraint.“

—  Bernard Lewis

Books

„The origins of secularism in the west may be found in two circumstances—in early Christian teachings and, still more, experience, which created two institutions, Church and State; and in later Christian conflicts, which drove the two apart. Muslims, too, had their religious disagreements, but there was nothing remotely approaching the ferocity of the Christian struggles between Protestants and Catholics, which devastated Christian Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and finally drove Christians in desperation to evolve a doctrine of the separation of religion from the state. Only by depriving religious institutions of coercive power, it seemed, could Christendom restrain the murderous intolerance and persecution that Christians had visited on followers of other religions and, most of all, on those who professed other forms of their own.Muslims experienced no such need and evolved no such doctrine. There was no need for secularism in Islam, and even its pluralism was very different from that of the pagan Roman Empire, so vividly described by Edward Gibbon when he remarked that "the various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful." Islam was never prepared, either in theory or in practice, to accord full equality to those who held other beliefs and practiced other forms of worship. It did, however, accord to the holders of partial truth a degree of practical as well as theoretical tolerance rarely paralleled in the Christian world until the West adopted a measure of secularism in the late-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.“

—  Bernard Lewis

Books, The Roots of Muslim Rage (1990)

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