Cross-posted with permission from Political Grind
by Roger W. Gardner
When you’re right, you’re right. As unpleasant as it may be, I think it’s finally time for us to face up to the facts and issue some apologies. A more thorough examination of the historical evidence appears to support what the liberals have been telling us all along — that we Americans were, indeed, responsible for the rise of radical Islam.
There, I’ve said it and I feel better now.
Of course, I’m not referring to those controversial actions of our present war-mongering Bush administration. Nor even those awkward missteps of that bumbling Clintonian gang. No, we’re not talking here about Reagan or Carter or any of the preceding administrations or any of their misguided foreign policy blunders. This has little to do with any of our politicians or statesmen or generals or religious leaders. In fact, the likely instigators in this sordid affair held no major governmental posts whatsoever. And while many of them, although somewhat ‘on in years’ are still with us, they probably won’t be found anywhere near Washington D.C. Rather, they’re spread all across America, living out their quiet normal lives in virtual anonymity, neatly tucked into their warm quilted comforters.
Who, then, are these mysterious golden-agers? And what did they do that so infuriated the peaceful Muslim ummah and set the Middle East ablaze?They are, God bless them, the Notorious Greeley Girls. And what they did was dance. And their dancing changed our world.
The facts of the story are as follows. In 1948, a relatively unknown author and minor functionary from the Egyptian Ministry of Education was sent to the United States to study our educational system. A shy, quiet, somewhat droopy little man, with an almost comical Charlie Chaplin moustache, his name was Sayyid Qutb (pronounced ‘kut’tib’). Unfortunately for the fastidious Mister Qutb, his unhappy sojourn in America would prove to be more than just a classic case of culture shock; it would soon become a deeply traumatic experience from which he would never fully recover.
By 1950, Qutb had made his way to that infamous hotbed of sin and licentiousness, Greeley, Colorado, where he enrolled at Colorado State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Colorado. Although forty-two years old, the hyper-sensitive and deeply pious Sayyid was, by all accounts, still a virgin. And evidently, almost everything about the 1950s free-wheeling Greeley cultural scene deeply shocked him and offended his tender sensibilities.
He found Americans brash, materialistic, immoral and self-indulgent. He was astonished by the Greeleyite’s apparent obsession with their well-manicured green lawns, and their ungoverned drinking of alcohol and wanton indulgence in hedonistic pleasures. He found the men to be shallow and brutal, their sports, football, wrestling and boxing, savage and pointless, and their ignorance of the world profound.But Qutb saved his most vicious and vehement condemnations for those pretty Greeley coeds.
“The American girl,” he would later write in his book ‘The America I Have Seen’, “is well acquainted with her body’s seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. she knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs — and she knows all this and does not hide it.” Whew! Thirsty lips and shapely thighs — those Greeley Girls must have been pretty hot stuff. We can just picture these promiscuous bobby-soxers provocatively sauntering about the Colorado State campus in their ankle-length plaid skirts and their sexy penny loafers. No wonder poor Sayyid was so scandalized. But, for our Twentieth-Century Savonarola there was still worse to come.
Qutb devoted some of his most lurid and lascivious purple prose attempting to describe what he perceived to be the Greeley Girls’ most wanton debauchery — their sensual and suggestive dancing. “They danced to the tunes of the gramophones, and the dance floor was replete with tapping feet, enticing legs, arms wrapped around waists, lips pressed to lips, and chests pressed to chests. The atmosphere was full of desire…”
For those of you who weren’t around, or those who may have forgotten, the most popular record of 1950 was that catchy little alphabetical love song “‘A’ - You’re adorable”, sung by Perry Como and the Fontane Sisters. Also big that year was “The Tennessee Waltz”, by Patti Page and the immortal “Mona Lisa”, by Nat “King’ Cole. The big bands of the 30s and 40s were starting to fade away but the Tommy Dorsey Band was still around and still drew large crowds of enthusiastic fans. Doris Day was hugely popular, and Frank Sinatra was just beginning his epic journey to stardom. A new age of “bebop” jazz was being ushered in by talented musicians like trumpeter Miles Davis and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, whose intricately-scored and heavily orchestrated new recordings were heralded as the “Birth of the Cool”.
Yet somehow, in the midst of all this soulless hedonism, between June 1948 and May 1949 the Great Satan had managed to extricate itself from its frenetic self-indulgence long enough to have flown 278,228 flights into Soviet-blockaded Berlin carrying over 2 million tons of food and supplies, which, at the cost of 31 American lives, most likely saved a whole generation of Berliners from starvation and possible death. And somehow, this decadent self-centered nation managed to find the time to vote 5.43 billion 1950 dollars in foreign assistance to help some of their former enemies to rebuild war-ravaged Europe.
Of course, in Sayyid Qutb’s moral ledger book, all of this Yankee magnanimity would count for little. For he had seen the Notorious Greeley Girls dance, and that was all he needed to see.
In 1951, Qutb returned to Egypt and became a leader of the fundamentalist, anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood. Considered one of the most influential Islamic theorists, his writings would become the theoretical basis for radical Islam. Eventually, Sayyid Qutb was accused of plotting against the Egyptian government and imprisoned. He was executed in 1966.Among his many pupils and ardent followers was Ayman Zawahiri, who would later become mentor to Osama bin Laden.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
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