Please go read the entire post:
I am a Middle East expert. I lived in the area for nearly 10 years, speak several of its languages, and have given my life to understanding its history and culture. Since September 11, 2001, my country has been profoundly involved with the region, both negatively and positively. Powerful economic and political forces in American society would like to monopolize the discourse on these matters for the sake of their own interests, which may not be the same as the interests of those of us in the general public. Obviously, such forces will attempt to smear and marginalize those with whom they disagree. Before the Internet, they might have had an easier time of it. Being in the middle of all this, trying to help mutual understanding, is what I trained for. Should I have been silent, published only years later in stolid academic prose in journals locked up in a handful of research libraries? And this for the sake of a “career”? The role of the public intellectual is my career. And it is a hell of a career. I recommend it.
Juan R.I. Cole is a professor of modern Middle East and South Asian history at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. His blog can be found at http://juancole.com
Bravo, Mr. Cole. And thank you for all the writing you do, and giving me and so many others a better understanding of the issues in the Middle East. In an age where we are all so misled by our government’s administration, our media, and the corporate interests, those willing to speak out as you do are such a breath of fresh air. All I can do is point others towards those like you who are willing to tell the truth and support you and others who are willing to do so. I seriously hope that somewhow, that makes a difference.