This is not mere ancient history. It is playing out today, and not just in the consequences of British (or French, or German, or American) imperial misadventures. It informs our Western portrayal of the "East" and our understanding of its peoples. We still see ourselves as the civilized world, the bearers of universal values. And we still portray the "East" as less civilized, more prone to violence, less respectful of human life and liberty.
Ultras have for the past eight years been at the core of anti-government protest in Egypt. They have been the drivers of student protests in the last two years against the regime of Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, the general-turned-president who in 2013 toppled Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first and only democratically elected president.
If we play it right and if we listen carefully to what our Arab partners are saying to us, the Iran deal can open the door to constructive discussions with allied Arab leaders that will enhance the prospects of peace and stability across the region. My concerns are not with the deal itself, but with how it was done.
These tragic incidents received a mere fraction of the attention they should have. While the focus of late has been on #BlackLivesMatter, it is important to address the violence visited upon other groups, including religious and ethnic minority groups -- whether by terrorists, vigilantes or police who believe they have a right to monitor and take not only black lives, but brown lives too.
It's all too predictable that some Muslims, as tragically disturbed and misguided as alleged Chapel Hill killer Craig Stephen Hicks seemingly is, will take matters into their own hands. That's one thing I'm afraid of. But I'm also afraid of the opposite -- that Muslim communities around the US will be terrorized into cowering timidity.
To hear these "experts" pontificating about Islam or Arab culture is more than annoying. It's downright dangerous. Instead of elevating the discourse, they dumb it down. And instead of making us aware of the enormous complexities involved in these conflict zones, they reduce them to simple and easy clichés.