Akbar Ahmed: Yes, no there is no doubt about this I knew that I’ve been watching this and studying this scandals for example because know once constant candles against or about political leaders tend diminish them. And nothing can be hidden today JFK was doing all kinds of things we use the media to deliver, [IB] they shielded. Today whether it’s Clinton or Edwards, immediately it’s out there and everyone is talking about [IB] for weeks and weeks till you destroy that politician. Similarly in the Muslim world till the 60s all these great figures that looking up from outside look so great and secure may not be as secure today with the intrusiveness of the media.

Michelle: Is that but when you aid you feel like that it’s a barren period is that what are some of the reasons for that?

Akbar Ahmed: I think there also, the age we’re living in it’s in the age impatience and it’s an age of great uncertainty it’s an age where people seem to have not time for each other. Even in the Muslims world families are falling apart. Divorce is much more frequent even in the Muslim world now, what we considered were western ills as it were in society they have now crept into our society. Much less respect for elders, much more cynicism, much more materialism. We prided ourselves in the east constantly that the east is somehow more spiritual, this is one of the myths one of the clichés of our civilizations that the east is spiritual inherently spiritual and again the kind of materialism you see there. Some of my friends have just come from Islamabad Dr. [IB] and his wife [IB] and they were talking about what’s happening in Pakistan today the elite for example. There is a lot of money, the gap between the very rich and the very poor this gap is increasing and the very rich lead lives which are in a cocoon. Very materialistic lives. They live lives which are really [IB] for themselves and they’re quite indifferent to the suffering of the millions and millions of ordinary people. So we are also passing through that stage of history again half a century, well look that the leadership, reproduce in the Muslim world and then in Pakistan we produce a man like Gena, this is a giant. In India you had Gandhi, you had Neru you had Morlan Assad. These are all giants in their on way. These are extraordinary figures yet toady if I asked you who the prime minister of India was you may not even be able to answer me or the other previous one because they don’t make that kind of mark. The kind of sacrifice that those earlier leaders gave the sense of identity with the ordinary people. The capacity to stand up for principals, to really believe in their principals and there’s a famous story of Gena for example now we equate him to some of the shenanigans that go on in modern politics. He’s brought letters that pass between Heru and [IB] which was of comprising cause it was rumored they were having an affair. Gena brought this letters and asked to publish them. And they would destroy the reputation of his opponent. And he is furious. He says I do not indulge in this kind of politics. I will not [IB] Pakistan on this basis. Now just think of any politician today doing that to an opponent, they would just destroy them. So there was also a sense of morality in politics which I think has evaporated.

Michelle: And one other thing that we spoke about, well we’re talking about challenges to the community from internal challenges and one of the thing you and I have discussed which you hinted that before you said something about a confusion a word that you’ve used before that when the Muslim world looks to our culture and they see US government investing heavily in the Muslim world in some ways and then they these events in the public that they’re trying to translate. So I wanted to see if you could elaborate a little bit more on when you say you fell like there’s this confusion it sounds like you think that’s an important thing and I’m wondering how can you, how can that be sort of clarified? I mean you’re talking about complicated culture we have so I mean we’re not going to speak with one voice all Americans?

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