I appreciate that in today’s world it is important to get connected. Moreover it is truly wonderful to be able to share thoughts, not just with your own people, but with people across the entire planet. And at this time my thoughts – apart from wondering anxiously how my tome will be received – are with the struggling, heroic people of the Islamic world. Despite everything I am optimistic. History is on their side. They have had enough of tyrants who behave as though their country is their private property. They have had enough of the tyrants’ families obscenely siphoning off the limited wealth of their lands to feather their own nasty little nests. And they have certainly had enough of the murderous cruelties which they have inflicted on their own peoples.
They see the West, and while cherishing their own faith, wish for the freedoms and the vastly better life opportunities which its tolerant and open society offers. Of course, it is natural that the West should fear a lurch into Islamic extremism, but my hopes rest with the better educated young people. They form a majority bloc throughout the Islamic world, and above all they want jobs and the opportunities which these will bring. Thanks to the twin innovations of the mobile phone and the internet they are all in touch with one another and with us. Their oppressors can no longer hide things, nor shut them up. And they know stuff. They will not willingly exchange the miseries they and their parents have endured for so long only for a fresh set of miseries from new despots or a set of mad mullahs. All power, I say, to their elbows. They want what we have. And why not?