Culture and Resistance: Conversations with Edward W. Said

Culture and Resistance: Conversations with Edward W. Said book cover

David Barsamian interviews Edward Said.
South End Press, 2003; 224 pages.

In his latest book of interviews, Edward W. Said discusses the centrality of popular resistance to his understanding of culture, history, and social change. He reveals his latest thoughts on the war on terrorism, the war in Afghanistan, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and lays out a compelling vision for a secular, democratic future in the Middle East-and globally.

Talking on the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Said proposes a radical solution that cuts through the current impasse with a promise of reconciliation and peace for both peoples. He addresses the origins of the Palestinian revolt, the collapse of the highly praised peace process, and whether the mainstream media in this country can be trusted to provide explanations. He also describes the ongoing campaign to prevent him from publicly addressing Middle East issues. Of the scandalous behavior of the Freud Society of Vienna, which canceled an invitation for him to speak, he says, "What they want is my silence, and as long as I'm alive, it's not going to happen."

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Edward Said (click to view archive)

Edward Said, internationally renowned Columbia University professor, practically invented the field of post-colonial studies. His great work, Orientalism has been translated into many languages and is widely used in colleges and universities. The New York Times called him, "one of the most influential literary and cultural critics in the world." As one of the few advocates for Palestinian rights in the U.S., he was the target of vilification, death threats and vandalism. The Economist said he "repudiated terrorism in all its forms and was a passionate, eloquent and persistent advocate for justice for the dispossessed Palestinians." He was a trenchant critic not just of Israeli policies, but also of Arafat, the corrupt coterie around him and the despotic Arab regimes. He felt strongly that intellectuals had a special responsibility to speak out against injustice, challenge power, confront hegemonic thinking and provide alternatives. His friend Noam Chomsky said of him, “Said was one of the most remarkable and influential intellectuals of the last half century. Much of his immense effort and talent was dedicated to overcoming the insularity, prejudice, self-righteousness, apologetics that are among the pathologies of power and defending the rights of the victims.” His memoir Out of Place won the New Yorker Book of the Year Award. He published two books of interviews with David Barsamian, The Pen & the Sword and Culture & ResistanceEdward Said died in New York on September 25, 2003.

David Barsamian (click to view archive)

One of America's most tireless and wide-ranging investigative journalists, David Barsamian has altered the independent media landscape, both with his weekly radio show Alternative Radio -now in its 28th year- and his books with Noam Chomsky, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali, Arundhati Roy and Edward Said. His latest book of interviews with Noam Chomsky is Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire. His best-selling books with Chomsky have been translated into many languages. Barsamian was deported from India in 2011 due to his work on Kashmir and other revolts. He lectures on world affairs, imperialism, the state of journalism, censorship, the economic crisis and global rebellions.

He is winner of the Media Education Award, the ACLU's Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, and the Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its Top Ten Media Heroes. The Boulder Daily Camera, Barsamian's hometown newspaper, published this feature about David in 2011. As Arundhati Roy wrote for The Guardian, Barsamian was deported from India in 2011 due to his work on Kashmir and other revolts. He speaks all over the world.

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