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A Palestinian Perspective on the Conflict with Israel

Program #SAIE028. Recorded on August 15, 2002.

The Palestinian viewpoint is rarely heard in the mainstream media and when it is, like on The O'Reilly Factor or Hardball, it is interrupted and cut off. Palestinians have been demonized and have become virtually synonymous with terrorist. They simply lust for the blood of innocents. There is little or no rational discourse. Context and background are reduced to formulaic constructions. That they have been living under the longest military occupation in modern times is not even mentioned. The great Uruguayan writer and journalist Eduardo Galeano says, "Palestinians have been damned to play the scapegoat for European anti-Semitism and to pay with their land and blood for the holocaust they did not commit."

Speaker(s):

Edward Said

Edward Said, internationally renowned Columbia University professor, practically invented the field of post-colonial studies. His great works, Orientalism and Culture and Imperialism, have been translated into many languages and are 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. His two books of interviews with David Barsamian are The Pen & the Sword and Culture & ResistanceEdward Said died in New York in 2003.

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