Culture and Resistance: Conversations with Edward W. Said
David Barsamian interviews Edward Said.
Haymarket Books, 2019; 224 pages.
Edward W. Said discusses the importance and centrality of popular resistance in the framework of culture, history, and struggle. He reveals his thoughts on the war on terrorism and the invasion of Afghanistan. On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he lays out a compelling vision for a secular, democratic future in the Middle East. He proposes a radical solution that cuts through the current impasse with a promise of reconciliation and peace for both peoples. Prof. Said addresses the origins of Palestinian resistance and the collapse of the so-called peace process that has led to more and more Israeli colonies. He is unsparing in his criticism of Arafat and the PLO. He dissects the role of media propaganda and its golden rolodex of pseudo-experts in shaping public opinion.
New introduction by David Barsamian.
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 & Resistance. Edward Said died in New York in 2003.
One of America’s most tireless and wide-ranging investigative journalists, David Barsamian has altered the independent media landscape. His weekly radio program Alternative Radio is now in its 34th season. His books with Noam Chomsky, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali, Richard Wolff, Arundhati Roy and Edward Said sell around the world. His latest book with Noam Chomsky is Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy. He lectures on world affairs, imperialism, capitalism, the media, and the eco-crisis. In 2017 Radical Desi in Vancouver presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award. He has collaborated with the world-renowned Kronos Quartet in events in New York, London, Vienna, Boulder and San Francisco. David Barsamian is the 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.