The Gulf Crisis, the Question of Palestine and U.S. Policy
Edward Said describes the matrix from which Saddam Hussein evolves, the U.S. involvement in the Middle East and ways to resolve not only the current Gulf crisis but the long-simmering Israeli-Palestinian issue. Said contends that U.S. policy and public attitudes are jaundiced by “hostility and ignorance towards the Arabs, Islam and their culture.” The media present the Arab world as “either an empty desert or terrorists.” Said exposes these reductive clichés and stereotype and opens the way for a genuine understanding of the present situation.
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.