View Full Version : Edward Said dies
Sep 25th, 2003, 01:47 PM
Sep 25th, 2003, 03:45 PM
I occasionally experience myself as
a cluster of flowing currents.
I prefer this to the idea of a solid self,
the identity to which so many attach
so much significance. These currents,
like the themes of one's life, flow along
during the waking hours, and at their best,
they require no reconciling, no harmonizing.
They are "off" and may be out of place, but
at least they are always in motion ...
-- Edward Said, Out of Place
Sep 25th, 2003, 04:03 PM
-- Edited for content
Sep 25th, 2003, 04:33 PM
Semi-dead link...goes straight onto NY Times subsciption board... :(
Palestinian Scholar Edward W. Said Dies
31 minutes ago Add U.S. National - AP to My Yahoo!
By ULA ILNYTZKY, Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK - Columbia University literary scholar Edward W. Said, the nation's foremost Arab intellectual and advocate for the Palestinian cause, has died after a bout with leukemia. He was 67.
• The Edward Said Archive (edwardsaid.org)
Said, who died at a New York hospital late Wednesday, was a leading member of the Palestinian parliament-in-exile for 14 years, stepping down in 1991.
He wrote passionately about the Palestinian cause and a variety of other subjects, including English literature — his academic specialty — as well as music and culture.
Said (pronounced sye-EED) was born in 1935 in Jerusalem, then part of British-ruled Palestine, but spent most of his adult life in the United States.
On the Arab-Israeli conflict, he was consistently critical of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians.
Two years ago, he said that Israel's "efforts toward exclusivity and xenophobia toward the Arabs" had actually strengthened Palestinian determination.
"Palestine and Palestinians remain, despite Israel's concerted efforts from the beginning either to get rid of them or to circumscribe them so much as to make them ineffective," Said wrote in the English-language Al-Ahram Weekly, published in Cairo.
After the signing of the Oslo peace accords in 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (news - web sites), Said criticized Yasser Arafat (news - web sites) for making what he regarded as a bad deal for the Palestinians. He said Arafat and the Palestinian Authority (news - web sites) had become "willing collaborators with the (Israeli) military occupation, a sort of Vichy government for Palestinians."
In 2000, during a visit to the Middle East, Said stirred a controversy on campus by throwing a rock toward an Israeli guardhouse on the Lebanese border. Columbia did not censure him, saying that the stone was directed at no one, no law was broken and his actions were protected by principles of academic freedom.
Ghazi Aridi, Lebanon's minister of culture, called Said's death a great loss for Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular. Said was "an educated man and an intellectual capable of presenting Arab and Palestinian positions in a rational, scientific and flexible manner," Aridi said.
Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, who first met Said in the 1960s, said he "was a man of intellect and courage who remained unwavering in his commitment to the Palestinian cause for justice and freedom and never ever allowed himself to be intimidated or silenced."
"We need intellectuals like Edward Said, especially at this stage we are going through," said Turki al-Hamad, a prominent Saudi intellectual and writer. "We Arabs are not rich in such kind of intellectual thinking. He leaves a huge gap in our intellectual life."
After studying in Cairo in his youth, Said moved to the United States, where he received a bachelor's degree from Princeton University in 1957 and a master's and Ph.D. from Harvard, in 1960 and 1964.
Most of his academic career was spent as a professor at Columbia in New York, but he also was a visiting professor at such leading institutions as Yale, Harvard and Johns Hopkins.
His books include "The Question of Palestine" in 1979 and "After the Last Sky" in 1986. His first book was a dissertation on Joseph Conrad, the early 20th century novelist on Western imperialism.
In 2002, Said, together with pianist Daniel Barenboim, was named the winner of Spain's Prince of Asturias Concord Prize for his effort toward bringing peace to the Middle East. Said and Barenboim had run summer workshops for young musicians from Israel and Arab countries.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete.
Sep 26th, 2003, 04:39 AM
Wow. My heart goes out to his family, adoring fans, students, and all those who tell me his linguistics work was great stuff...
.... but good riddens to him and his filthy lies.
Sep 26th, 2003, 10:04 AM
What a lovely sentiment. I'm certain that the pleasure you take in his early demise is in no way similar to the base hatreds that fuel the endless cycle of death and violence in the middle east.
Sep 26th, 2003, 09:07 PM
Be honest Max, do you truly believe this man is worthy of veneration? I marked him as a major Levantine Arab terrorist in the Abbas thread a month or so ago and recieved no argument then so why trifle now. He spoke of a single nation-state governing Jerusalem and the outlying area much as existed during the Ottoman Empire where Christians, Molsems and Jews may coexist freely but really, that is merely a nice way of saying he wishes to see Israel as a nation erased from existance. . .Though for good reason, as he was born and raised in Jerusalem and driven out by the Israelis after the 1948 war. Wait a minute, forgive me, that was the story he made up for his memoirs which was later proven to be a falsehood when it was discovered he had been in fact born and raised in Egypt where he attended a privilaged private school in Cairo.
He was well educated, and very persuasive, but ever manipulative and prey to his own prejudiced intent. Having read Said's articles in Z Magazine, it is, quite frankly, hard for me to believe anyone could accept him as a legitimate authority - Nor am I alone. Bernard Lewis has called his works concerning western imperialism incomplete, going on to describe them as oversimplifications of the dichotomy which exists between East and West and adding that Said is guilty of having exaggerated the nature of colonial reality within the Middle East. Martin Kramer has demonstrated how the entire field of Middle Eastern studies became ideologically distorted as a result of Said's work in his own treatise, Ivory Towers on Sand.
Said was a brainchild of the complete and utter bullshit pathology which claims the stunted development in the Middle East was a result of Western capitalism, and is therefore an abomination to be not only resisted but destroyed at any cost. This may be hard to believe of such a mild mannered scholar, but it should be pointed out that Said, once a member of the Palestinian National Council, broke a few years ago with Yasser Arafat because he found him too moderate. Three years ago he was photographed throwing rocks at Israeli's from the Lebanese border in an attempt to get IDF soldiers to shoot at him.
Said in life was guilty of the same intellectual totalitarianism as Noam Chomsky and others whom preach the tolerance of differing ideals, yet lambast any whom fail to fall into line with their own warped ideaologies.
Sep 27th, 2003, 04:49 AM
What a lovely sentiment. I'm certain that the pleasure you take in his early demise is in no way similar to the base hatreds that fuel the endless cycle of death and violence in the middle east.
Excuse me? How exactly were my sentiments "furthering the cycle of violence", Burbank? Sa'id was a member of the Palestinian National Council that dispatched suicide bombers, and embezzled billions in aid to Palestinians. How much do you know about Sa'id? Are you really sure my comments weren't warranted? You can thank him for a miseducation that causes such misguided statements of moral equivalency like the one you made. L'shona Tovah.
Also - Rorschach's answer is dead on (no pun intended).
Sep 27th, 2003, 04:38 PM
Yes we Westerners are so much more civilized and 'humanitarian' than those dirty, lying Arabs, and their intractable 'Arab minds'. This time, we have the imperial thing down the right way, of course. Moral equivalency? Equivalency in turpitude, perhaps.
And, political polemics aside, it always strikes me how few people who criticize his literary theory stuff have actually read any of it. As far as his memoirs are concerned, there are various rebuttals available online (by Said, others, even one by Hitchens!).
Sep 27th, 2003, 05:26 PM
Yeah, I'm pretty sure he was born in Jerusalem in the 30's Ror, which would make him a native of that region, NOT Egypt.
Ror, I'm not saying your criticism of Said is totally off, but I would suggest you be careful about attacking him and citing such an "unbiased" figure as Bernard Lewis in the same breath.
I could cite 10 sources now that say he wasn't born in Egypt, but hey, why do that when we have ABC here. :rolleyes
I guess I fall into Spinsters category of the unread, b/c I frankly didn't care much for Edward Said. However, I rarely would celebrate the death of anyone with the childish vigor displayed by both Ror and ABC. Ror, I expect that from an extremist zealot such as ABC, but from you, it's a surprise.
Sep 27th, 2003, 05:28 PM
Sep 27th, 2003, 11:00 PM
I'm not nearly as well versed in this area as I probably should be to carry forth with this conversation so let us simply allow it to stand at this: There is enough evidence to cast doubt upon his integrity and character, so let us not allow his untimely death lull us into blind acceptance of his life's works.
Jaded eyes see clearly after all. Idealists who choose to make their beliefs a way of life must conduct themselves in a manner which is beyond reproach. Edward Said was no Hitler, but neither was he Ghandi.
Sep 28th, 2003, 02:45 AM
It's mainly because of Sa'id that the term Zionist has become a slur....so it's pretty ironic that within the context of this discussion, you would call me a "Zealot", another word once meant to describe Jews, and now commonly used to describe someone in a negative light.
I said good riddens to his lies but I expressed regret for his family.... It was a horrible and tragic way for any man of his age to pass. I never gloated on about how he suffered, nor did I go on and on debating on wether he was an Egyptian... or even attack the factual errors of his work in specific detail. I merely attempted to express my displeasure for the man and leave it at that. I think it's rather telling that you expect me to have compassion for a man who never mourned the death of a single Israeli without first justifying the deaths.
I'll say this much... he was highly influential to the left....though you must realize he meant more to Westerners then he ever did his own people. His legacy was educating Americans of his agenda. He was masterfull at turning the palestinian cause into vogue. The problem is, his version erased some key elements of the story, and made it possible for the Arafats involved to win peace prizes, and the political wing of Hamas to receive aid. His version of the story conveniantly edited out the genocidal goals that the PLO was created to fullfill, instead creating a picture of apartheid....one that doesn't realistically reflect the situation. He also raised funds, and was directly involved with the fiscal transfer of financing for PLO operations, including suicides. I believe his goals were damaging to everyone involved, and I'm of the opposite belief from Sa'id... Palestinians are not animals, and they have the ability to seek their nationalistic goals through other means besides the violence he encouraged, and symbolically took part in.
I have read, and own his books pertaining to the conflict.
Sep 29th, 2003, 11:08 AM
" Edward Said was no Hitler, but neither was he Ghandi."
George Bush the elder is no Hitler, but neither was he Ghandi
George Bush the younger is no Hitler, but neither was he Ghandi
Ariel SharonEdward Said is no Hitler, but neither was he Ghandi
Prince Bandahar is no Hitler, but neither was he Ghandi
Johnny Cash was no Hitler, but neither was he Ghandi
John Ritter was no Hitler, but neither was he Ghandi
Max Burbank is no Hitler, but neither was he Ghandi
Spongebob Squarepants is no Hitler, but neither was he Ghandi
What Palestinain voice and or opinion would any of you select to deal with? I don't mean some mythical Plaestinian Voice you would like. Because if the two sides do not deal with each other (and they make only the thinnest pretense of dealing now) then you simply accept the status quo, blow following blow, death following death. No matter how much you dislike and distrust the views of the Palestinians you either have to pick someone to deal with or havce the decency to come out and say you have no intention of dealing with them at all. There are historical precedents after all. There were no moderate Nazis, and Chamberlain was wrong to deal with Hitler. That is perfectly suppprtable political stance.
My question, and I've posed it before, is do you see any point in attempts at an Israeli/Palestinian peace process?
If yes, who do you propose the Israeli's engage with? What camp, what stripe, hich person?
If the answer is their is no Palestinian Camp, stripe or person you would have them engage with, (and again, I agree this argument cn be made) what do you propose Israel do?
I have seen multiple arguments here against opinions and sympathies, but (and perhap I've missed them) I've heard no suggestions about what to do if their is no one to engage with.
My feeling is down that road lies a war of attrition leading to mutual annihilation.
I might not shed a tear when Henry Kissinger dies, but I wouldn't say or feel for that matter, Good riddance. I don't know how much bloodshed you attribute to Said, but I'd be willing to bet I attribute more to Kissinger, who has had a far longer run, and enjoyed far more power.
Sep 29th, 2003, 04:10 PM
Should I make a whole list of people Said isn't comparable to and include Kissinger? It's apples and oranges. Look, when Leni Reifenstahl died I said the same thing. These are people who cover up genocidal dreams and make them palatable to the masses. Good riddens to that.
I think we should all agree that the violence needs to end. I do hope you understand there is a school of thinking by Said and others that the violence needs to continue, and that it's the only recourse...and worse of all... that it's working. That's not a "cycle of violence", that's war mongering.
Sep 29th, 2003, 04:26 PM
I think you are terribly underestimating Saids influence Burbank, but I'll refrain to answering the above queries which you suggest I've shirked in the past:
"My question, and I've posed it before, is do you see any point in attempts at an Israeli/Palestinian peace process?"
"If yes, who do you propose the Israeli's engage with? What camp, what stripe, which person?"
There is no Palestinian Camp , stripe or person the Israelis can engage with whom will bring about a peaceful accord.
"What do you propose Israel do?"
Israel should do whatever she wants as a sovereign nation. I'm a citizen of the United States, and as such, the entire world may turn itself into a radioactive wasteland as far as I'm concerned, and so long it does not endanger a single US citizen in doing so, I couldn't possibly care less. What should the US do? Pragmatically, nothing. It is not out business, and we should never have endeavoured to make it so, but that is not a realistic answer because we have involved ourselves and therefore must do something. What should we do, well. . .Personally, I think the best outlined plan to date can be found at the URL below:
Sep 29th, 2003, 05:26 PM
I've read that article and like it and think tere are many fine ideas in it.
First however, I find your arguments circular sophistry, and I say that not just because I mean it, but because it will make Vinth thop reading.
To paraphrase your points:
1.) Yes, I see a point in a peace process.
2.) No, there is no one to negotiate a peace process with.
What then? A US forced peace? An indeffinite period of waiting sort of kind of hoping that perhaps a Palestinian negotiator will arise? Your point 3 makes the question moot, because.
3.) I'm not Israel, they should do what they want.
This ignores the point of the question, which was not really what you personally or the US or Abcddxx should do, but what might you imagine doing, what might you suggest , what course might Israel take? I lay the initiative at Israels feet becuase they have a functioning government and military capable of controlling their citizenry and acting on their behalf.
Then having said that you don't personally think the US ought to have a role you forward a peace plan (which I mostly like by the way) That TOTALLY relies on US military and financial contributions.
And the central problem with the plan you offer is it was written before Abbas resigned and assumed to some degree that Abbas could be trusted to negotiate for the Palestinians.
I think their has to be someone you are willing to negotiate with before you can really talk about a plan. I think to find someone to negotiate with, you have to find a camp or movement of Palestinians that you do not utterly reject.
It's all very well to say that you cannot negotiate with Arafat, Abbas cannot be trusted and is a terrorist, the opinions of Said cannot be trusted he is terrorist. You may well be right. I don't contest the speciffics.
If what you really believe, and I'm only asking you to ask yourselves (ie. everyone debating this) that NO palestinian can be trusted, that ALL Palestinians are terrorists;
If you cannot imagine a Palestinian who you do not like, who you do not agree with, but who you can work with...
Than why talk of peace at all? And if you don't believe peace is a possability, take the bull by the horns and say what you DO think Israel should do.
Oh, and while Said may have had more active influence on current world affairs as of a week ago than Kissinger, it's arguable. If however, you're talking about lifetime achievement awards, Said was strictly AAA league. Kissinger is Joltin Friggin' Joe on a mountain of corpses. Excuse the hell out of my mixed metaphor.
Sep 30th, 2003, 03:24 AM
Burbank - it's all kumbia that you'd resist dancing on Kissinger's grave, but I doubt you'd scold anyone who points out his faults once he's dead.
I still believe that an agreement can be made over disputed land through negotiations with it's previous landlords... Jordan and Egypt. The war never really ended after 1967, but treaties were signed, and should be adhered to.
Here are some problems with the solutions suggested in that article Ror linked:
- It makes no mention of water supplies, or agreements for natural gases, ports, etc. THESE are the real issues here.
- Trading an equal amount of land comparable in square footage is impossible and would create another refugee situation. Gaza is the size of Long Island, and only about 20% of it is being used. Israel proper is densely populated. Limiting the right of return sounds fine, but Israel is already the number one destination of Arab immigrants in the Middle East.
- A pool of 25 million towards compensation is a drop in the bucket. I don't think Israelis in settlements should be paid above market rate either. This also brings into question the claims of Arabic Jews for their loss of assets. I would like to see Arafat's bank accounts seized and returned to the Palestinian people.
- The US have had a very poor track record playing peace keeper in the region, and obviously they're viewed as being partial to Israel. Their presence would lead to greater violence.
- Returning the Golan Heights isn't an option.
- The idea of a dual capitol in Jerusalem becomes less of a likely reality as Muslims continue to destroy the Temple Mount. A wall collapsed the other day.
Sep 30th, 2003, 11:54 AM
I agree with some of those points.
Let me put the question to you and see if you fair any better than Shach did.
Do you think the Israelis and Palestinians should be involved in a peace process?
The One and Only...
Sep 30th, 2003, 03:54 PM
I say we make Isreal and Palestine states, turn Jerusalem into the government-run middle eastern Las Vegas, and use the profits to balance the budget.
Or, we set up a special governmentally-run pay-per-view channel (whoms cost progresses based on income, so that it can be bought by all) that allows you to watch the middle eastern conflict "from the front lines". Profits are then used to balance the budget.
During all of this, the Bush scandel that reveals his sex affair with his cow down in Texas will explode, during which he can respond with "I did not have sex... (looks down at paper) ...with my cattle."
Oct 1st, 2003, 06:43 AM
One only - That joke would be funnier if there wasn't an abandoned shell of a Casino sitting out in Jericho...they actually tried your Las Vegas idea.
Burbank - In theory I think a peace process is a must...but that's assuming negotiations can't hurt. The reality of the situation is a bit more complicated , because the peace process itself has increased the violence. Prior to Oslo, Arafat was in hiding, negotiating with the PLO was a punishable crime, and most of the Palestinian leadership were on the most wanted lists. When Israeli groups like Peace Now pressured the Knesset into peace talks, they allowed for an escalation in violence by promoting the status of the PLO to an actual "Authority". They forced Israel to make allowances like the creation of a Palestinian territory... none of this has improved the lives of Palestinians, nor as it helped Israelis feel secure... nobody's happy. The violence has spiked during key moments of peace talks. I don't think forcing someones hand into peace is an option, and I don't think the current representation for the Palestinians are working in good faith. Israel is deseperate, and they're going in too many different directions for any of them actually to succeed. There's certainly no reason to negotiate with Arafat, and the White House photo ops really don't do anyone any good. It's hard to have much confidence that any agreement or creation of a palestinian state in any form will put an end to violence. 100 half assed agreements and false promises are for more damaging then stopping the negotiations untill both parties are ready to come to the table with a mutual goal of peace.
Oct 1st, 2003, 10:43 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with the uselessness of photo ops and half ass attempts.
So, what then? A mutual balance of death? In the hopes that maybe someday their will be enough for people to turn away from vengance, while praying that in the meantime neither side significantly ups tha ante? I don't know, I'm honestly asking.
Here's the only step I think we as a country should make. I think we should pressure Israel as much as we are able to accept a multni-national observer force. The palestinians already want this, and I think it could cool things down, lend Israel credability, and by documenting and publicizing facts on the ground aid peace advocates on both sides.
I am not familliar with Israels objections and would ppreciatte summary.
Oct 1st, 2003, 02:56 PM
"What then? A US forced peace? An indeffinite period of waiting sort of kind of hoping that perhaps a Palestinian negotiator will arise?"
Just as I believe that laws concerned with protecting people from themselves, rather than to protect the encroachment of rights and liberties by others, I also believe that forcing a peace upon nations goes against the American philosophy.
"This ignores the point of the question, which was not really what you personally or the US or Abcddxx should do, but what might you imagine doing, what might you suggest , what course might Israel take? I lay the initiative at Israels feet becuase they have a functioning government and military capable of controlling their citizenry and acting on their behalf."
I ignored the question because I was not qualified to give a suitable answer being largely unaware of certain relative facts which I would need to in order to land at a just conclusion, therefore I attempted to answer your question as best I could, given the limitation of my scope.
"Then having said that you don't personally think the US ought to have a role you forward a peace plan (which I mostly like by the way) That TOTALLY relies on US military and financial contributions."
Having endeavoured to emplace ourselves in such quagmires as the Middle East peace process, we have a responsibility to see it through until the end. Yes, it does rely entirely on the US, as it should as we owe them the same commitment as we owe the Kurds, and Iraqi's and Afghani's, and every other people we have promised to aide and embetter.
"And the central problem with the plan you offer is it was written before Abbas resigned and assumed to some degree that Abbas could be trusted to negotiate for the Palestinians."
The King of Jordan could be trusted to Palestinians, and if memory serves, that was a previous proposition. He seems even keeled enough to me to be trusted in Abba's stead.
"If you cannot imagine a Palestinian who you do not like, who you do not agree with, but who you can work with... Than why talk of peace at all? And if you don't believe peace is a possability, take the bull by the horns and say what you DO think Israel should do."
See this is where I make an assumption, which is always a potentially disastrous move. The majority of people within Palestine, I believe without any supporting facts or data, are people frustrated by economic dispair, crippled by lack of formal education, and despirited by the prospects of a doubtful future. Perhaps it is simply cultural arrogance, but this is how I see them, and based on that assumption, I believe a dose of wealth, comfort and security for their future coupled above all with an open educational system would go a long ways to easing the tensions in that reason. A hundred years ago we were having witch trials, and the only difference between the Americans then and the Palestinians now is technological means and lack of inhibition.
"Oh, and while Said may have had more active influence on current world affairs as of a week ago than Kissinger, it's arguable. . ."
Arguable is the correct word here in my opinion. The ramifications of Said's writings will endure long after Kissinger's last ripples are felt, though of course I hope otherwise.
Oct 5th, 2003, 05:36 PM
Okay let me see if I can summarize some of Israel's objections to peace keeping forces...
- It infringes on the rights of a soveriegn nation, and rewards the PLO and the UN for their efforts. It force Israel to transfer control.
- Peace keeping forces are only used to stabilize formerly warring nations, so a peacekeeping force would constitute a de facto international recognition of the PA as a Sovereign state. This would happen without recognizing Israels right to exist, or renouncing violence to end the conflict.
- Israel views this akin to the UN dispatching peace keeping forces during the civil rights disturbances of the 60's in the US.
- 230 Marines were killed in Beirut, another few dozen were killed when Israel hit the USS Liberty during the Six Day War, while "scouting" an area it wasn't supposed to be in. They've tried putting US troops in various parts of Israel and the neighboring region, and the results are always a disaster. When people suggest this it really just shows they skimmed when reading up on the history.
- the MFO (Multinational of Observers) in Egypt, and the UNTSO (forget what that stands for) in the Golan Heights have been seen as positive peace keeping forces...but it hasn't stopped daily missile bombings from the Golan, or weapons smuggling from Egypt.
- UN agreed to put peace keepers in Egypt when Israel withdrew from the Sinai but when Nasser asked the UN to get rid of them in 1967, they complied. This implicated the UN in assisting Egypt in what led to the Six Day War, forcing Israel to take over the Sinai penninsula. When Israel left the Sinai again in 1979, it refused any use of the UN peace keepers, and now the US leads that multinational force. The UN have also assisted in covering the identities and refusing to disclose evidence of a kidnapping up in the Golan Heights, where soldiers, journalists, and innocent bystanders from several nations were kidnapped by Hizzbalah.
- Every International body that's gone over to stop or monitor the violence has ended up adding to it. These groups are often caught protecting terrorists, and smuggling guns. The areas where they're stationed in are almost always Palestinian territories, where to survive, they're pressured into assisting the intifada.
- The term "peace" is up for interpretation. There are dozens of International Solidarity Movement members in Arafat's compound acting as human shields who would swear they're trying to keep the peace. But they'd rather strangle Israel's leader then protect him. So their version of peace is very one sided. A lot of people think that as long as Palestinians are poverty stricken, violence against Jews isn't violence, or that it's "justified violence". The International community you want to act as peace keepers are the same ones who buy new text books for Palestinian schools, and then allow the use of texts that teach children genocide as vindication.
- Israel dislikes anything that smacks of a moral equivalency. A suicide bomber from Islamic Jihad hits Jews having their Kol Nidre dinner before their holiest day of the year, and the UN doesn't say a peep. Israel retaliates by bombing the caves where terrorists train, resulting in zero deaths, and the UN condemns them. Also - the whole analogy of the middle east as two kids fighting in a playground is offensive and derogatory to both sides. It's an attempt to white wash the situation. If peace keepers approached the conflict from this point of view, it would be tragic.
- Finally, there is no cease fire for peace keepers to uphold.
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