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NOTICE: We are discontinuing the addition (ON THIS PAGE) of links to new articles by Edward Said. Rather, we recommend you go to our Search Page and conduct a search for "Edward Said". . . . and don't forget to scroll down this page for additional postings. Currently, we are blogging some Edward Said's new work directly to the sections of this Web site that is focused on the topic of the article (such as the War on Iraq). [Webmaster April 17, 2002]

Posted March 13, 2003
Who Is In Charge?

Posted February 13, 2003
America Is A Monument To Hypocrisy

Posted January 17, 2003
An Unacceptable Helplesslessness Will the last person to leave please turn out the lights? Edward Said urges an Arab alternative to the wreckage that is about to engulf our world.

Posted June 18, 2002
Palestine Elections Now - Al-Ahram 13 - 19 June 2002

Posted February 5, 2002
The screw turns, again (Edward Said, Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 6 February 2002)
“While the main media and the government echo each other about the Middle East, there are alternative views available through the Internet, the telephone, satellite channels, and the local Arabic and Jewish press. Nevertheless, so far as what is readily available to the average American is drowned in a storm of media pictures and stories almost completely cleansed of anything in foreign affairs but the patriotic line issued by the government, the picture is a startling one. . . . Words alone are inadequate to explain how an American secretary of state, who presumably has all the facts at his command, can without a trace of irony accuse Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for not doing enough against terror and for buying 50 tons of arms to defend his people, while Israel is supplied with everything that is most lethally sophisticated in the American arsenal at no expense to Israel. . . . Israel has Arafat locked up in his Ramallah headquarters, his people totally imprisoned, leaders assassinated, innocents starved, the sick dying, life completely paralysed -- and yet the Palestinians are accused of terrorism. The idea, much less the reality, of a 35-year military occupation has simply slid away from the media and the US government alike. . . . I do think that the adjective ‘wicked’ is the correct one here for what is being done to the truth of the Palestinian experience of suffering imposed by Sharon on the West Bank and Gaza collectively.”

Posted January 29, 2002
Emerging Alternatives in Palestine (Edward Said, Al-Ahram, January 15, 2002)
“American official condemnations of Yasser Arafat's Authority after 11 September as harbouring and even sponsoring terrorism have coldly reinforced the Sharon government's preposterous claim that Israel is the victim, the Palestinians the aggressors in the four-decade war that the Israeli army has waged against civilians, property and institutions without mercy or discrimination. The result today is that the Palestinians are locked up in 220 ghettos controlled by the army; American-supplied Apache helicopters, Merkava tanks, and F-16s mow down people, houses, olive groves and fields on a daily basis; schools and universities as well as businesses and civil institutions are totally disrupted; hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed and tens of thousands injured; Israel's assassinations of Palestinian leaders continue; unemployment and poverty stand at about 50 per cent -- and all this while General Anthony Zinni drones on about Palestinian ‘violence’ to the wretched Arafat, who can't even leave his office in Ramallah because he is imprisoned there by Israeli tanks, while his several tattered security forces scamper about trying to survive the destruction of their offices and barracks. . . . [A] silent majority of Palestinians is neither for the Authority's misplaced trust in Oslo (or for its lawless regime of corruption and repression) nor for Hamas's violence. . . . In mid-December, a collective statement was issued that was well-covered in the Arab and European media (it went unmentioned in the US) calling for Palestinian unity and resistance and the unconditional end of Israeli military occupation, while keeping deliberately silent about returning to Oslo. . . . In addition, just as the Authority jumped to obey Sharon and Bush by rounding up the usual Islamist suspects, a non-violent International Solidarity Movement was launched by Dr Barghouthi that comprised about 550 European observers (several of them European parliament members) who flew in at their own expense. With them was a well-disciplined band of young Palestinians who, while disrupting Israeli troop and settler movement along with the Europeans, prevented rock-throwing or firing from the Palestinian side. This effectively froze out the Authority and the Islamists, and set the agenda for making Israel's occupation itself the focus of attention. All this occurred while the US was vetoing a Security Council resolution mandating an international group of unarmed observers to interpose themselves between the Israeli army and defenceless Palestinian civilians. . . . So where is the Israeli and American left that is quick to condemn ‘violence’ while saying not a word about the disgraceful and criminal occupation itself? I would seriously suggest that they should join brave activists like Jeff Halper and Louisa Morgantini at the barricades (literal and figurative), stand side by side with this major new secular Palestinian initiative, and start protesting the Israeli military methods that are directly subsidised by tax-payers and their dearly bought silence.”

Posted December 25, 2001
Israel's dead end (Edward Said, Media Monitors Network, December 24, 2001)
“Nineteen years later, what was happening then to the Palestinians in Lebanon is happening to them in Palestine. Since the Al-Aqsa Intifada began last September, Palestinians have been sequestered by the Israeli army in no fewer than 220 discontinuous little ghettos, and subjected to intermittent curfews often lasting for weeks at a stretch. No one, young or old, sick or well, dying or pregnant, student or doctor, can move without spending hours at barricades, manned by rude and deliberately humiliating Israeli soldiers. As I write, 200 Palestinians are unable to receive kidney dialysis, because for ‘security reasons’ the Israeli military won't allow them to travel to medical centres. Have any of the innumerable members of the foreign media covering the conflict done a story about these brutalised young Israelis conscripts, trained to punish Palestinian civilians as the main part of their military duty? I think not. . . . The crucial point in all this is that Israel has been in illegal military occupation since 1967; it is the longest such occupation in history and the only one anywhere in the world today. This is the original and continuing violence against which all the Palestinian acts of violence have been directed. . . . The crucial point in all this is that Israel has been in illegal military occupation since 1967; it is the longest such occupation in history and the only one anywhere in the world today. This is the original and continuing violence against which all the Palestinian acts of violence have been directed. . . . For the first time, a major Palestinian challenge on Palestinian rights is being mounted inside Israel (not on the West Bank), with all eyes on the proceedings. At the same time, the Belgian attorney-general's office has confirmed that a war crimes case against Sharon can go forward in that country's courts. A painstaking mobilisation of secular Palestinian opinion is underway and will slowly overtake the Palestinian Authority. The moral high ground will soon be reclaimed from Israel, as the occupation becomes the focus of attention and as more and more Israelis realise that there is no way to continue indefinitely a 35-year occupation. . . . Besides, as the US war against terrorism spreads, more unrest is almost certain; far from closing things down, US power is likely to stir them up in ways that may not be containable. It's no mean irony that the renewed attention on Palestine came about because the US and Europeans need to maintain an anti-Taliban coalition.”

Posted November 27, 2001
Suicidal ignorance (Edward Said, Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 15 - 21 November 2001)
“I would go so far as saying that today almost the least likely argument to be listened to in the United States in the public domain is one that suggests that there are historical reasons why America, as a major world actor, has drawn such animosity to itself by virtue of what it has done . . . The assumption seems to be that American virtue or honour in some profoundly inviolate way has been wounded by an absolutely evil terrorism, and that any minimising or explanation of that is an intolerable idea even to contemplate, much less to investigate rationally. That such a state of affairs is exactly what the pathologically crazed world-vision of Bin Laden himself seems to have desired all along -- a division of the universe into his forces and those of the Christians and Jews -- seems not to matter. . . . There really is a feeling being manufactured by the media and the government that a collective ‘we’ exists and that ‘we’ all act and feel together . . . There is plenty of unrecorded or unregistered scepticism, even outspoken dissent, but it seems hidden by overt patriotism. So, American unity is being projected with such force as to allow very little questioning of US policy, . . . Our only hope as a people is for Palestinians to show the world that we have our principles, we occupy the moral high ground, and we must continue an intelligent and well-organised resistance to a criminal Israeli occupation, which no one seems to mention any more. . . . Israel has been destroying the Palestinian infrastructure, destroying towns and schools, killing innocents, invading at will, without Arafat paying enough serious attention. He must lead the non-violent protest marches on a daily, if not hourly basis, and not let a group of foreign volunteers do our work for us. . . . It is not acceptable to sit in Beirut or Cairo meeting halls and denounce American imperialism (or Zionist colonialism for that matter) without a whit of understanding that these are complex societies not always truly represented by their governments' stupid or cruel policies. We have never addressed the currents in Israel and America which it is possible, and indeed vital, for us to address, and in the end to come to an agreement with. In this respect, we need to make our resistance respected and understood, not hated and feared as it is now by virtue of suicidal ignorance and indiscriminate belligerence.”

The Progressive Interview of Edward W. Said (David Barsamian)
“Speaking as a New Yorker, I found it a shocking and terrifying event, particularly the scale of it. At bottom, it was an implacable desire to do harm to innocent people. It was aimed at symbols: the World Trade Center, the heart of American capitalism, and the Pentagon, the headquarters of the American military establishment. But it was not meant to be argued with. It wasn't part of any negotiation. No message was intended with it. It spoke for itself, which is unusual. It transcended the political and moved into the metaphysical. There was a kind of cosmic, demonic quality of mind at work here, which refused to have any interest in dialogue and political organization and persuasion. . . . . The just response to this terrible event should be to go immediately to the world community, the United Nations. The rule of international law should be marshaled, but it's probably too late because the United States has never done that; it's always gone it alone. . . . . Now we come to the really sad part. The Arab rulers are basically unpopular. They are supported by the United States against the wishes of their people. In all of this rather heady mixture of violence and policies that are remarkably unpopular right down to the last iota, it's not hard for demagogues, especially people who claim to speak in the name of religion, in this case Islam, to raise a crusade against the United States and say that we must somehow bring America down. . . . . Now, all the words that George Bush used in public during the early stages of the crisis—‘wanted, dead or alive,’ ‘a crusade,’ etc.--suggest not so much an orderly and considered progress towards bringing the man to justice according to international norms, but rather something apocalyptic, something of the order of the criminal atrocity itself. That will make matters a lot, lot worse, because there are always consequences.”

 

Posted October 30, 2001
A vision to lift the spirit (Al-Ahram Weekly)
“The turbulence of war and its unknown dimensions and complications (its consequences in places like Saudi Arabia and Egypt are likely to be dramatic, if as yet unknown) have stirred up the whole Middle East in striking ways, so that the need for some genuinely positive change in the status of the seven million stateless Palestinians is sure to grow in importance. . . .The Western media hasn't at all conveyed the crushing pain and humiliation imposed on Palestinians by Israel's collective punishment, its house demolitions, its invasions of Palestinian areas, its air bombings and killings. . . .The real culprit is a system of primary education that is woefully piecemeal, cobbled together out of the Qur'an, rote exercises based on outdated 50-year-old textbooks, hopelessly large classes, woefully ill-equipped teachers, and a nearly total inability to think critically. . . . .The US has underwritten Israel's intransigence and brutality: there are no two ways about it -- $92 billion and unending political support, for all the world to see. . . . The plain truth of the matter is that anti-Americanism in the Arab and Muslim world is tied directly to the US's behaviour, lecturing the world on democracy and justice while openly supporting their exact opposites. . . . There can be no peace without pressure on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, including Jerusalem, and -- as the Mitchell report affirmed -- to dismantle its settlements. . . . the great failing of Oslo must be remedied now, at the start: a clearly articulated end to occupation, the establishment of a viable, genuinely independent Palestinian state, and the existence of peace through mutual recognition. . . . The Palestinian political scene must absolutely be overhauled to represent seamlessly what every Palestinian longs for -- peace with dignity and justice and, most important, decent, equal coexistence with Israeli Jews.”

 

Posted October 9, 2001
The Clash of Ignorance (feature story in “The Nation”)

“But why not instead see parallels, admittedly less spectacular in their destructiveness, for Osama bin Laden and his followers in cults like the Branch Davidians or the disciples of the Rev. Jim Jones at Guyana or the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo?”

 

Posted before October 3, 2001
Backlash and Backtrack

“I have been arguing for years that our main weapons as Arabs today are not military but moral, and that one reason why, unlike the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, the Palestinian struggle for self- determination against Israeli oppression has not caught the world's imagination is that we cannot seem to be clear about our goals and our methods, and we have not stated unambiguously enough that our purpose is coexistence and inclusion, not exclusivism and a return to some idyllic and mythical past. The time has come for us to be forthright and to start immediately to examine, re-examine and reflect on our own policies as so many Americans and Europeans are now doing. We should expect no less of ourselves than we should of others. Would that all people took the time to try to see where our leaders seem to be taking us, and for what reason. Scepticism and re- evaluation are necessities, not luxuries.”

There Are Many Islams
What is most depressing, however, is how little time is spent trying to understand America's role in the world, and its direct involvement in the complex reality beyond the two coasts that have for so long kept the rest of the world extremely distant and virtually out of the average American's mind. You'd think that 'America' was a sleeping giant rather than a superpower almost constantly at war, or in some sort of conflict, all over the Islamic domains.

Sharpening The Axe
Remember that 99 per cent of the people reading newspapers or watching TV news all over the world (including Arabs) have simply forgotten -- if they ever knew -- that Israel is an illegal occupying power and has been for 34 years. So we must remind the world of that over and over. Repeat and repeat and repeat. This is not a difficult task, although it is, I believe, absolutely crucial. To remind everyone repeatedly about the Israeli occupation is a necessary repetition, much more so than stupidly inconsequential and sentimental Israeli and American-style remarks about peace and violence. Can we learn, or are we condemned to repeat our mistakes forever?

Innocents Face Endless Cruelty Without End
The appallingly, unbroken history of Israel's 34-year-old military occupation (the second longest in modern history) of illegally conquered Palestinian land has been obliterated from public memory, as has been the destruction of Palestinian society in 1948 and the expulsion of 68 per cent of its native people, of whom 4.5 million remain refugees today. Behind the reams of newspeak, the stark outlines of Israel's decades-long daily pressure on a people whose main sin is that they happened to be there, in Israel's way, is staggeringly perceptible in its inhuman sadism. The cruel confinement of 1.3 million people jammed into the Gaza strip, plus the plight of the nearly two million Palestinian residents of the West Bank have no parallels in the annals of apartheid or colonialism.

Propaganda And War
Orwell called this kind of misinformation newspeak or doublethink: the intention to cover criminal actions, especially killing people unjustly, with a veneer of justification and reason. In Israel's case, which has always had the intention to silence or make Palestinians invisible as it robbed them of their land, this has been in effect a suppression of the truth, or a large part of it, as well as a massive falsification of history. What for the past few months Israel has successfully wanted to prove to the world is that it is an innocent victim of Palestinian violence and terror, and that Arabs and Muslims have no other reason to be in conflict with Israel except for an irreducibly irrational hatred of Jews. Nothing more or less. And what has made this campaign so effective is a long-standing sense of Western guilt for anti-Semitism. What could be more efficient than to displace that guilt onto another people, the Arabs, and thereby feel not only justified but positively assuaged that something good has been done for a much-maligned and harmed people? To defend Israel at all costs -- even though it is in military occupation of Palestinian land, has a powerful military, and has been killing and wounding Palestinians in a ratio of four or five to one -- is the goal of propaganda. That, plus going on with what it does, but seeming to be a victim just the same.

Background:

Edward Said was born in Jerusalem, Palestine, educated in secondary schools there and in Cairo, then obtained his B.A. from Princeton, and his Ph.D. for Harvard. He has been teaching at Columbia University since 1963, and is now University Professor of English and Comparative Literature. He is the author of 17 books that have been translated into 26 languages.

He serves on the editorial board of 20 journals, and is the general editor of a book series – Convergences – at Harvard University Press. Said has lectured at over 200 universities in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Yale, John Hopkins, and Toronto. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature, and an Honorary Fellow of Kings College, Cambridge, a member of the PEN Executive Board, and is president of the Modern Language Association. He has been awarded numerous prizes and honors, most recently doctorates from the University of Chicago, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Birzeit University, the University of Michigan, and in March 1998, the Sultan Owais Prize for general cultural achievement; in 1999, doctorates from the American University in Cairo and the National University of Ireland. Between 1977 and 1991, he was a member of the Palestine National Council.

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