I was at a memorial to Edward Said tonight at UCLA, organized by the United Arab Society of UCLA with support from many other organizations, including ANSWER.
Said was fearless, a towering intellect, and his influence was felt everywhere from literary criticism, to music sociology, art, political science, and more. His was a brilliant and early champion of the rights of Palestinians to have a homeland. He never wavered from this, even through receiving death threats and having his office fire-bombed.
His 1978 book, Orientalism was a neutron bomb that destroyed the then current Western view of the Middle East.
Orientalism is “a system of representations framed by political forces that brought the Orient into Western learning, Western consciousness, and Western empire. The Orient exists for the West, and is constructed by and in relation to the West. It is a mirror image of what is inferior and alien (“Other”) to the West.”
He was an icon in the Arab world. Literate, brilliant, he was quoted widely in the media of the world. He was a warrior intellectual who even his enemies respected. More than anyone else, he put the plight of the Palestinians directly in view of the world media.
He inspired millions, his work will be carried on.