Originally posted by Finnegan to RJHinds
This is a lengthy but interesting interview with the late Edward Said, a Christian born in Jerusalem - his mother from Nazareth - who was unable to return because he was classified as Palestinian by the apartheid regime. Clearly he was a man of great dignity and earned the immense respect which he came to enjoy as an American academic.
In earlier threads, I already have mentioned that Palestinian Christians
have been some of the most important and influential figures in the PLO
and in Palestinian cultural and intellectual life.
Actually, I was slightly acquainted with Edward Said, and some of my friends
or acquaintances knew him better than I did. An American professor of
English (who said he's half-Jewish) told me that, during their two years
together as roommates at university, he never heard Edward Said make
even one anti-Jewish remark.
As probably the most famous US citizen of Palestinian heritage, Edward Said
was a longtime target of an extreme pro-Israeli campaign of personal defamation.
'Commentary' (a right-wing American Jewish magazine) commissioned
articles allegedly 'proving' Edward Said had lied about his Palestinian origins.
That (absurd) pro-Israeli tactic seemed to be to deny that Edward Said was
a Palestinian at all or in any position to speak on behalf of Palestinians.
Edward Said wrote that he avoided suing for libel because he lacked the
time, energy, and resources to keep fighting in US courts against as vastly
more powerful and wealthy pro-Israeli propaganda machine.
Sometimes Edward Said (who said that never had carried a gun) was even
demonized as a 'Muslim terrorist' by supporters of Israel who ignorantly
presumed that, as a Palestinian, he must be a Muslim, and, as a critic of
Israel, he must be a 'terrorist'. On one occasion, when visiting Lebanon,
Edward Said picked up and threw a stone (it hit no one) toward Israel as
a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the Intifada, and supporters of Israel
attempted to argue that his act 'proved' that Edward Said's a 'terrorist'.
As I recall, according to Noam Chomsky (a close friend), Edward Said was
the target of so many serious threats of violence that the NYPD installed a
special direct connection to his home in New York City. If someone tried to
break in to kill Edward Said, then his family could contact the NYPD directly
without having first to go through 911 and explain the situation.
One of Edward Said's closest friends was Daniel Barenboim, an Israeli Jew
who decided to accept Palestinian nationality as well. If Daniel Barenboim
and Edward Said could have represented Israel and the Palestinians respectively,
there would be peace between Israel and the Palestinians today.