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Re: [existlist] Edward Said’s Untidiness

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  • Exist List Moderator
    Edward Said, like Chomsky or Pinter, simplifies (simplified in Said s case) the world and especially the Middle East. I read Said s essays in college and
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 2, 2006
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      Edward Said, like Chomsky or Pinter, simplifies (simplified in Said's
      case) the world and especially the Middle East. I read Said's essays in
      college and thought he was brilliant. Then, I had some work related to
      the Middle East. This was shortly after I compared Israeli treatment of
      Palestinians to all the worst deeds of mankind.

      Within a few years, I came to see that there was no "reasoning" with
      the radical Shiite movements in Lebanon, or their Sunni rivals. The
      attacks on Israel were not to reclaim lands or secure "equality" but to
      destroy all things Jewish. My work, which involved reading a great deal
      of information from the region, changed my views a lot.

      First, I admit that my anti-orthodox / fundamentalist bias was
      reinforced. While my more "liberal" friends suggested I was losing my
      appreciation for the plight of orthodox Muslims, I countered that any
      faith-based system was inherently anti-liberal, anti-freedom, and
      anti-thought. It does not matter if the people are Hindu, Catholic,
      Jewish, or Muslim. Orthodoxy is always dangerous.

      Said argued that most Arabs, especially the Palestinians and Lebanese,
      were not orthodox nor even likely to become orthodox. Sure, and most
      European converts to Islam are not orthodox, but enough are that the
      French are now quite concerned. All it takes is one "cell" of nuts to
      ruin everything.

      Existentialism or even my own generalized appreciate for Continental
      philosophy would not allow me to live according to a single text or
      tradition. I'm a natural rebel. A recent International Herald Tribune
      article said the very appeal of Islam was its strict adherence to
      rules. European converts are finding Islam an antidote to their "all
      cultures are equal" post-modernist views. Turns out, people are more
      comfortable with rules and that's what all orthodoxy offers.

      I think the great success of Fascism, Communism, and National Socialism
      was that these appealed to the desire for order following the initial
      stages of the Industrial Revolution. Now, Islam is offering order in a
      world of chaos. I think people rush to New Age beliefs, mega-churches,
      and psychologists for the same need.

      Personally, I'd rather fight to have chaos and disorder. I want to be
      free to create my own rules. Religions tend to oppose such a notion of
      freedom. Worse, they each tend to see the other faiths as violating
      "natural law" or whatever you want to call it.

      Said was dangerously naive at times.

      - CSW
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