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Ed Said, The Wise Raven Is Dead

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  • ummyakoub
    The Wise Raven Is Dead By Israel Shamir It takes an enemy to eulogise a great warrior. His hurt cry is sweeter than friends approval. A few days ago died my
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2003
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      The Wise Raven Is Dead
      By Israel Shamir

      It takes an enemy to eulogise a great warrior. His hurt cry is
      sweeter than friends' approval. A few days ago died my great
      countryman Edward Said, and our comrades-in-arms wrote obituaries
      tolling like copper bells in the air of his native Jerusalem. They
      stressed goodness of his heart, expanse of his knowledge, his
      relentless support for the downtrodden of Palestine. But to my ears,
      the most pleasing obituary to Said was that composed by his and ours
      enemy, one Zev Chafets, who wrote in an American Zionist (well,
      aren't they all ?) paper The New York Daily News :

      'Said didn't blow up Marines in Lebanon in 1983, ignite the
      Palestinian intifadeh or send Wahhabi missionaries to preach violence
      against infidels. He certainly didn't fly a plane into the World
      Trade Center. What he did do was jam America's intellectual radar'.

      Who the hell is Zev Chafets ? This symbol of integration of two
      Jewish elites, of America and Israel, an American Jew from Michigan
      went to Israel in 1967 and became director of the government press
      office under the arch-terrorist and mass murderer Prime Minister
      Menachem Begin. Now he poisons Americans' minds with his racist
      propaganda and promotes war. On August 19, 2003, he wrote : "The
      people of Iraq have made their choice. They want barbarism. The
      polite term for this in the Arab world is self-determination. The
      Arabs have been given the chance to rule themselves. The result is
      almost two dozen impoverished, xenophobic dictatorships. This is not
      a condition imposed upon the Arabs. On the contrary, it expresses
      their political culture. It's what the Arabs want"[1].

      What do 'the Jews' personified by Chafets want, then ? On November
      12, 2002, Zev Chafets wrote in the New Haven Register an article
      headlined, "Disarming Iraq is only a start in Middle East". He
      explained that the Arab and Iranian cultures were "irrational" and
      that nothing could be done to "improve the collective mental health
      of Arab societies" short of invading and subjugating them to direct
      Israeli - American rule[2]. In short, they want domination.

      Inverting his own rhetoric, we can say : Chafets did not drive a 65
      ton bulldozer over the pregnant Nuha Swaidan and the Seattle girl
      Rachel Corrie, he did not sodomise the Lebanese prisoners of war in
      the dark cellars of Shabak, he certainly did not pour bombs on
      Baghdad and Kabul. He provided intellectual support for these deeds.
      And Edward Said was the greatest adversary he came across.

      Edward Said could not stop single-handed the mighty Judeo-American
      disinformation machine, but he explained to us its working. Like the
      wise raven from Tolkien's Hobbit, he pointed out the vulnerable spots
      of the dragon. He explained to us the vital importance of the battle
      for narrative, the struggle for discourse, this spiritual plane of
      the war on the ground. He understood that the scientists and
      columnists' 'explanation' of the world outside its Anglo-
      American 'core' precedes its conquest. Paradoxically, I came to his
      reading of history in snowy Moscow of 1991, when the theories of
      Milton Friedman, the tools of neo-liberal discourse were applied as
      powerful systemic weapon and turned the people of Russia into poor
      strangers in their own home.

      Though the name of Edward Said is inseparably connected to the sad
      and haunting Holy Land, it would be a mistake to view his oeuvre
      through Palestinocentric eyes. He was a Karl Marx to Foucault's
      Hegel, to wit, like Marx overturned Hegel and placed his theory on
      the feet, while previously it was standing on the head ; Said
      overturned Foucault and gave his great ideas to the people. His
      Orientalism provides a revelatory reading, for it explains that 'area
      studies' of the American discourse - not only Oriental Studies, but
      its sisters Kremlinology, Russian Studies and Chinese Studies as
      well - are tools of subjugation.

      But he was also a Karl Marx to Karl Marx. While Marxists concentrated
      their attention on the ownership of the means of production and saw
      the capitalist owners as ultimate enemy of the people ; Said
      perceived the true order of the battle. The great and evil minds that
      direct politics from their university cathedra are infinitely more
      important to our future than the rich but feeble-minded bastards.
      Indeed, their takeover of American universities, so clearly presented
      by Saul Bellow in his Ravelstein was the paramount event of the last
      thirty years. Whoever controls universities, controls the media ; who
      controls media, controls government. Or, in Biblical terms, Leo
      Strauss begat Wolfowitz, Wolfowitz begat Iraqi War. Milton Friedman
      begat IMF, IMF begat world poverty. Bernard Lewis begat Samuel
      Huntington, Samuel Huntington begat the War on Islam. Bernard-Henri
      Levy begat Andre Sacharov, and the Soviet Union was privatised by
      Marc Rich and Vladimir Gusinsky.

      Said taught us to perceive the big guns of aircraft carrier beyond
      academic mantle of the reticent professors. He noticed the unique
      place of Zionist ideas in the Western imperialist thought. He left
      further development of this thought to us. Indeed, when I pointed out
      the Zionist connection and the mean Judaic spirit of the new American
      imperialism, I was duly assaulted by gatekeepers of PC ; but Edward
      Said wrote to me much needed letters of support. To his last days he
      referred to my writing, though it was extremely hazardous for a
      professor in a leading American university. For there are rich
      benefactors who support universities and think-tanks, who provide
      advertising to newspapers, and they are tied-in with the Zionist
      knot.

      Edward Said was well aware of it, and he dreamed to use the Arab
      funds to counteract the Zionist propaganda machine in the tug-of-war
      for American minds. He could do it : not in vain, Chafets wrote
      that 'his "Orientalism" did more for the jihad than a battalion of
      Osamas'. He was indeed a great warrior in jihad of spirit and he
      dreamed of our think-tanks fighting the JINSA think-tanks in a
      spiritual Armageddon. But the Arab princes and the Russian
      billionaires preferred to spend their money on tangible assets. They
      did not understand that material things are more fragile and
      perishable than the assets of spirit, and that tomorrow they will
      lose their material goods because today they did not invest into
      spirit.

      Edward Said was an Arab, and it is natural that he frequently
      referred to the Arab experience. But his ideas are equally important
      for all the people who were deemed irrelevant by the new masters of
      the world. The evil wizards he confronted are the enemies of
      mankind ; they are equally bad and foreign to a Detroit worker and a
      Palestinian peasant, to a Russian scientist or a Turkish writer. We
      do not know who will incarnate the dream of Said : a Californian
      computer genius or a Saudi prince, a Russian media lord or a wise
      Chinese Communist leader, an Indian Raja or a Malay Prime minister.
      But it will be done, for the magic of names tells us that Said
      (spiritual bliss) will overcome Chafets (desire for material things).

      [1] Siteweb

      [2] 'He says "disarming" but of course he means invading the Middle
      East', commented our friend Stanley Heller in an article called It's
      Not Just the Oil


      http://www.aloufok.net/article.php3?id_article=629

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      Response:

      From Aidin Afshar, Vienna
      Dear Israel,

      Mr. Said's demise has deeply touched me in a way ardous to describe.
      Said was the pride of the orientals and probably the most famous
      intelectual of arab orgin in these days. Your epilogue reminded me of
      the first e-mail I wrote you, back then I recently discovered your
      writings which used to complement Said's work in my opinon. Filled
      with enthusiasm I decided to write you to enunciate my admiration for
      your writings. But it was Edward Said who forced me to make an U-Turn
      on "How to Talk about Israel" as Ian Buruma put it.

      Growing up in Austria the history makes it difficult to discuss the
      Middle East conflict from an Anti-Zionist perspective. As an Iranian
      Immigrant growing up in Austria I spent the first years trying to
      assimilate myself. Me and some of my friends of Middle Eastern origin
      wanted to belong to a certain Viennese segment of the society,
      because being of commons background we dreamed of belonging to the
      intellectual circle, who are discussing all different aspects of life
      in these so beautiful cafes in Vienna which were used for discussions
      by an almost infinite amount of austrian intellectuals. We knew that
      the label "Anti-Semite" wouldn't be helpful to get where we wanted so
      we became strictly "Anti-Palestine" which equals racism. I remember
      how many times I barbarianised Palistinians in front of Austrians
      for sake of just being seen as objective or neutral. Dishonest as we
      were we had two opinion, an Anti-Zionistic one for ourselves and a
      Anti-Palestinan one for the Austrian population.

      I mean we knew that the Austrian commonality would never allow us to
      participate in these "circles", simply because of our heritage. No
      matter how well we spoke German or how deftly we would immitate
      various austrian dialects, we would always remain foreigners to this
      part of society.

      Until well....... that day I entered the Diplomat Academy auditorium
      to hear Dr. Edward Said recital. I had read "orientalism" and was
      quite impressed and expected to meet some Arabs I know in Vienna
      because I expected the audiance to predominantly attended by people
      of Middle Eastern origin. But to my surprise I couldn't identify
      hardly anyone with dark scalp hair, and even in the predominat
      austrian crowd I could identify quite famous writers and professors.
      I struggled to get a seat in this jam packed lecture hall even tough
      I had attended really early. So I sat down and realised that the
      literacy elite had come to see an Arab, who was disinvited the
      previous day with the label "Anti-Semit" label by the Sigmund Freud
      Institute, because he had thrown a few pebbles in South Lebanon just
      to symbolise solidarity with people who had enough of almost 40 years
      of occupation and tremendous disadvantage, but if it wasn't for John
      Bunzl the great Jewish professor and mastermind of the political
      science department of the Vienna University who reacted very swiftly
      and found an accurate replacement which was so well-attended.(A
      student of Bunzl informed about the event, which I wasn't aware of).

      Edward Said was a handsome man with a smooth voice and an artist of
      the english language. Only a few minutes after he started it seemed
      like he put a hex on the audiance which was very focused on his
      speech, anxious not to miss a single word by Mr. Said. his arguement
      were presented in such a manner, that it didn't allow the slightest
      bit of controverse. His speech research was presented too reaching
      that anyone Zionist or Anti-zionist could argue against. This man
      documented this conflict like my heart wanted to, but my brain
      refused. Mr.Said gave "indians of palestine" an eloquent and powerful
      voice of resistance in a well-narrated form where you could
      picture the tremendous unfairness like a dweller in Ramallah or Gaza
      City. I was raptured by Said and felt the urge to be taken as
      seriously as Edward. At the end of his lecture I was sticking around
      the table he was sitting constantly observing this man how he was
      listening and answering longanimously any comment the auditors
      approached him. But false shame impeded me to join the queue and
      express my admiration directly to him. But the day I left the lecture
      hall I also left behind needless ingratiations and self-lies.

      Even the New York times once quoted that Said is one of the ten
      leading intellectuals of our time. Like you mentioned if a person
      just reads this crappy paper once, one can imagine how much Ed Said's
      work had forced them to this judgement and how the editorial
      journalists must have suffered to print this statement.It absolutly
      doesn't surprise me that he referred to your writing, because you
      both share a similar view, while you (can) go further then Ed did or
      could. You could somehow to round out his work, because you are not
      AFFRAID TO CALL OUT NAMES.

      Maybe relegious denomination determined either way, but who knows or
      better, who cares. You are incarnating Said's legacy with honed
      language and arguement ahead of this time. Todays circumstances do
      not allow you to be mainstream, but future will be yours just as
      Said's, because I believe in further evolving of that Monkey and your
      vision of multi-cultural palestine will be reality, because there is
      no other way. Maybe in 30 years or 3000, but at the end your vision
      will succeed and you will be honored as the one who predicted it,
      because there will be a day where we will leave behind decadent
      thinking, such as heritage or relegious origin and our interests and
      personality will determine who we are.

      The way you are dropping lines and your wordy language would make you
      suitable to write for the Jerusalem Post or any other Israeli
      newspaper, but you chose to be labeled as a monster rather to work
      for a real monster like Conrad Black, but with writers it's similar
      to musicians the really good ones stay underground and hardly do
      popular art. But Said's septre is bound with suffering, because even
      at the short lecture, one could evidently witness how the Middle East
      conflict was grinding and tearing this sensitive soul and it might be
      one of the reasons Mr.Said passed away at a young age, because mental
      stress doesn't do any good to health. Just like Said, you are a true
      wizard of "real Orientalism" and as a toured journeyman you can show
      the real culture of the People from Mauretania or Westsahara to the
      subcontinent of India in difficult times where humiliation of these
      people has reached a peak by daily denunciations of western Media,
      and daily threats of the Pentagon who would love to carpet bomb the
      whole region. It's not about the dried out lachlrymal glands of
      women, men and children of Gaza or Basra it's about the education and
      uplifting of these people who hopefully will determine their own
      lifes and goverments one day in the future just as in the glorious
      past when Babylonian, Phoenicians, Persians, Egyptians, etc..... used
      to rule over themselves and not by a Texan fascist.

      Your love for the Palestinian cause and people will leave you no
      other chance to fight for your and Said's dream, therefor I wish you
      the best from my heart to continue this wise raven's beeautiful
      legacy with your unique pen.

      With kind regards

      Aidin Afshar

      from the beautiful city of Vienna

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