Remembering Edward W Said

When I read Urdu, Persian, Arabic and English books in the context of ever burning Palestine cause, I wonder why we’ve marginalised, if not forgotten, Dr Edward W Said? He was arguably the most genuine Christian who espoused the cause and lambasted Israel for its unlawful occupation, nay usurpation, of the land of Palestine Muslims by Jews.

Born in that disputed part, Said spoke Arabic. In fact, almost all people of Israel can speak Arabic and the Muslims of Palestine can speak Hebrew, Ladino and even Yiddish.

Teaching Arab studies and orientalism at Columbia University, Professor Said left no stone unturned to present the predicament of Palestinians before the Arabs and rest of the world. I remember his article, ‘Arrogance of Jews’, that appeared in The Dawn, Karachi, in 1999. In that write-up, he dismissed Israel’s claim and called the Jews ‘predecessors and successors to Shakespearean Shylock.’

His stand on Palestine cause becomes all the more significant because he happened to be a Christian. It’s said (I’m not sure) that towards the fag end of his life, he was contemplating to embrace Islam. He died of throat cancer in 2004. Said proved in his writings  how Jews corrupted their scriptures to suit their nefarious designs. Long back, he wrote in Al-Ahram, the state-run Egyptian Arabic daily, that ‘Jews are land-sharks, whose only objective is to grab land and for that, they can go to any extent.’

One of his greatest observations was Islam’s ‘evolving superiority’ over the preceding Semitic faiths. He explained that of all three Semitic faiths, Judaism was the oldest, after that came Christianity that was followed by Islam. So chronologically, Islam should be having an upper hand over its predecessors. It’s but natural that the western media, ruled and run by Jews, systematically shelved Said after his demise. So long he was alive, his was the most vocal voice on this issue. And the great man was so meticulously removed from global consciousness that even Muslim scholars don’t quote him that often despite his trenchant views on Israel and its policies. This saddens me no end.          

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 October 2012 on page no. 2

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