World Bulletin / News Desk
The man who explored and explained our modern understanding of orientalism, the western perception of Islam, Muslims and the Middle-East, died ten years ago today.
Born in Jerusalem, Palestine in 1935, Edward Said began his education in Cairo, Egypt. He later went on to study his bachelor’s in Princeton University, USA and then completed his post-graduate education at Harvard University.
Although he only lived in Palestine for a short while, he never wavered from actively speaking for the Palestinian cause against the Zionist lobby.
His first name is English, yet his surname demonstrates his Arab roots. On this subject he said: ‘When necessary I would emphasize the name Edward over Said, and sometimes I would do the opposite, depending on the situation. Sometimes I would say them so quickly together that neither would be understood. One of the difficulties I faced was when being introduced to someone they would be confused by the coming together of both names.’
One of his most beloved photographs was one of him throwing a stone. As an activist who would often speak for the Palestinian cause, this photograph reached the press under the title, ‘Palestinian supporter Edward Said throwing a stone at Israel.’ In reality it wasn’t like this. In his book ‘The Palestine Question in the New Millennium’, he explains that the photograph was taken while on a trip with his son and his friends during a competition to see who could throw the stone furthest.
Many in Turkey, where his book ‘orientalism’ is widely read, made prayers for him on learning of his death due to his love for Palestine and negativity towards Zionism. Due to his book, ‘Islam in the news network’, many believe that he may have been a Muslim.
Before being committed to a hospital bed due to an illness he had been suffering from since 1991, he was the head of the department of modern languages at Columbia University.
Outside of his field of expertice, orientalism, he also wrote ‘The Palestine Question in the New Millennium’, ‘Culture and Imperialsm’ and ‘Representations of Intellectualism’. The memoir of Edward Said, ‘Out of Place’, has recently been released.
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