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EDWARD SAID - the Author of Orientalism (1978)

Reader comment on item: Overcoming Orientalism

Submitted by Robert (United States), Sep 25, 2022 at 19:57

Dear Dr, Daniel Pipes,

Unless I didn't see it, I suspect you overlooked including explicitly the author's name - Edward Said - of the 1978 "classic," "Orientalism" (1978).

This literary, educated, brilliant, but bitter Protestant Palestinian- American (now dead), formerly (full) Professor at Columbia University, single-handedly created the ideology of Orientalism.

Otherwise you wrote an extremely useful critique of a book by one of his most "distinguished" disciples, JOHN S. ESPOSITO.

Another thing you could have done is this. If a real scholar, who isn't also a bitter hater of the West, or Jews and Israel, in order to understand Hitler, she should read the (sick) "classic" by him, "Mein Kump." Edward Said is certain not to be compared to Hitler because many liberal (especially American) Jews have adopted Said's Orientalism ideology. However, this bitter Palestinian himself is also responsible for the distinction between Antisemitism and the so-called Zionists. So one should get the Ideology of Orientalism as a pejorative "strait from the horse's mouth, EDWARD SAID.

An interesting fact about Edward Said is that he even broke with the PLO Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat when Arafat made "Peace" with Israel, and was put by Arafat officially on his "shit-list." But when Said subsequently endorsed Arafat's policies, Said was returned to the good graces of Arafat and his PLO.

Anyone who has the capacity to go through the 1978 "Orientalism" will find a book with long and very long sentences, that on the surface appear literary, but reducible to one formula, "x is bad."

Another inclusion you could have made is the name of Said's intellectual arch-enemy, or the ultimate Orientalist, historian BERNARD LEWIS (whose student and protege you also were).

To be fair to Edward Said, besides being on good terms with, liberal, and leftist Jews, Said made enemies of all the dictators of of the Arab and Muslim countries. But he was blind to the Islamist roots of these Arab or Muslim dictatorships. Instead, he claimed that this was due to their own mental incorporation of Orientalism ideology. In other words, anything bad that an Arab or Muslim did was due to the influence of the Western Orientalist. There is some truth to that. Hitler and Mussolini, in WWII, opposed the British and French Colonialists. The argument therefore goes that these were bad role models and not Islamic, and the real beautiful Arab culture as the Arab Muslim practices and knows first hand. In other words, a Palestinian is wonderful, and anything bad he does is due to Western influence. I would imagine that the wide-spread adoption of Suicide-Bombings by Palestinians during the Reign of Yasser Arafat (the argument would go) is somehow the fault of Western Colonialism.

If I was to ask you, Dr. Daniel Pipes anything in this context it would be what you think an anti-Orientalism would say about the term you often use, namely "Islamism." Was that an Orientalist distinction according to Edward Said? And I don't know if Edward Said explained the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood? How exactly did Said explain their Ideology without blaming Islam or Arabs and Oriental (East Asian) culture. Incidentally, since the Muslim Brotherhood arose in Egypt in 1928 and thereafter, and Arab Muslim Egypt is in North Africa he could have blamed it on Africanism (I just coined this term). In brief, Palestinian "Resistance" is the result of British Colonialism after World War One and has nothing to do with the Arab or Muslim incapacity to accomplish anything resembling what Jews accomplished in Israel. Furthermore, the conduct of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon or Iran in Syria is not to be blamed on Islamism or Arabs and their Culture.

A more complex question in the context of this Orientalism, or anti-Orientalism, is its Ideological relationship to the related branches one of which is known as CRITICAL RACE THEORY. I do not know if (Marxist) Critical Theory approved of this ideological work of Edward Said. So I ask you, Dr. Daniel Pipes, is their any "Critical Theory" in Esposito's book you just reviewed here?

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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