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If we miss that truth about the power of Palestinian resistance by which I do not at all mean suicide bombing, which does much more harm than good , despite all its failings and all its mistakes, we miss everything. Palestinians have always been a problem for the Zionist project, and so-called solutions have perennially been proposed that minimize, rather than solve, the problem.

Whereas a few courageous Israelis over the years have tried to deal with this other concealed history, most Israelis and what seems like the majority of Americans have made every effort to deny, avoid, or negate the Palestinian reality. This is why there is no peace. Moreover, the road map says nothing about justice or about the historical punishment meted out to the Palestinian people for too many decades to count. That is what she was in solidarity with. And we need to remember that that kind of solidarity is no longer confined to a small number of intrepid souls here and there but is recognized the world over.

In the past six months I have lectured on four continents to many thousands of people. What brings them together is Palestine and the struggle of the Palestinian people, which is now a byword for emancipation and enlightenment, regardless of all the vilification heaped on them by their enemies. Whenever the facts are made known, there is immediate recognition and an expression of the most profound solidarity with the justice of the Palestinian cause and the valiant struggle by the Palestinian people on its behalf.

After all, please remember that all the main organs of the establishment media, from left liberal all the way over to fringe right, are unanimously anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, and anti-Palestinian. Look at the pusillanimity of the media during the buildup to an illegal and unjust war against Iraq, and look at how little coverage there was of the immense damage against Iraqi society done by the sanctions, and how relatively few accounts there were of the immense worldwide outpouring of opinion against the war.

However else one blames Saddam Hussein as a vicious tyrant, which he was, he provided the people of Iraq with the best infrastructure of services like water, electricity, health, and education of any Arab country. None of this is any longer in place. It is no wonder, then—with the extraordinary fear of seeming anti-Semitic by criticizing Israel for its daily crimes of war against innocent unarmed Palestinian civilians or criticizing the U. Here is where dignity and critical historical thinking must be mobilized to see what is what and to disentangle truth from propaganda.

No one would deny that most Arab countries today are ruled by unpopular regimes and that vast numbers of poor, disadvantaged young Arabs are exposed to ruthless forms of fundamentalist religion. Yet it is simply a lie to say, as the New York Times regularly does, that Arab societies are totally controlled, and that there is no freedom of opinion, that there are no civil institutions, no functioning social movements for and by the people.

Press laws notwithstanding, you can go to downtown Amman today and buy a Communist Party newspaper as well as an Islamist one; Egypt and Lebanon are full of papers and journals that suggest much more debate and discussion than these societies are given credit for; the satellite channels are bursting with diverse opinions in a dizzying variety; civil institutions are, on many levels having to do with social services, human rights, syndicates, and research institutes, very lively all over the Arab world.

A great deal more must be done before we have the appropriate level of democracy, but we are on the way. In Palestine alone there are more than a thousand NGOs, and it is this vitality and this kind of activity that has kept society going, despite every American and Israeli effort made to vilify, stop, or mutilate it on a daily basis.

Edward Said on the Death of American Activist Rachel Corrie

Under the worst possible circumstances, Palestinian society has neither been defeated nor crumbled completely. Kids still go to school, doctors and nurses still take care of their patients, men and women go to work, organizations have their meetings, and people continue to live, which seems to be an offense to Sharon and the other extremists who simply want Palestinians either imprisoned or driven away altogether. Why is that so hard for Israelis to see? We must help them to understand this, not by suicide bombs but by rational argument, mass civil disobedience, and organized protest, here and everywhere.

The Palestinian struggle for justice is especially something with which one expresses solidarity rather than endless criticism, exasperated, frustrating discouragement, and crippling divisiveness. Remember the solidarity here and everywhere in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia, and remember also that there is a cause to which many people have committed themselves, difficulties and terrible obstacles notwithstanding.

Because it is a just cause, a noble ideal, a moral quest for equality and human rights. I want now to speak about dignity, which of course has a special place in every culture known to historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and humanists. I shall begin by saying immediately that it is a radically wrong Orientalist and indeed racist proposition to accept that, unlike Europeans and Americans, Arabs have no sense of individuality, no regard for individual life, no values that express love, intimacy, and understanding, which are supposed to be the property exclusively of cultures such as those of Europe and America, which had a Renaissance, a Reformation, and an Enlightenment.

We can leave to one side that, between them, Europe and the United States account for by far the largest number of violent deaths during the 20th century, the Islamic world hardly a fraction of it. And behind all of that specious, unscientific nonsense about wrong and right civilizations is the grotesque shadow of the great false prophet Samuel Huntington, who has led a lot of people to believe that the world can be divided into distinct civilizations battling against each other forever.

Edward Said on the Prospects of Peace in Palestine and Israel | J. LeBlanc | Palgrave Macmillan

On the contrary, Huntington is dead wrong on every point he makes. No culture or civilization exists by itself; none is made up of things like individuality and enlightenment that are completely exclusive to it; and none exists without the basic human attributes of community, love, value for life, and all the others. To suggest otherwise, as he does, is the purest invidious racism of the same stripe as people who argue that Africans have naturally inferior brains, or that Asians are really born for servitude, or that Europeans are a naturally superior race. This is a sort of parody of Hitlerian science directed uniquely today against Arabs and Muslims, and we must be very firm so as not even to go through the motions of arguing against it.

It is the purest drivel. All one has to do is to look at the huge variety of literature, cinema, theater, painting, music, and popular culture produced by and for Arabs from Morocco to the Gulf. Surely that needs to be assessed as an indication of whether Arabs are developed, and not just how on any given day statistical tables of industrial production either indicate an appropriate level of development or show failure.

The more important point I want to make, though, is that there is a very wide discrepancy today between our cultures and societies and the small group of people who now rule these societies. Rarely in history has such power been so concentrated in so tiny a group as the various kings, generals, sultans, and presidents who preside today over the Arabs. The worst thing about them as a group, almost without exception, is that they do not represent the best of their people.

This is not just a matter of the absence of democracy. It is that they seem to radically underestimate themselves and their people in ways that close them off, that make them intolerant and fearful of change, frightened of opening up their societies to their people, terrified most of all that they might anger big brother, that is, the United States.

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