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I was going to post about this. It is truly a loss. He was such an eloquent, erudite and persuasive voice in support of the Palestinians, their history and their cause. While I'm not the best-versed individual in this area, i'm hard-pressed to think of anyone who can step into his shoes in relatively short order.

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731 Posts
I wouldn't go so far as say he "soiled" his reputation - but that's just me. There's a great deal more to this man, a great deal.

Here's what the Associated Press had to say about the incident: "In 2000, he prompted a controversy when he threw a rock toward an Israeli guardhouse on the Lebanese border. Columbia University did notcensure him, saying that the stone was directed at no one, no law was broken and that his actions
were protected by principles of academic freedom."

There's a most excellent Alexander Cockburn essay going round the internet about Said - it'll probably appear in either CounterPunch or the Nation.

At the time of his death, I belive Said was University Professor of English and Comparative
Literature at Columbia University in New York City. He was also the past President of the Modern Language Association and a formidable
literary critic.

His seminal work, "Orientalism," is credited with triggering the Postcolonial Studies movement in the humanities. He wrote many other books, including "The Question and "Peace and its Discontents." Recently he published an extraordinary memoir, "Out of Place."

And so much more.

A tragic loss.

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965 Posts
I was so sad when I heard this news. My friend an I were just commenting the other night about who is going to fill the shoes of these great thinkers/activists such as Chomsky, Said, Zinn and Terkel.

Said was a great advocate for the Palestinian people, a staunch critic of Arafat, and he advocated nonviolence as the only effective means for the Palestinian people to gain their independence.

Regarding the rock throwing incident: the SF Chronicle obituary had this to say:

"Professor Said later said his toss was a spontaneous-and innocent-gesture aimed at celebrating the end of Israel's occupation of Lebanon.

"It's not hatred for Israel", Said told a reporter. "It was an anti-occupation gesture. I have many Israeli friends. I've lectured in Israel, and I continue to have contacts there. It's certainly very much against military occupation of any kind, whether by Israel or Arab countries, Iraq, Kuwait or whatever. I've opposed occupation of any kind".

Call me jaded, but considering that fact that I know folks that have burnt draft cards and destroyed warheads at Lockheed Martin I don't consider Said's actions so "radical". ( However, I am sure that many of the folks that consider Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount with a platoon of soldiers "not a cause for provocation" had a field day over Said's action
: )

It is sad that he never got to witness the creation of the Palestinian State and self-determination for Palestinian people. I am comforted to know that he believed it might actually come before the end of this decade.....
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