Tuesday, July 15, 2008

sa'id said

Sorry, no fun videos nor big stories today. (Although, Wanida did insist on one picture below.) Instead, a thought provoking, question raising, answer seeking post for your consideration. Fun!

Generation after generation, the relationship between the West and the Middle East has been increasingly steeped in issues of oil, politics, military moves, the media, and Israel-Palestine. I'll risk a generalization and say that now, post-9/11, the average American's interest in and attitude toward the Middle East have deteriorated, except of course for questions of our own security and prosperity. Are we fully awa
re, though, of just how far we've come in our awareness and understanding of the Arab Muslim world--or should I say, just how far we have to go? In an article written in 1980 (that would have been just as relevant if written yesterday), one man seems to have summarized it.

Edward Sa'id (Sa-eed) was a Palestinian American author/writer and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University before he died of Leukemia in 2003. Born in Jerusalem in 1935, he described himself as a "Christian wrapped in a Muslim culture", and he was an outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights. Sa'id is best known for his book Orientalism (1978), but two years later he wrote an article in The Nation in which he analyzed
the West's perspective of the Middle East:
"So far as the United States seems to be concerned, it is only a slight overstatement to say that Moslems and Arabs are essentially seen as either oil suppliers or potential terrorists. Very little of the detail, the human density, the passion of Arab-Moslem life has entered the awareness of even those people whose profession it is to report the Arab world. What we have instead is a series of crude, essentialized caricatures of the Islamic world presented in such a way as to make that world vulnerable to military aggression."

Big statements.
Any thoughts?


Katester said...

This post made me think of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWyJJQbFago I'm still mulling over all this, but it's interesting that since you've been over there, this seems to keep coming up in my life. Traveling in different parts of the world, it seems that it goes both ways unfortunately, but I always try to change people's minds on Amur-cuns. :)

Anonymous said...

I like the videos more.

JK. It's cool you're seeing and experiencing this from the other side right now.

The Basye's said...

J & W,

Yes, Shelly and I agree. We have some neighbors here from N. Sudan... they are part of the "Muslims" responsible for persecuting S. Sudanese (i.e. Christians). However, they are DEVOUT Muslims and spoke out against these horrible acts in defense of the southern Sudanese. For this their lives were threatened and they had to flee family, home and all they have known to go to Cairo, Egypt. They remained their for a number of years, continuing to speak out against such acts (primarily via media) and once again their lives (and children's lives) were threatened. They have been in the states here now as REFUGEES for about the past 7 years. These dear neighbors are some of the most amazing people we know here in the neighborhood, and guess what, they are DEVOUTLY MUSLIM.

Point, I agree. Yet, at the same time, we (believers and followers of JC) possess the truth and light of the gospel, thus, in love do we seek to proclaim this message to ALL NATIONS, including Muslim countries (regardless of whether they are peaceful or not).