Paying tribute to Edward W. Said
September 25th 2013, marks ten years since the passing of prolific Palestinian scholar, public intellectual, professor and activist Edward W. Said. Perhaps best known for his groundbreaking 1978 book Orientalism, Said's scholarship and thought was also deeply focused on creating and articulating new modes of approaching and interpreting the question of Palestine.
In the wake of Said's death, longtime friend Tariq Ali wrote:
With his death, the Palestinian nation has lost its most articulate voice in the Northern hemisphere, a world where, by and large, the continuous suffering of the Palestinians is ignored.
In the ten years since his passing, a new generation of thinkers indebted to Said's work has emerged. Furthermore, those who worked alongside him throughout his career continue to affirm the importance of maintaining a dialogue with the concepts that Said brought to the forefront of literary criticism and postcolonial studies.
Some years after Said's death, Columbia Professor and Said's protege Joseph A. Massad contributed an essay to Waiting for the Barbarians: A Tribute to Edward Said that echoed some of the optimism that always inflected Said's work on Palestine:
In seeing Palestine from the standpoint of Edward Said, it becomes clear that Said's indispensable legacy constitutes a new beginning for the struggle to see and speak about Palestine, to belong to the Palestinian idea, to be a critic of discursive and visual representations of the Palestinian experience. It is this legacy from which we can all begin.
Watch Edward Said's poignant final interview here:
A collection of Said tributes from over the years:
New Left Review
6th Annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture
7th Annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture