A word for Edward Said
(Mahmoud Issa, der er medlem af bestyrelsen i Dansk Palæstinensisk Venskabsforening skriver dette mindeord til Edward Said)
With great sadness, I received the news of the death of our prominan scholarly and cultural figure of our ira: Edward Said at an age of 68. He died in Newyork, far away from his original home Palestine where he was born. But his spirit and model will stay an example for millions of people who adored his efficiency and capacity in various fields: literature, music, culture, politics…and his brilliant voice in defending the palestinian just cause.
Last year I met him in Mainz Germany where he received the prize of the best scholar in middle eastern studies, and almost 1000 academics and scholars from all over the world was attending this marvelous occasion, as if they knew of his approaching death. A special musical session, performed by an Iraqi chorus, was dedicated to him in this occasion. Not one of the scolarly committee of 56 voted no or abstained. At night, he was singing loudly repeating the songs of the palestinian singer Mrs Kilani, dedicated to the palestinian refugees, full of joy and happiness. His humble style was amaizing in speaking with every body, answering, encouraging, commenting, and attending different sessions of the WOMCAS, as if predicting death ‘s approach.
I, with Michel Irving invited him to come to Denmark, and he answered that he would love to come to Denmark, because he didn’t visit Denmark at all. But death cut short his willingness and our wishes to see him among us in Copenhagen.
“Out Of Place”, his last book, makes him visible “in” all the places, all the hearts, especially among the opressed palestinians who looked at him as their authentic real voice in the diaspora. HE was adamantly supporting our campaign for the palestinian refugees to come back to their homes after 55 years in exile.
Personally I wished from all my heart that he would be our first palestinian president, but alas death always interfere in a sarcastic way to cut short our wishes.
E. Said conquered death by his daily contribution to the cultural monuments of our human values, and he will stay a brilliant shrine and a marvelous example of the strengh of the will for our opressed people against the huge dark powers who try to supress and cancell our dreams and our rights to exist on equal footing with other people of the earth.
Palestine with Edward Said was more rich, wide, critical, humane and sublime. Palestine without Edward Said is, different, sad, missing one of its loyal voices whocarried its freedom’s symphony to the four corners of the world. With Said, Orientalism as methodology was changed forever, while the orient and its people were empowered with more knowledge to their richness and rootness;
With Said, Palestinians and Israelis had a vision for a better future: personified by the long cooperation with his Jewish musician Daniel Barenboim, with whom he established a common group of more than 200 hundred Israeli and palestinian young musicians, played together Beethoven and Mosart, in London last month-but Said couldn’t attend the innovation with his Jewish friend Daniel.
With Said, culture, knowlege and power had different connotations where culture seen as a built symphony with all its variation, rather than teh short minded Samuel Huntigton’s theses of the clash of civilisations.
With Said: universities and streets, the “intellectual” and the “normal” are one, philosophy, politics, art, music and thought are variations of the same humane.
With Said, Marks, Conrad, Gramchi and Foucault were reread differently: by crossing the borders of different disciples and connecting knowledge, to power to representation to decolonisation processes in the third world.
The legacy you left for us Edward is our solace to your tragic farwell.
Dr. Mahmoud Issa
Medlem af bestyrelsen i Dansk Palæstinensisk Venskabsforening