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memri
March 18, 1999 No.
27

Edward Said's Lecture in Gaza

Following are excerpts from a lecture given at a Gaza symposium by Edward Said, a professor of literature at Columbia University:

The US and its Policies

"The American policy tries to annihilate nations that do not follow America's ideology... American history [and] society is based on the annihilation of nations. The indication for that are the local nations in America. The American independence reduced their numbers by 90%, due to the killing, plunder, and barbaric methods that constituted the foundation of the American Republic..."[1]

"The US killed about three million Vietnamese in addition to what happened in the Philippines, and Indonesia, and the dropping of the only atomic bomb in the world on Japan, in order to annihilate a people in its entirety. I fear that the war the US launches against Iraq will lead to the termination of this state and the annihilation of the Iraqi society in an unprecedented manner..."[2]

"All that the US tried to build after the Gulf War failed because the US suffers from the delusion of strength of the world's policeman..."[3]

"American universities in Arab countries do not focus on this history in order to prevent the Arab world from realizing the US's barbarism and its way of controlling and occupying many countries..."[4]

"The international view of the US as an invincible myth is wrong. It derives from the ignorance of many Arab and European countries. Take for example Cuba that has stood for 40 years - and still does - in the face of America, denying America's economic, political, and social control and hegemony. [Another example is] the steadfastness of Iraq in the face of America, despite being alone in this conflict and despite the loses it suffers. These two examples and many more in Vietnam and Japan are the best indication that America is not a legend that cannot collapse..."[5]

"Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Anan, asked me to explain to him the phenomenon of Arab countries that publicly curse America and then pounce in the concealment of dark rooms to establish relations with it."[6]

"There are women, student, and union resistance groups inside the US that oppose American policy in the world, and especially the aggression against Iraq. This historic stream that resists the American policy in case it is supported by the society's activity for the sake of humanity and [noble] principles, may accumulate real strength that would change the American course regarding the world, especially since the majority of people in these groups are from among the Jews."[7]

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and the Peace Process

"There must be a new Palestinian program that will unite the Palestinian people and start a scientific revolution that will focus on the formation of a strong Palestinian person and will find a way to retrieve the robbed Palestinian land..."[8]

"The persecuted Jewish people has turned into an occupier through a religious and racist breach..."[9]

"There are Zionist Jews and there are "Christian" American Zionists.... More than 99% of the Jewish citizens in the US support Israel. There are pioneers in the anti-Zionist movement from other sectors like the Armenians and Greek. We should pull those to our side..."[10]

"The Palestinian or Arab identity is unknown to the American society because we do not market ourselves. All that is known about us, due to Middle East Studies and the media, is terrorism and religious extremism..."[11]

"Israel's conflict with the Palestinian people is an ideological conflict planned by the Zionist movement that encouraged the expulsion of the Palestinians from their land and confiscation of it, relying on [the assumption] that Palestine is the promised land on which the greater Israel is to be established... Israel's continued confiscation of the land is my living nightmare. I fear that I will wake up to discover the Palestinians without land..."[12]

"The most important achievement of the PLO is the unification of the Palestinian people, in the Diaspora, the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, and those occupied in 1948... However, the amazing paradox is that the same institutions that initiated the unification, are now working to dismantle the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people are divided between cities in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Jordan. There are no ties between all of them, except for being Palestinians. This should be taken care of via a new Palestinian program that includes the [entire] Palestinian people and unites it, the same way it was before 1993, in order to reject the American-Israeli program that continues to divide the Palestinian people into several peoples..."[13]

"The tragedy of the Palestinian movement is that it doesn't learn from freedom movements around the world like in Vietnam, Cuba, and the blacks in the US..."[14]


[1] Al-Quds, March 16, 1999.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 16, 1999.

[4] Al-Ayyam, March 16, 1999.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Al-Quds, March 16, 1999.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 16, 1999.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Al-Ayyam, March 16, 1999.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.