November 9, 2007

Palestinians celebrate their worst enemy

Our friend Cinnamon Stillwell posts about stuff going on a few blocks from me. (I am, as usual, oblivious, though I may be less so in the future, now that I have a son who is a freshman at State.)

As I noted yesterday at the Campus Watch blog, a mural has been erected at San Francisco State University (SFSU) honoring the late Columbia University English and comparative literature professor Edward Said.

Said was the author of the 1978 book, Orientalism, which posited that Western Middle East studies scholars were motivated solely by colonialist sympathies and racist attitudes. The rhetoric of post-colonialism inspired by Orientalism took hold in the field of Middle East studies and, from that point on, the historical and political narrative was framed in terms of colonialists vs. subjects, oppressors vs. victims, occupiers vs. resistance movements, white vs. brown, and, of course, West vs. East.

It is fitting that the Said mural appears on the wall of SFSU's "Cesar Chavez Student Center," which is located in "Malcolm X plaza." Such altars to political activists seen as opposing the powers that be have a long tradition at San Francisco State University, and Said's inclusion is just the latest.

Perhaps not coincidentally, a common theme of anti-Zionist and, at times, anti-Semitic sentiment seems to be a pattern in these murals. I was a student at SFSU during the years the Malcolm X mural was under construction and remember well the inclusion of none-too-subtle imagery of Stars of David and dollar signs dripping with blood. The mural was eventually destroyed and replaced with the more palatable version that appears today, but, for many, the negative feelings – compounded by a series of anti-Semitic incidents on campus – remained.

In the case of the Said mural, it was the initial inclusion of a character named Handala – created by the late Palestinian political cartoonist Naji Al-Ali...

You can see the mural here. Ugh

The pitiful thing is that Said's notions are the worst possible ideas for Palestinians, and Arabs in general to absorb. To teach people that they should consider themselves victims, and blame others for all their problems, is spiritual poison. In teaching Middle Eastern people, especially Palestinians, to be whiners and snivelers and grievance-mongers, he has probably single-handedly done them much more harm than Israel ever has.

Hey, any Palestinians reading this. Edward Said taught you to act like a bunch of girls. Men don't fuss and bellyache, they work hard and build things and get ahead. And if life hands them a tough break, they just get tougher, and work harder, and don't cry. You are pathetic. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Posted by John Weidner at November 9, 2007 6:49 PM
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