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Tue May 29, 2018, 04:16 AM

On the death of Bernard Lewis

the author discusses the legendary debates between Lewis and Edward Said:

The difference between the two men was the difference between the politics of lucrative power and the intellectual courage to revolt.

Lewis was a historian of power and in power and for the power that ruled us all and he served happily and rewardingly. The more powerful the imperial audacity of a mode of knowledge production, the more Lewis pursued and served it.

Said was precisely on the other side of the fence, in the tradition of anticolonial struggles of Asia, Africa, and Latin America - which he theorised into our reading of Palestine.

You looked at Lewis, and you saw Lawrence of Arabia incarnate - a British colonial officer with a clumsy command over the natives' language and culture, out in the field to serve the most vicious colonial enterprise of the century. You looked at Said, and you saw him in a direct line from the most revolutionary critical thinkers of all time - alongside Aime Cesaire, Frantz Fanon, V Y Mudimbe, Enrique Dussel, and of course Antonio Gramsci and Theodore Adorno.

Said attracted an entire generation of critical thinkers from every continent on planet earth. Lewis attracted career opportunists who, like him, wanted to be near and dear to power.

In January 2003, just a few months before Said passed away, he and I were invited to Rabat, Morocco for a conference on "Dialogue of Civilization". He could not go. He called me from Spain insisting I go.

I went to Rabat, only to learn upon my arrival that Lewis was there too. For the entire duration of the conference, while I was sitting with the late Egyptian philosopher Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd and literary theorist Ferial Ghazoul discussing hermeneutics, Lewis was chaperoned by the young Noah Feldman, the legal adviser to Paul Bremer, who was the "provisional coalition administrator" of Iraq after the US invasion.


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Reply On the death of Bernard Lewis (Original post)
ellenrr May 2018 OP
WhiteTara May 2018 #1
ellenrr May 2018 #2
Blue_Tires May 2018 #3

Response to ellenrr (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2018, 07:17 AM

1. Great article.

This made me understand how the hatred of Muslims was formed in our government. I now know where Bolton and Pompeo got their hate filled ideology.

It also made me remember how much I liked Al Jazeera. It was great broadcast news.

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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #1)

Tue May 29, 2018, 03:28 PM

2. yes, I mostly like Al Jazeera too.

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Response to ellenrr (Original post)

Tue May 29, 2018, 04:49 PM

3. Pissing on Col. T.E. Lawrence?

I guess the author wishes the Ottomans were still running things? Oh, and the Ottomans were an "empire" too, in case he didn't get the memo

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