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The Ida of a Palestine in the lives and works of Abu-Lughod and Said.

"There comes a time when silence becomes dishonesty" Frantz Fanon, Toward the African Revolution (1969)

WORDS, LANGUAGE AND VOICE were highly cherished by these two Palestinian intellectuals. Both appreciated and understood the significance of giving expression to their life history and that of the Palestinian people. Both recognized the power of the word and its capacity to distort history as in the case of colonial literature, or to liberate people, as in the case of the literature of the resistance. Said, the cultural critic and literary analyst, said as much in his magnificent tome Culture and Imperialism (1993), and his enormously influential Orientalism (1978). His point was that the word was capable of enslaving and distorting history, as well as, justifying imperialism, but it can also be liberating. The essence of liberating the individual, according to him, began with liberating the mind, hence the diligence with which he went about destroying the Gods of colonial hegemony and intellectual dominance over much of the world's subjugated population.

The battle of freedom had as much to do with ideas, with words, with the politics of language, as it did with the brandishing of arms. To Abu-Lughod, words were not intended to convey literary meaning only, or distort the nuances of colonial relationships, but rather to be the means by which a people's history was camouflaged and hidden from view. His struggle was focused on exposing the historical roots of Arab Palestinian linkages to Arab nationalism and of the ties which historically bound Palestinian resistance movements to those of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Algeria. His was the task of the historian and political analyst with a mission. His life was dedicated to the task of mobilizing Arab and Palestinian intellectual resources in the battle for the retrieval and recovery of the political rights of Palestine's disenfranchised people. Indeed, Abu-Lughod will always be remembered for his physical and intellectual energies which he expended on the task of intellectual mobilization in the U.S. and in Palestine.

Abu-Lughod and Said were very successful academicians and public intellectuals. They achieved most of their academic goals in liberating the academic environment in the United States. Yet they maintained deep attachments to Palestine. In that, they epitomized the experience of most intellectuals of the Palestinian diaspora, who, as a result of their internalizing the pain of alienation and their people's historic victimization, generated waves of passionate anger against the destruction of their people's history and the annihilation of their cultural and historical heritage. Greater reflection on the story of Palestine inevitably generated greater determination publicly to tell that story. Palestine became the focal point, the central theme, the unforgettable saga which motivated Said to roam the world's literary texts in order to illustrate its tragic dimensions. The same motivation pushed Abu-Lughod to guard the meaning of Palestine's dispossession and to preserve its legacy for future generations of Arabs, Palestinians, and humanists the world over. He wished to make certain that the world never forgot the lessons of Palestine.

It would not be difficult to explain why these two academicians persisted in their struggles to keep the idea of Palestine alive. Mention is often made of their traumatization by the experience of the 1948 Arab-Jewish War, which produced the nakba. But the 1948 war did not spare any Palestinian the agony of dispossession, exile, and family dismemberment. Neither did the war preserve any semblance of political autonomy for anyone. All Palestinians came to know the diminishing of family resources, the disruption of educational careers, and the humiliating experience of life as minorities in alien lands and territories, even in the midst of Arab countries. Then the tragedy deepened as the 1967 Arab-Israeli June War established Israel's military standing as the new superpower in the Middle East and facilitated the expansion of its frontiers. What distinguished the impact of these travails on the two intellectuals from the manner in which pain was internalized by the rest of the Palestinians was living the American experience. Living in the United States and witnessing the adulation heaped on the new Sparta of the Middle East, while the Arab states became the object of hatred and contempt left an indelible mark on the Palestinian Americans. The hope sprang anew when they began to see the glow of a truly popular Palestinian liberation movement break through the darkness. But soon hope gave way to despair as the Palestinian national movement failed to achieve its stated goals. All of this alternation of hope and despair left a powerful impression on the minds and souls of Palestinian-Americans, largely because it was here, in this country that the idea of a war of liberation was the least acceptable form of resistance. Indeed, the record of the PLO in other Arab countries was portrayed here as a grotesque and illegitimate effort with which to sustain a national identity. Then came the humiliation of the Oslo peace accords and the erosion of internationally recognized Palestinian rights. The Palestinian-Americans were stunned to witness the abject surrender of Palestinian claims and rights in the name of an American-defined concept of pragmatism. But as the idealism of the revolutionary struggle dissipated in the American halls of power, a second intifada restored hope again. Palestinians became masters of their own destiny, even if for a fleeting moment. The rise and fall of the Palestinian national movement was truly a painful experience since it engendered a sense of loss as to the right solutions, not to mention workable solutions.

Being situated in the United States, in the heart of the pro-Zionist world, and living through the daily tirades, gross misrepresentations, and skewed perspectives of the American media were perhaps worse than the actual military defeat. This is why it would be futile to point to any specific phase of recent Palestinian history which influenced the Palestinian-American intelligentsia more than any other. All recent Palestinian history generated a deep sense of national despair. Only those with the intellectual stamina of the two subjects of this paper managed to wring a sense of triumph from perpetual defeat. Despite these enormous national upheavals, Abu-Lughod and Said achieved standing in terms of their American academic careers. Said became an award-winning and internationally recognized literary critic, but also a profound thinker when it came to explaining why Palestine mattered. He may have been considered an original thinker for his critical dissection of the Orientalist phenomenon and its derivations, but for the Arab reader he will always be remembered for his work on the media's coverage of Islam and for making an eloquent case for the redemption of Palestine. Then there was his Peace and Its Discontents (1993), which he said he wrote for an Arab audience with whom he dialogued freely about dashed national hopes and the inherent idiocy of trusting the enemy. Abu-Lughod, who headed the Department of Political Science at a major American university (Northwestern), will always be remembered as having jettisoned all that in favor of serving a Palestinian University. It is clear now that he found home at Birzeit University, where he ended his career as the chair of the Graduate Program in International Studies. Once he experienced the 1982 Israeli siege of Beirut, he could not separate himself from Palestinian realities on the ground. It was his fate and that of Said to witness the unraveling of the PLO's institutions at close range, particularly the Palestine National Council (PNC) of which both were members. His return to Palestine to engage in the life of Palestinian intellectuals on the ground had an enormous impact on his students, friends, and devotees. To them, his was an act of determined will, giving meaning to Gramsci's fateful words about the pessimism of the intelligence and the optimism of the will. His return as defiance of the forces which separated the man from his land was also followed by a similar move by Said, who began visiting Palestine belatedly despite his public break with the Palestine National Authority. For the latter, who resigned from the PNC in 1991, this was a bitter ending to a long association with the PLO which began in 1977 and which earned him the undying enmity of the American Zionist establishment. For Abu-Lughod, the denouement was slower as he resisted the urge to effect an open rupture with the PLO, only to realize its weaknesses as he neared the end of his life.


What should be remembered, however, is that both intellectuals were eminently qualified to be declared public intellectuals of the Palestinian diaspora. Through their analyses, widely-quoted statements, as well as their accurate forecasting of events, they became the pioneers of a whole school of scholarly-activist groups. In essence, they succeeded before anyone else in establishing the Palestine question center-stage in the world of Western and Arab letters. They both seemed to understand that the public intellectual is held accountable to his words since he leads with his ideas and action. They knew that the public intellectual may take responsibility for his or her errors by correcting the record publicly. Indeed, they always felt that the public intellectual's prophetic analyses must withstand the test of time. An examination of Abu-Lughod's and Said's work attests to that and easily distinguishes their word from that of other academics and self-declared media experts. Witness, for instance, remarks made by Said in a lecture delivered in 1979 before the Beirut-based Institute of Palestine Studies. He began by stating that he could recall any moment in the recent Arab past when there had been such restless interest and such nagging uncertainty towards the United States than at the time of his lecture. After pleading with his Arab audience to understand existing tensions between "the American state" and "American civil society," particularly in the wake of the Vietnam War, he called on his listeners to discern what forces in American society had the potential to support the Palestinian right of self-determination and what forces to fight against. He cautioned strongly against bypassing and ignoring American centers of humanistic thought and enlightened action. After referring to the prophetic words of American historian Walter La Feber on the interventionist nature of American politics, which began by conquering an entire continent and ended by intervening globally, Said recalled that no single country or fascist government destroyed or "destabilized" (Kissinger's term) countries as the United States. Said alluded strongly to the entrenchment of the idea of interventionism in the minds of the American foreign policy elite. He referred to Nixon's "Madman Theory of War," by which the United States literally and intentionally acts as the madman of the world in order to inspire shock and awe in the mind of the rest of the world (Said, "The Palestinian Question and the American Context," 1980, pp. 129-131). At the time when this theory made the rounds, Cambodia was the implied target but who would argue that it does not apply to American policy in Iraq today? Then Said added, as if prophesying events such as the Democracy Initiative of the year 2004 in which the U.S. hopes to advance the cause of democracy and freedom in the Arab world:
 Yet historically the American presence in the world is always
 covered with the language, the justification, if not the
 actuality, of benevolence. Many of us have grown up with the
 idea that because it is the land of freedom, the United States
 supports freedom everywhere, even while, ... the United
 States is actually engaged in decimating countries like
 Cambodia and Laos and being the world's greatest arms
 dealer. (Said, "The Palestinian Question and the American
 Context", 1980, p. 131).

He then cautioned against the framing of the Palestinian struggle in small dimensions, isolating it from the wider issues of "universal human freedom and social justice," for by doing so we would be presenting the Palestinian struggle precisely as the Zionists wish to present it, namely, as a small and limited nationalist struggle (Said, "The Palestine Question and the American Context," 1980, p. 143). Said's perceptive remarks and insights into the nature of American empire and how to link with domestic antagonists were as relevant in 1980 as they remain today. Similarly, Abu-Lughod assumed the role of the public intellectual quite early in his career, not only as a result of predicting the nature of future events, but by framing the Palestine question in a manner consistent with Palestinian history and the inalienable rights of the Palestine people. Abu-Lughod managed to achieve two goals: one was to assert the relevance of Palestinian perspectives on this issue, and two, to critique the distortions, factual manipulations, and spurious premises of Zionist scholarship. In a review essay titled, "The Pitfalls of Palestiniology," he dissected the methodology of a new "school" of historical writing which was permitted to bypass, distort, marginalize and fictionalize the history of the Palestinian community for the sake of legitimizing Zionist claims and Israeli perspectives. Works such as Neil Caplan's Palestine Jewry and the Arab Question, 1917-1925 (1978), Marie Syrkin's The State of the Jews (1980), and Dov Ronen's The Quest for Self-Determination (1979), came under close scrutiny which spared neither their underlying assumptions about Palestine and Palestinians, nor their purposeful neglect of the totality of their enemies' history. He also quickly identified the common threads running through their accounts which led him to refer to this rampant but suspect scholarship as "Palestiniology." He wrote:
 It may not be wholly inaccurate to state that over the past
 twenty or so years a new science whose basic concepts and
 methodology are derivative yet readily identifiable has
 developed (Abu Lughod, "The Pitfalls," 1981, p. 403).

He then proceeded to deduce the basic laws of this new field:
 Law number one is that it is virtually impossible to study the
 historical evolution of Palestine as a country or as a culture
 unless that is done in relation to different communities and
 powers. Law number two is that one cannot study the
 historical development of the Palestine Arab community at
 any particular point in modern times without taking immense
 cognizance of the presence ... of the Jewish community ...
 Law number three is that the study of Palestine realistically
 entails the study of Zionist effort to transform the basic
 characteristics of Palestine ... Law number four pertains to
 methodology: To study the evolution of modern Palestinian
 history one must first examine the archival material of the
 British Public Record Office ... second, one must exhaust the
 Zionist archives, and third, one consults other sources ... in
 European languages (Abu-Lughod, "The Pitfalls," 1981, pp.

The end result of this genre of writing is that much of the development of Palestine's Arab community remains hidden from view. Neither the growth of Palestinian labor movement, the differentiation of its classes, the rise of its political movements, nor the creation of its arts and industrial products are worthy of study. Only the traditional elite are the subject of occasional mention. By contrast, the institutions of the Yishuv (Palestine's Jewish community under the Mandate) such as its economic cooperatives, its labor unions, its teacher organizations, its social and literary life are meticulously described and recorded. The embryonic sinews of a fully-formed Jewish community are thus delineated, awaiting the emergence of their pre-ordained state. Abu-Lughod concluded: "In short, the social and cultural evolution of the Palestinians in modern times is in desperate need of study." (Abu-Lughod, "The Pitfalls," 1981, p. 405). Then, concluding his remarks about works that actually do pay attention to the realities of Palestinian history, he wrote that what was commendable about these was that the "Palestinian Arab is central to the analysis and narration" (Abu-Lughod, "The Pitfalls," 1981, p. 411).


In another piece on the Palestinian political identity, its evolution, and distorted presentation by Zionist advocates, Abu-Lughod went to the core of the nature of negating that identity. He examined Zionists territorial claims over Transjordan, east of the river, and the deliberate confusion of Palestine and Transjordan in order to strengthen their territorial claims. He explained, using a direct quotation from the first British High Commissioner in Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel, that the Mandate went as far as appointing a Jordan-based advisor to the High Commissioner and stopped there. This did not mean, however, that the two territorial units were intended to form one mandate. Both areas were distinctly different from each other. In essence, the British

regarded East Jordan as the southern extension of the territory promised to Sherif Hussein of Mecca in 1915. When World War I ended, Prince Faisal, his son, proceeded to establish a government based in Damascus only to see it invaded by the French authority in Lebanon. Prince Faisal vacated his seat of government and went on to become the ruler of Iraq. But his brother, Prince Abdullah, demanded the fulfillment of war-time promises and arrived in East Jordan with a large enough force to threaten France's hold over Syria. This development persuaded the British that the best way to eliminate the threat of a destabilized southern Syrian border was to grant Abdullah control over Transjordan. But never did the British assume that both sides of Jordan were parts of one mandate, or that inhabitants of the two banks were one people. Zionist claims to the contrary, always insisting that the Balfour declaration promised opening the way for settlement east and west of the river, were simply baseless. These claims were part of the Zionist "negation" of the Palestinians as people entitled to rule their own land (Abu-Lughod, "Territorially Based," 1988, pp. 196-197).

Zionists continued to negate the existence of the Palestinian people through the years, Abu-Lughod explained, until finally an American, Joan Peters, claimed that the Arab population of Palestine had recently arrived from surrounding Arab countries. These claims drove him to stress again that no one qualified for the right of self-determination in Palestine more than the Arab population. Only they were able to affirm the existence of Jewish people on the same Palestinian territory. The humanist solution of mutual recognition and affirmation must supplant the Zionist policies of negation (Abu-Lughod, "Territorially Based," 1988, pp. 200-205). Abu-Lughod, therefore, laid the groundwork for a new perception of Palestine question, a view which recognized the peoplehood and nationhood of the Palestinians, instead of the Zionist and Israeli versions of the Palestinian narrative.


Abu-Lughod and Said lived the life of the public intellectual defending and articulating a cause that not only defined the Arab struggle but also the human struggle at large. Both worked assiduously to bring out the meaning and importance of the Palestine question. As Said wrote:
 We Palestinians must still reconcile ourselves with our history
 ... And we must restore Palestine to its place not simply as a
 small piece of territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the
 Jordan River but as an idea that for years galvanized the Arab
 World into thinking about and fighting for social justice,
 democracy, and a different kind of future than the one that has
 been imposed on it by force and by absence of Arab will
 (Said, Peace, 1993, p. xxxiii).

The highly quotable Said can always be counted upon to provide heroic words for Palestine's heroic and tragic history. More importantly, he and Abu-Lughod never missed an opportunity to point to tragic events in that country as symptomatic of all the regional disasters bedeviling the Arab World. Like Frantz Fanon's illumination of the heroic lights of Algeria's revolution, Said and Abu-Lughod must be credited with doing the same for the Palestinian Revolution. Among all the tributes paid to Said upon his death by the Arab press, particularly the Egyptian press, this point was made over and over again. During a special meeting of the Egyptian opposition paper, al-Ahali, Said was eulogized as the man who hoisted the Palestinian flag throughout his life, both culturally and nationally. Speaker after speaker lauded his contributions to the Palestinian cause which internationalized it as the premier revolution of the second half of the twentieth century. Mahmoud Amin al-Aalem, a noted Egyptian writer, emphasized that Said's work not only established Palestine in the international imagination but also defended the authenticity of Arab civilization heritage. Farida al-Naqqash, an editor of al-Ahali, observed that because he was forcibly ejected from Palestine, he became one of its illustrious symbols ("Fi wada'," al-Ahali, 1 October 2003, p. 15). Muhammad Sid Ahmad, one of Egypt's foremost advocates of Palestinian rights, wrote that Said's life was a living illustration of the power of belonging which can overcome the varieties of national labels. Said died an American, Ahmad wrote, but will always be remembered as a Palestinian (Ahmad, al-Ahali, 1 October 2003, p. 1).


Commitment to Palestine as an idea, a field of study, and an emotional anchor throughout the years of exile also characterized the life and work of Abu-Lughod. His was a pioneering contribution to the field of Palestinian history and politics. Early bibliographies on the subject reveal the titles of Abu-Lughod's rich offerings. Works such as The Transformation of Palestine (1971), paid attention to the land question, demography, and unknown phases of Palestinian history, such as the murky years following the establishment of the Government of All Palestine in Gaza. This work, to which several people, such as the capable Janet Abu-Lughod, contributed original studies also included an introduction by British historian Arnold Toynbee. Abu-Lughod also edited The Arab-Israeli Confrontation of June 1967: An Arab Perspective (1970). Then came one of the first studies, co-authored with Palestinian-Canadian scholar, Baha Abu-Laban, which identified the nature of Israeli occupation of Palestine and drew parallels between it and the White settler regime of South Africa. Titled Settler Regimes in Africa and the Arab World (1974), it described the new secular and religious settlements on Palestinian lands when this development was still in its infancy. In 1972, he produced Altered Realities: the Palestinians since 1967, in which he presented the emerging Palestinian national liberation struggle, led by the PLO as a legitimate movement with clear and sound objectives (Hussaini, 1974). While at Birzeit University, he is best remembered as an organizer of conferences that attracted international scholars to Palestine. One of the outcomes of these conferences was an unusual collection of papers delivered around the theme of interaction between history, politics, and geography. Contributors explored Zionist transformation of the Palestinian landscape in order to build an altered reality in the imagination (Abu-Lughod, et al., Eds., The Landscape 1999). Among its unusual offerings is a piece by Said in which he admits his error by overlooking implied Orientalism in the so-called studies of ancient Israel. In these studies, the collective memory is purposely shaped to suit the objective of modern Zionism. He was reminded of this by Scottish historian Keith W. Whitelam, author of The Invention of Ancient Israel: The Silencing of Palestinian History (1996), which strongly criticized Zionist reconstruction of the geography of Israel. Said, as he himself explained, was keenly aware of the manipulation of memory and geographic facts in order to accommodate the dominant culture. Somehow, the author of Orientalism, which focuses on the question of "imaginative geography--the intervention and construction of a geographical space called the Orient," did not examine the fundamental Orientalism of ancient Israeli studies (Said, "Palestine: Memory, Invention and Space," 1999, p. 9). In the same work, The Landscape, Abu-Lughod paid tribute to a determined supporter of the Palestinian cause, Eqbal Ahmad. An Indian scholar Ahmad contributed to Palestinian and Arab journals and epitomized the idea of Third World solidarity (Abu-Lughod, "In Memoriam: Eqbal Ahmad, 1933-1999," 1999, pp. xi-xiv).


It is worth recalling that the centrality of the Palestine question to understanding the American imperial role and attempted domination of the Arab World was not always a given. Despite Said's words below, several writers minimized Palestine's significance to the Arab World and the Third World at large:
 Palestine was a liberation ideal, not a provincial movement for
 municipal self-rule under foreign tutelage. We saw it as an
 integral unit within the liberation movement of the Third
 World ... secular, democratic and revolutionary (Said, Peace,
 1993, p. 79).

This author can cite one example of the negation of the idea of Palestine, when a reviewer of non-Arab origin critiqued the basic theme of her book Palestine and the Egyptian National Identity (1992). He in essence argued dismissively that Egyptians never cared for the Palestine question since they were eternally preoccupied with their struggle for daily existence (Talhami, "Letters," 1993, p 195). The reviewer was particularly derisive towards what he called a certain group of Palestinian scholars who always imagined that Palestine mattered greatly to Egypt and the rest of the Arab World. Today, of course, his words would be laughable given the tremendous impact which Palestine continues to have over the legitimacy of Arab regimes, the unraveling of Iraqi politics, Lebanon's standing in the Middle East, Arab intellectual movements in general, and yes, United States policy throughout the Middle East.


Abu-Lughod and Said also impressed Arab writers outside the United States, both for their commitment to the cause of Palestine and their resistance to co-optation by the American academic and political establishments. One such writer, Firyal Ghazoul, was a former student of Said. When she eulogized him in al-Ahram, she remembered his steadfastness, his defiance of those who attempted to ridicule his support of the Palestine cause, and his defense of subjugated people all over the world (Ghazoul, Al-Ahram, 3 October 2003, p. 38).

Said, as is well known, loved Egypt, his second home after his family's forced departure from Palestine. One need not emphasize Abu-Lughod's love for his native country and the Arab World since his life story and the manner in which he chose to spend his later years are a testament to that. But Said, the expert on Western literature, who was truly as much a child of Western civilization as he was the product of Arab culture, often startled his readers with the depth of his attachment to the artistic and cultural life of the Arab World. Egyptians always knew his attachment to Egypt, but they were surprised in recent years to read his witty and affectionate tribute to the queen of Eastern dance, Tahia Carioca. The object of his childhood fantasies, Tahia was described in one of his recent articles as "a great dancer--no one ever approached her unrivalled mastery of the genre--and her colorful, thoroughly Egyptian playfulness." He added that her art was utterly "untranslatable." He, strangely, paid very little attention to her reputation as a political radical. He did observe, however, that many of her performances remain unrecorded, with the exception of few films on video. (Said, "Farewell," 2001, pp. 229-230). Her legacy, he feared, will soon dissipate. Her past was, in his words "out of sight and hearing, beyond reach, largely irrecoverable." Then he lamented:
 Our history is written mostly by foreigners, visiting scholars,
 and intelligence agents, while we do the living, relying on
 personal and disorganized collective memory, gossip almost,
 plus the embrace of a family or knowable community to carry
 us forward in time (Said, "Farewell," 2001, p. 232).


Finally, one cannot help but place the work and lives of these intellectuals in context, meaning the American medium in which they lived and practiced their art. What emerges from this perspective is the incredible steadfastness and persistent commitment of these two to the question of Palestine and its lessons to the world. Remarkably, neither one felt the need to be validated by the Arab or American centers of power. Validation, a common scourge of Third World intellectuals, did not play a role in the enormous reputation of Said and Abu-Lughod. Neither one of them became a member of the official American intellectual establishment. Neither one accepted a position with the Palestine National Authority's corrupt and mismanaged administration. The only name that springs to mind in this regard is Fouad Ajami and his uncritical embrace of U.S. foreign policy, as well as his persistent denigration of Arab people and their political movements. In a caustic review of his article "Iraq and the Arab's Future," (Foreign Affairs, January/February 2003) the Egyptian writer Ibrahim Nafi'aah takes Ajami to task for surrendering to powerful American interests. Nafi'aah is essentially interested in the relationship between the intellectual and political authority, particularly Arab political authority. It had occurred to some Arab writers, inveighed Nafi'aah, that Arab princes were not really masters of their own destiny, but rather employees of the American master's court. Therefore, they argued that the raging debate in the Arab World should not be about writers and Arab rulers, but about the relationships of the Arab intellectual and the American prince. Among the first to discover this truism was Fouad Ajami who migrated body and mind to the land of fantasies and dreams, seeking a place for himself suitable to his talents as he crossed the golden bridge linking the source to the ruling prince. That is what makes Ajami an unusual phenomenon among Arab-American intellectuals, who, on the whole, insist on clinging to their roots and cultural and civilizational identities. Not so Ajami, since he discovered a short cut to power by identifying with the extreme American right, even those with connections to Zionist circles. It is not surprising, therefore, to read his latest attacks on Arab and Islamic culture as if to prove that he had rid himself of the Arab dirt staining his garment. To Nafi'aah, Ajami seems to be always anxious to shed his Arab skin and view others, including Arabs, through borrowed American eyes. Ajami cleverly argues in this article that the United States should invade Iraq not because of its evil dictator, since the world is full of such regimes, but because the United States must respond to the political and cultural attacks of terrorists who have seized those native regimes. The United States must respond to these attacks by seeking to change the culture of the entire region.

But Ajami does not stop at Iraq. Instead, he goes to the core of the matter by suggesting that a blow at Iraq will finally force its future government to sever its relationships to Palestine. Ajami proceeds to spell out what pleases his master's ears by prophesying that a democratic Iraq will surely abandon the Palestine cause. Nowhere in this article does Ajami refer to the national rights of the Palestinians since he has always linked them with the leadership of the most discredited characters in the Arab world, namely Arafat and George Habash (Nafi'aah, 2003).

Thus, we have come a full circle. Abu-Lughod and Said are vindicated, not by Ajami's twisted understanding of Arabism and Palestine, but by the turn of events in the Arab world itself, which finally, despite all odds brought the Palestine question to the forefront of Arab politics. How instructive it is to read Ajami's fulminations and absorb their meaning fully, for in the end, he and my book reviewer fail to accept that as long as there is injustice and victimization in the Arab world, Palestine lives.


Abu-Lughod, Ibrahim. "In Memoriam: Eqbal Ahmad, 1933-1999." In Abu-Lughod, et al (Eds.), The Landscape of Palestine: Equivocal Poetry. Birzeit, Palestine: Birzeit University Publications, 1999, xi-xiv.

Abu-Lughod, Ibrahim. "Territorially based Nationalism and the Politics of Negation." In Edward Said and Christopher Hitchens (Eds.), Blaming the Victims. London: Verso, 1988, pp. 193-206.

Abu-Lughod, Ibrahim, et al (Eds.), The Landscape of Palestine: Equivocal Poetry. Birzeit, Palestine: Birzeit University Publications, 1999.

Abu-Lughod, Ibrahim. "The Pitfalls of Palestiniology." Arab Studies Quarterly, 3(4), 1981, pp. 403-411.

Ahmad, Muhammad Sid. "Edward Said wa 'alimiyat qadhiyat Filastin" (Edward Said and the Internationalization of the Palestine Question). Al-Ahali, 1 October 2003.

"Fi wada' al-mufaker al-Filastini al Kabir Edward Said" (Farewell to the Great Palestinian Intellectual Edward Said). Al-Ahali, 1 October 2003.

Hussaini, Hatem I. The Palestine Problem: An Annotated Bibliography, 1967-1974. Washington, D.C.: Arab Information Center, 1974, passim.

Ghazoul, Firyal. "Edward Said namouthajan" (Edward Said as Role Model). Al-Ahram, 3 October 2003.

Nafi'aah, Hassan. "Al-Muthaqaf al-'Arabi wa al-amir al-Amriki" (The Arab Intellectual and the American Prince). Wujhat Nathar, 28 March 2003, pp. 29-33.

Said, Edward. "Farewell to Tahia." in Sherifa Zuhur (Ed.), Colors of Enchantment. Cairo: The American University Press, 2001, pp. 228-232.

Said, Edward. "Palestine, Memory, Invention and Space." in Abu-Lughod, Ibrahim, et al (Eds.), The Landscape of Palestine: Equivocal Poetry. Birzeit, Palestine: Birzeit University Publications, 1999, pp. 3-20.

Said, Edward. "The Palestine Question and the American Context." Arab Studies Quarterly, 2(2), 1980, pp. 127-149.

Said, Edward, and Hitchens, Cristopher (Eds.), Peace and Its Discontents. London: Verso, 1993.

Talhami, Ghada. "Letters." Journal of Palestine Studies, 1993, pp. xxii, 4, 195.

Ghada Hashem Talhami is D.K.Pearsons Professor of Politics at Lake Forest College, Illinois.
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Author:Talhami, Ghada Hashem
Publication:Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)
Geographic Code:7PALE
Date:Sep 22, 2004
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