What Edward did not say in “Out of Place”

The only book he wrote using the “I” form.

Edward Said’s thrilling biography returns to the fore. With his intelligence, he was able to master the anatomy of his personality, by highlighting its complexities and contradictions, by his unique critical skills, and constantly made it a loop for rereading.
The series “The World of Knowledge” recently released the book “Edward Said … Places of Thought” by Mathew Brennan, translated by Muhammad Asfour. This is the first complete biography of the pioneering neo-Orientalist and postcolonial studies. Author Bernan is one of Edward Said’s students, who remained a friend of his until his death in 2003. Two years ago, Eight Publishing presented a documentary about Said’s life through the eyes of his family. A few days ago, the French radio station France Coltour again broadcast an interview it recorded with Saeed, on the occasion of the translation of his memoir “Out of Place” which was released in 1999 in Molière’s language, during which he was in perfect French speaks, about what he did not say in the book.

as a book
And “Out of Place” is Saeed’s only book he wrote in ego form, and before him he recorded short cuts of short and intermittent memories, but this time he found himself before the test to have an intense and write long text, based on his methodology, on his abundant reading of Western biographies, from which we drew early.
Said to French radio: “I wrote about three worlds in my biography, all of which have disappeared. The first is my childhood, which ended in Palestine before Israel existed, Egypt before the Gamal Abdel Nasser revolution in 52, and Lebanon before the 1975 civil war. It was difficult because my mother is my commitment to all of this. worlds, and she died in 1990. ” Only a year after her death did Edward find out he had leukemia. At least three transformations took place during that period, and this may be the result of his self-reviews, which he did, after staying at home and receiving treatment, and the events of his path that alternated between ups and downs , reread. first of which was his determination to write his autobiography.

Transformations to disease
The second is that, after hearing one year of the injury, he decided to take his wife, Maryam, and his two sons to Palestine for the first time, to give them the land of roots and the family home he had in 1947. left, to show and never returned. to it. This was his first visit. He toured extensively in search of a home in the Talbieh suburb of West Jerusalem. The characteristics changed completely and the names became Hebrew. He looked frustrated and could not find. In the end, he got the house thanks to the help of an old man. Found it the way it is. He thought it must have been occupied by a Jewish family, and surprisingly, it turned into an evangelical center founded by an extremist who believed in Zionism, originating in South Africa. Happy reluctance to enter. He tensed, walked back and forth and finally decided not to go inside.
After that visit, he went to Palestine at least once a year, and although he was an avid follower of the news there, his visits and his vision of the land, especially his discovery of the number of Palestinians in Galilee, Nazareth, and Jerusalem, convinced him that the two-state solution was not possible at all, and he took his final stand. And certainly, that there is no solution, but one state in which everyone lives.
After his illness, the music in Saeed’s life also became present all day and blared incessantly in the house. This made the meeting between him and the Argentine-Israeli musician Daniel Barenboim more possible than ever before, and together they put the “Diwan of East and West” project and the orchestra, which included Arab and Jewish musicians, into artistic resistance. established against aggression.

Detailed 1967
Saeed did not expect the success of the orchestra, he was very proud of it, and then, according to his wife, considered it the most important project he had undertaken in his life.
Saeed spoke to France Culture radio and said the Nakba and his departure from Palestine in 1947 did not cause him much shock. This is because things happened gradually, and his family moved between Egypt and Palestine before that, and he saw the English soldiers around his house, and he felt upset. But the great intellectual transformation came after 1967, when he was in New York, and that excitement testified to the Israeli victory over the Arabs. “I knew everything that was going on in America as a tortured victim, I could not just be a foreigner. I started to discover what it means to be an Arab and a Palestinian. ” He lived in the atmosphere of anti-Vietnam War without a word about Palestine. He says he could not integrate into American society, he has a scientific life at the university, but on a personal level he is marginalized. It whetted his appetite for research on what happened in the nineteenth century, the justification of colonialism, and how this thought affected the Arabs’ present.
A station that will drive him to further research on the ready-made ideas that shape Western thinking, and his need to shake him. Hence his book “Orientalism”.

childhood in loneliness
Edward Said liked to talk about his early years, about his mother and her Arab nationalist feelings, which he accompanied and had no friends in his childhood. He was influenced by her customs, values, anxiety, love of beauty, music, art and beautiful style, and she remained a great influence on his personality, and to her he attributes his Palestinian national and patriotic sense. His father, a Palestinian businessman who considered his American citizenship a magic key, wanted his only son to grow up as a full-fledged Westerner. Any opposition to it “could cause it to explode like a volcano.” He once told him to stop him from thinking about politics. “We have lost everything, and we can do nothing more. It is wise to take care of the present and the future.”
According to the will of the father, Saeed lived in an English school, and he was forbidden to use Arabic. But his mother spoke to him in her half-Lebanese dialect. “I left my knowledge of Arabic language and literature and focused on Western literature. I had no more time.”

living between two languages
In his radio interview, he says, “Until my twenties, switching between the two languages ​​was a constant burden.” But four years after the 1967 war, “I realized that if I wanted to take part in the struggle for Palestine, I had to be able to speak Arabic.” He moved to Beirut and learned Arabic for a whole year, which he forgot. During this year he met his second wife, Maryam, in Beirut and they were married in 72, the year in which he regularly taught him Arabic from seven to ten in the morning at Anis Fariha, his father’s friend. months of education he would start reading Ibn Khaldun, Taha Hussein, Al-Ghazali and Mahfouz.And he discovers that he himself does not know his own culture, so how do Western Orientals claim that knowledge? Why do they treat these texts as mummified corpses?
Said refused to become just an expert like the American academics in brainstorming, claiming independence, but devoted in depth all their knowledge to serving one of the two major parties, the Republican or the Democratic. He decided to be independent, and to break with the family traditions that disapprove of political work. His father became ill and he became free. However, he never accepted any political position or job. “For me, it was more important to serve Palestine and the Palestinians than to be a leader. Maybe it’s a Protestant idea.

A nose of politics
Said regrets that he belongs to a family, rather a Christian class that lived in Egypt closer to the English colonizer than to the people. “We lived in isolation with people like us, Armenians, Syrians and others. is a miserable class; “Because it did not do much for Egypt, it did not contribute in a cultural sense.” As for Palestine, he was from a class that “adopted the idea that politics is not made by people, but by politicians and the political class, and we are a minority, and we have nothing to do with it.” Even after 1967, when he became interested in the Palestinian cause, “My father and even my mother did not agree at all. My father always told me it’s not your business, you’re an intellectual and a university professor, leave politics to the politicians. You are following a wrong idea. ”
Edward Said admired Yasser Arafat a lot, but he did not agree with him, and saw that Oslo was a big mistake. The Palestinians could have been armed with better maps and tools, and would have given up less. In Oslo, he believed that the issue of complete withdrawal should have been the first item, which did not happen.He described the agreement signed as a “capitulation”.

Painful contradictions
He always wished he had more political influence. He was a member of the Palestinian National Council for some time, and worked as a negotiator at the White House, but soon resigned. He was constantly impressed by the political militants, whose upbringing and environment did not qualify him to be one of them.
Edward wished for much more than he did not live. He was demanding, and he was not satisfied. His disciple, like Brennan, says of him: “Edward is a tormented soul. He treated a large part of his life by a psychoanalyst, and visited the clinic intensively, twice a week. “
This is what he alludes to in his book “Out of Place” without going into details. But this concern may lie behind the overwhelming intellectual vitality with which Edward Said was acquainted, and behind his daring views and writings that characterized the last three decades of his life.


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