Edward Said (1935-2003).

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  • Author(s): Williams, Patrick
  • Source:
    Theory, Culture & Society. Feb2004, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p169-171. 3p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      If it is unusual for the death of an academic to constitute much of a media event, then it is altogether rare for such a death to be a media event on a global scale, as was the case with Edward Said, who died in 2003. That this should be so is perhaps no more than fitting for someone who not only did so much to rehabilitate the categories of the public intellectual, both in his academic work and in his daily life, but did so precisely globally. Said's life was formed by the experience of illegal dispossession, enforced exile and separation which was the lot of the Palestinian people after the disaster of the 1948 Israeli invasion of Palestine. While he did not directly experience the oppression suffered by those ruled by Israel, he nevertheless felt it increasingly keenly, and the question of Palestine moved from being only one of many significant topics on which he wrote to being the topic of recent years, of burning importance partly because it was his own people who were being killed or uprooted on a daily basis, but also because it stood as the paradigm case of the culpable failure of the international community, individual governments, politicians and peoples to bring about a just resolution of a manifestly unjust situation.