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The Politics of Culture: Professor Edward Said Talks About the U.S. Media As An Arm of the So-Called War On Terror Against the Arab

A story by Gideon Levy in the Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, begins like this:

“For nearly three hours two Sundays ago, farmer Mohammed Abu Samra Zakarna sat in the vineyard he works, the bodies of his wife and daughter stretched out before him. For part of that time, his young son lay crying and dying next to them. Mohammed’s hands were tied behind his back, and his pants had been taken away at the order of the soldiers who had just killed his family. It happened in [a vineyard] which Zakarna works as a tenant farmer, at the side of the Jenin bypass road, in the early morning hours, when the soldiers thought that their tank had hit a roadside bomb. Only there was no bomb, and the soldiers shot and shelled the Zakarna family, the parents and their two children, who were picking grape leaves…”

The story continues:

“Every morning, they would get up at 5:20, eat a little breakfast and then go out at six to … the field … Every day, they took two of their children along and left two at home with their grandmother… It was too hard for the grandmother to watch four children at once, so they took two of the children to the field with them. Now the only two left are Yasmin, 7, and Hilmi, 18 months…”

Today, as US newspapers are justifiably focusing on the most recent Palestinian suicide bombing, which killed a baby girl and her grandmother and injured dozens more–we’ll take a look at representations and misrepresentations of Arabs and Palestinians in the US mainstream media. The story of the farmer in the vineyard received barely a mention in the US press.

We turn now to a speech Edward Said gave a few weeks ago at Chapman University in California. Edward Said is a leading cultural critic and author of over a dozen books, including ??Orientalism, and ??Culture and Imperialism, and ??Peace and its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process. Said is a Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.


  • Edward Said, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and analyst on Middle East politics. He is a leading cultural critic, who has written over a dozen books, including ??Peace and its Discontents: Essays on Palestine in the Middle East Peace Process, ??Orientalism and ??Culture and Imperialism. He was a member of the Palestine Liberation Council between 1977 and 1991.


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