Edward Said (1935-2003)

Edward Said was a teenager when Israeli forces captured West Jerusalem in 1948. His family fled with other Palestinian refugees to Cairo. He eventually attended Princeton and Harvard and settled in the U.S., where he became a professor of comparative literature at Columbia University, a celebrated intellectual, and the leading advocate for Palestinian self-determination.

He wrote his first political essay, “The Arab Portrayed,” in response to Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir's declaration in 1969 that “There are no Palestinians.” Said writes that he took on “the slightly preposterous challenge of disproving her, of beginning to articulate a history of loss and dispossession that had to be extricated, minute by minute, word by word, inch by inch.”

That piece launched a lifetime of writing and activism. Said championed the rights of the Palestinian people to determine their own future—while insisting that Palestinians acknowledge the persecution and genocide suffered by the Jews. “[T]he struggle for equality in Palestine/Israel should be directed toward a humane goal, that is, co-existence, and not further suppression and denial,” he wrote.

The most influential of Said's many books is Orientalism (1978 ), which denounces “subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture,” arguing that these biases have served as a justification for the West's imperial ambitions in the Middle East and Asia.

Said's activism exiled him from Israel and Palestine for most of his life and provoked criticism in this country. He has been called everything from “the professor of terror” to a Nazi, and his office at Columbia was set on fire. But he persevered, publishing regularly in The Nation, the Arabic newspaper al-Hayat in London, and many other publications. His enduring legacy is the courage to say the most difficult things to the most difficult people in the most difficult circumstances.


Edward W. Said, Power, Politics and Culture. Interviews ed. by Gauri Viswanathan. Bloomsbury 2005.

Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism. Chatto & Windus 1993.

The Life & Mind of Edward Said by As`ad AbuKhalil, Consortium News, 16 August 2021

Edward Said's Palestine, Revisited by Jonah Raskin, CounterPunch, 18 May 2021

Places of Mind:  A Life of Edward Said by Timothy Brennan Book review by Adam Shatz, London Review of Books, 6 May 2021

The Lost Worlds of Edward Said by Udi Greenberg, The New Republic, 13 April 2021

A Study of Edward Said, One of the Most Interesting Men of His Time by Dwight Garner, The New York Times, 22 March 2021

An Attack on Edward Said's Legacy by Lawrence Davidson, CounterPunch, 30 July 2020

The Worldly Exile: Edward Said's life and afterlives by Rashid Khalidi, The Nation, 5 May 2020

Teaching Edward Said in Gaza by Haidar Eid, Mondoweiss, 27 September 2019

Let Them Eat Cake: a Journey into Edward Said's Humanism by Ted Steinberg, CounterPunch, 6 September 2019

Edward Said: Remembering a Palestinian Patriot by César Chelala, Common Dreams, 10 April 2019

Capitalism and Orientalism by Rena Jackson, Jacobin, 1 March 2019

Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual by Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone, CounterPunch, 14 December 2018

What Would Gramsci and Said Do? A Socialist Perspective on BDS by Rod Such, The Palestine Chronicle, 20 November 2018

A Word on Edward Said by Faisal Khan, CounterPunch, 24 October 2018

Third nature: Edward Said on ecology and imperialism by John Bellamy Foster, MR Online, 18 July 2017

The 100 best nonfiction books: No 8 – Orientalism by Edward Said (1978) by Robert McCrum, The Guardian, 21 March 2016

Edward Said's Humanism versus the U.S. State Department's Anti-Semitism by Richard Falk, ZNet, 10 November 2015

MEMO Profile: Edward W. Said (1 November 1935 – 25 September 2003) by Amelia Smith, Middle East Monitor, 25 September 2015

Event honoring Edward Said prompts Zionist smear campaign against San Francisco State students by Nora Barrows-Friedman, The Electronic Intifada, 26 November 2013

Edward Said - 10 years on by Hicham Yezza, openDemocracy, 26 September 2013

Ten years after his death: remembering Edward Said and his quest for a just peace by Sandy Tolan, Ramallah Café, 24 September 2013

Edward Said Speaks Candidly about Politics, His Illness, and His Legacy in His Final Interview (2003), Open Culture, 18 September 2013

Edward Said: A Champion of Justice by Jamal Kanj, The Palestine Chronicle, 4 October 2012

Edward Said: Imperial Continuity – Palestine, Iraq, and US Policy (video), Israeli Occupation Archive, 22 September 2010

Remembering Edward Said Five Years On by Stephen Lendman, The Palestine Chronicle, 22 September 2008

A legacy of understanding by Karma Nabulsi, The Guardian/Comment is free, 15 June 2008

Between the lines by Marc Geelhoed, New Statesman, 3 January 2008

Thinking of Edward Said by Tariq Ali

CounterPunch, 24 December 2007

Hamas of the intellectuals by Martin Kramer

Sandstorm, 31 May 2006

End Notes by Hanif Kureishi

New Statesman, 29 May 2006

On Late Style By Edward W Said: A final ode to autumn's art by Susan Tomes

The Independent, 19 May 2006

Where Edward Said was wrong by Christopher de Bellaigue

The Times, 17 May 2006

Dahrendorf, Said ja antisemitismi Hannu Reime

YLE/Ajantasa 23.3.2006

For Lust of Knowing: the orientalists and their enemies by Robert Irwin, reviewed by Terry Eagleton

New Statesman, 13 February 2006

Unwise men in the East by Barnaby Rogerson

The Independent, 3 February 2006

What the FBI Repairman Wore When He Tried to Bug Edward Said by Alexander Cockburn

CounterPunch, 14/15 January 2006

How the FBI Spied on Edward Said by David Price

CounterPunch, 13 January 2006

Writing for the moment by Tom Paulin

The Guardian, 25 September 2004

The Rootless Cosmopolitan: Edward Said by Tony Judt

The Nation, 1 July 2004

Edward Said: The Last Interview by Peter Bradshaw

The Guardian, 11 June 2004

The last Jewish intellectual by Terry Eagleton

New Statesman, 29 March 2004

Edward Said on poissa Hannu Reime


The Political Legacy of Edward Said by Irene Gendzier

ZNet, 20 December 2003

Remembering Edward Said by Tariq Ali

New Left Review 24, November-December 2003

On Edward Said by Michael Wood

London Review of Books, 23 October 2003

Edward Said's legacy

The Guardian, 27 September 2003

Edward Said by Malise Ruthven

The Guardian, 26 September 2003

Edward Said, Dead at 67: A Mighty and Passionate Heart by Alexander Cockburn

CounterPunch, 25 September 2003

A window on the world

The Guardian, 2 August 2003

The Meaning of Rachel Corrie: Of Dignity and Solidarity

CounterPunch, 23 June 2003

The Latest Peace Plan: A Roadmap to What and Where?

CounterPunch, 23 June 2003

The Academy of Lagado

London Review of Books, 17 April 2003

What is happening to the United States?

Media Monitors Network, 26 April 2003

Always on Top

London Review of Books, 20 March 2003

Global Crisis

ZNet, 17 March 2003

Who is in charge?

Media Monitors Network, 8 March 2003

A monument to hypocrisy

Media Monitors Network, 14 February 2003

An unacceptable helplessness

Al Ahram, 16 January 2003

Immediate Imperatives

Al Ahram, December 21, 2002

Misinformation about Iraq

Media Monitors Network, 30 November 2002

Waiting on a Countervailing Force

Al Ahram, 24 November 2002

Israel, Iraq, And The US

Al Ahram, 10 October 2002

Low Point of Powerlessness

Al Ahram, 5 October


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