THE POLITICS OF DISPOSSESSION by Edward W. Said

THE POLITICS OF DISPOSSESSION

The Struggle for Palestinian Self-Determination, 1969-1993
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A lucid compilation of 39 essays by Said (Comparative Literature/Columbia), the most eloquent spokesperson for the Palestinian cause in the Western world since the Arab defeat in the 1967 war against Israel. Said (Culture and Imperialism, 1993, etc.) adds an introduction and final chapter to these essays, which have appeared over the past 25 years in publications ranging from the Village Voice and the London Review of Books to the Journal of Palestine Studies. The essays are critical not only of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, but also of the Arab world's indifference to the Palestinians' plight. American intervention -- and sometimes the lack of same -- is also criticized. Contending that the Palestinians are a people with their own history, culture, and right to self-determination, Said portrays them as victims of an Israeli occupation, "a cruel thing, a further injustice done to a people deprived of all rights." He depicts Israel as a nation of Holocaust survivors "with a tragic history of genocide and persecution" who are largely insensitive to the rights of the people they displaced. When Said compares the Israeli occupation of the West Bank to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, he lapses from impassioned criticism into outright propaganda. He is equally harsh on the Arab world's repressive and destructive tyrants and decries Arab states for not supporting the intifada, which he sees as a genuine manifestation of Palestinian self-determination. Islamic fundamentalism is glibly dismissed by the secular (and Christian) Said, who envisions a democratic Palestinian state. That "neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis have a military option against each other and that both people must learn to live in peace" is Said's major thesis. Disappointed by Arafat and Rabin's recent Oslo agreement, which he claims ignores the vast Palestinian diaspora, Said sees no resolution in sight. A highly charged and eminently readable critique of a sandstorm in the world's eye.
Pub Date: June 30th, 1994
ISBN: 0679761454
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1994




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NonfictionTHE END OF THE PEACE PROCESS by Edward W. Said
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