Edward Said’s Book, Abufarha’s Ethnography and Power’s Novel

Subject: Literature
Pages: 2
Words: 533
Reading time:
2 min

One of the main themes explored throughout Said’s book Culture and Imperialism is the fact that, even though most Western countries had ceased being imperialist, in the geopolitical sense of this word, the legacy of imperialism remains alive and well in the hearts of many Westerners, which explains their arrogant attitudes towards people of non-Western cultural background.

It is needless to say, of course, that such an idea corresponds rather well to the ideas that are being promoted in Abufarha’s book and Power’s novel. After all, for some unknown reason, both of these authors truly believe that Westerners should be instilled with the complex of ‘historical guilt’ on account of their ancestors having spread the light of civilization even to the planet’s most remote and savage corners. Edward Said has gone as far as suggesting that the whole body of Western literature should be reexamined on whether it contains the traces of perceptional imperialism: “We must expand the horizons against which the question of how and what to read and write are both posed and answered.”

The reading of all three books points out the fact that their authors tend to justify the violent struggle of ‘natives’ against ‘oppressors,’ as they think that ‘natives’ hold some exclusive rights onto the land of their ancestors – hence, authors’ irrational speculations on the subject of ‘natives’ being endowed with some loosely defined ‘spirituality,’ as opposed to rationale-driven ‘evil’ Whites/Jews. The irony is that the slogans ‘Palestine for Palestinians’ and ‘America for Natives’ (or ‘Pandora for Na’vi,’ for that matter), subtly promoted by Abufarha, Said, and Power, are no qualitatively different from clearly racist slogans ‘Germany for Germans’ or ‘Russia for Russians’, for example.

There is even more irony in the fact that Abufarha, Said, and Power do not seem to understand where the indigenous people’s ‘tolerance’ originates from. Had they conducted some research on the subject of their books’ discussion, they would know that it is utterly inappropriate to refer to ‘tolerance’ as ‘thing in itself.’ It is only after they had been exposed to Western civilization for a while that the world’s native populations were given the luxury to adopt ‘tolerance’ and ‘nature-based spirituality’ as the integral components of their existential mode – prior to that, all they had been concerned with was trying to survive physically, while fiercely competing with each other for natural resources. Nowadays, even in such comparatively civilized countries as India and China, many parents consider it perfectly appropriate to simply dispose of their newly born baby-girls in the dumpster.

Thus, the reading of Abufarha, Said, and Power’s books simply proves the validity of an old saying that eventually, every philosophy ends up being transformed into chemistry. Today, these authors theorize on the appropriateness to indulge in violence in order to ensure the ‘liberation of oppressed’ and to ensure the reclamation of ‘native land’ by natives, but tomorrow, their followers will be bringing home-made bombs to supermarkets. It was not simply a coincidence that one of the world’s most famous ideologues of left-wing terrorism Jean-Paul Sartre had written an introduction to Fanon’s book.