Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, expresses its profound sadness at the passing away of Edward Said. We extend heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to Said’s family and friends. We also extend our condolences and deepest sympathy to the Palestinian and Arab people.
One of the best-known contemporary cultural and social critics, Professor Said was a relentless fighter for justice in Palestine. Himself a refugee from Jerusalem, the plight and dispossession of Palestinian refugees weighed heavily on him. Hence, his refusal to forsake the Right to Return in the wake of the first Gulf War and the signing of the Oslo Accords. We remember only well when Dr. Said, on his way home from the hospital on April 7, 2001, insisted on taking part in a mass national rally organized by Al-Awda in NYC. Tired and pale, he did not hesitate to take to the stage and address the thousands of marchers, urging them not to give up and to continue in their struggle until Palestine and the Palestinian people are free.
Two years ago after visits to Jerusalem and the West Bank, Said wrote that Israel’s “efforts toward exclusivity and xenophobia toward the Arabs” had actually strengthened Palestinian determination. He also wrote in Al-Ahram Weekly “Palestine and Palestinians remain, despite Israel’s concerted efforts from the beginning either to get rid of them or to circumscribe them so much as to make them ineffective,”
Said was born in 1935 in the city of Jerusalem. He was Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York City. His works, include “The Question of Palestine,” “After the Last Sky,” “The Politics of Dispossession,” “Peace and its Discontents,” and his memoir, “Out of Place”. These constitute one of the most sustained and effective efforts to represent the Palestinian experience to the American public. His seminal work, “Orientalism,” is credited with inaugurating the Postcolonial Studies discipline in the humanities. One of Said’s recent contributions is the acclaimed ‘Reflections on Exile and other Essays’.
For Edward Said’s 19 February 2003 Lecture at Berkeley entitled: Memory, Inequality and Power: Palestine and the Universality of Human Rights: //webcast.Berkeley.edu/events/replay.html?event_id=46 (RealPlayer needed)
For archives of some of his other work:
For Dr. Said’s speech at Al-Awda’s April 7 2001 Right to Return
Rally in New York City:
On this day of profound sadness, we renew our commitment to continue the
struggle until Palestinian refugees achieve their right to return with their families to their homes and lands of origin.