Monday, January 31, 2011

Edward Wadie Saïd & Palestinian Christian

When blogging about Egypt, I remember Edward Wadie Saïd, a Palestinian Christian, who once lived in Egypt. I remember reading his book " Out of Place", a book he wrote on his personal life before he died.

I have been to Palestine, and talk with the Palestinian Christian in Jericho, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. This is the first time that I knew there is Palestinian Christian. I enter the church in Bethlehem, one Palestine boy was playing piano, and I looked at the Christian Song Book, it is in Arabic....the Christian song in Arabic...

The discovery changed my perception on Palestine issue and Palestine people. May be Edward W Said's Orientalism become clear....the false perception on middle east issue need to be re-looked. The history of Palestine go beyond, long long ago in history....

I like Edward Wadie Saïd, his work, and West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, that made up of children from Israel, the Palestinian territories, and surrounding Arab nations.

His book " Out of Place" make me realized the problem of Palestine Christian, and their dilemma. What Edward W Said faced, many are still facing today, and out of place like him...

They left....their is more than the Israel-Palestinian conflict issue.. we all know about Gaza, West Bank, Golan Height, the world was focused on the areas.....but there are happening in Bethlehem, and many Christian dominated Palestine areas, they are no longer majority, but minority...they are leaving...

Palestinian Christians are the descendants of the original indigenous Christians who first believed that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, when He was with them in flesh. They are the descendants of the Apostles of Jesus Christ and the many ethnicities that lived in the area during the 1st and 2nd centuries. Palestinian Christians have been living in the Holy Land "since the time of Jesus". Today, the majority live elsewhere due to 1948 War, the Six-Day War in 1967, and occupation, but many still live in the cities, villages and refugee camps in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.

They are Arab Christian Believers of many Christian denominations including Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic (eastern and western rites), Protestant and others who have ethnic or family origins in Palestine. In both the local dialect of Palestinian Arabic and in classical or modern standard Arabic, Christians are called Nasrani (a derivative of the Arabic word for Nazareth), al-Nasira, or Masihi (a derivative of Arabic word Masih, meaning "Messiah"). Christians comprise less than 4% of Palestinian Arabs living within the borders of former Mandate Palestine today. They are approximately 4% of the West Bank population, less than 1% in Gaza, and nearly 10% of Israel's Palestinian Arabs. According to official British Mandate estimates, Mandate Palestine’s Christian population varied between 9.5% (1922) and 7.9% (1946) of the total population.
(source: wikipedia)

Today, the majority of Palestinian Christians live abroad. Like Edward W Said, still out of place....

Edward Wadie Saïd

Edward Wadie Saïd ( Arabic: إدوارد وديع سعيد‎, Idwārd Wadīʿ Saʿīd; 1 November 1935 – 25 September 2003) was a Palestinian-American literary theorist and advocate for Palestinian rights. He was University Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and a founding figure in post colonialism.[1] Robert Fisk described him as the Palestinians' "most powerful political voice.

Said was born in Jerusalem (then in the British Mandate of Palestine) on November 1, 1935.[9] His father, a US citizen with Protestant Palestinian origins, was a businessman and had served under General Pershing in World War I. He moved to Cairo in the decade before Edward's birth. His mother, born in Nazareth, also had a Protestant background[10][11] and was half-Lebanese.[12] His sister was the historian and writer Rosemarie Said Zahlan.

Said was an influential cultural critic and author, known best for his book Orientalism (1978), which catapulted him to international academic fame.[3] The book presented his influential ideas on Orientalism, the Western study of Eastern cultures. Said contended that Orientalist scholarship was and continues to be inextricably tied to the imperialist societies that produced it, making much of the work inherently politicized, servile to power, and therefore suspect. Grounding much of this thesis in his intimate knowledge of colonial literature such as the fiction of Conrad, and in the post-structuralist theory of Foucault, Derrida and others, Said's Orientalism and following works proved influential in literary theory and criticism, and continue to influence several other fields in the humanities. Orientalism affected Middle Eastern studies in particular, transforming the way practitioners of the discipline describe and examine the Middle East.[4] Said came to discuss and vigorously debate the issue of Orientalism with scholars in the fields of history and area studies, many of whom disagreed with his thesis, including most famously Bernard Lewis.[5]

Said also came to be known as a public intellectual who frequently discussed contemporary politics, music, culture, and literature, in lectures, newspaper and magazine columns, and books. Drawing on his own experience as a Palestinian growing up in a Palestinian Christian family in the Middle East at the time of the creation of Israel, Said argued for the creation of a Palestinian state, equal rights for Palestinians in Israel, including the right of return, and for increased pressure on Israel, especially by the United States. He also criticized several Arab and Muslim regimes.[6] Having received a Western education in the US, where he lived from his high school years until his death, Said tried to use his dual heritage, the subject of his prize-winning memoir Out of Place (1999), to bridge the gap between the West and the Middle East and to improve the situation in Israel-Palestine. He was a member of the Palestinian National Council for over a decade and his pro-Palestinian activism made him a figure of considerable controversy.[7]

In 1999, Said co-founded with Daniel Barenboim the award-winning West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, made up of children from Israel, the Palestinian territories, and surrounding Arab nations. He was also an accomplished concert pianist.[8] Active until his last months, Said died in 2003 after a decade-long battle with leukemia.
(source: wikipedia)

Related articles:
1. Palestinian Christians,
2. Edward Said,
3. The Edward Said Archive,
4. Bethlehem,

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