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Author Topic: When did "Arab" become a dirty word?
Babbler # 3807

posted 10 November 2003 02:43 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post has a link to this article, but the text is incomplete.

ZNet has the whole article .

Is "Palestinian" now just a dirty word? Or is "Arab" the dirty word? Let's start with the late Edward Said, the brilliant and passionate Palestinian-American academic who wrote--among many other books--Orientalism, the ground-breaking work which first explored our imperial Western fantasies about the Middle East. After he died of leukaemia last month, Zev Chafets sneered at him in the New York Daily News in the following words: "As an Episcopalian, he's ineligible for the customary 72 virgins, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's honoured with a couple of female doctoral graduates."

This Chafets person sounds more repulsive than many of our local trolls.

Fisk isn't alone in his analysis. has noted that funding for US universities is going to become contingent on a school's representation of the Arab world.

On Oct. 21, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that could require university international studies departments to show more support for American foreign policy or risk their federal funding. Its approval followed hearings this summer in which members of Congress listened to testimony about the pernicious influence of the late Edward Said in Middle Eastern studies departments, described as enclaves of debased anti-Americanism.

The USA is going insane.

[ 10 November 2003: Message edited by: al-Qa'bong ]

From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 3807

posted 11 November 2003 12:01 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've started a number of threads, a half-dozen anyway, on matters pertinent to the Arab world, that have nothing to do directly with war with the West (including Israel). Articles by Edward Said on Arab weakness, or Palestinians' efforts to work on a constitution...this thread, about US censorship of discussion of things Arab in US universities are some examples.

There is seldom any response, and little discussion about about these matters on babble.

Why is that?

Do Arabs matter only when they are blowing things up? Are they interesting only when they become violent or are themselves being killed?

Perhaps people read these threads and think to themselves, "Yes, that's too bad, what else is there to say?" and move on.

Any thoughts?

From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 560

posted 11 November 2003 12:08 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sorry, I didn't even see this thread yesterday.

But yeah, I think the reason other threads get more attention, particularly when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli issue, is because they're controversial, and we have people who are passionate about both sides of the issue.

However, with the first post in this thread - I read it and thought, "Yeah, that's for sure!" But a bunch of "he sure said it, didn't he?" doesn't make for much of a passionate conversation about the issue.

I think that's why the "in cahoots" section suffers too (among other reasons). Because most of the news releases from progressive organizations are things that everyone pretty much can agree upon, therefore what's to discuss or debate?

I don't know. Also, I think there was another thread on babble where we discussed the US university funding thing regarding schools with Middle East studies departments that are deemed to be too "pro-Arab". I think most people expressed disgust at the imperialism and then the thread stopped.

From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
April Follies
Babbler # 4098

posted 11 November 2003 01:20 AM      Profile for April Follies   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The U.S. federal funding thing is twice over stupid because we are right now feeling the ill effects of similar policies. This isn't, therefore, something that will hurt us in the future, it's something that's already hurting us.

See, anyone who understood anything about Arab regions, pretty much, or even spoke Arabic, was viewed by suspicion by the farking Neocons. As a result, the forces even now invading Iraq have to hire translators and are still running short all the time, and many of the "diplomats" have all the cultural sensitivity of a bullfight at a Hindu festival.

So, not only are those who know anything about Arabs and the "Arab world" evicted from any policy-making decisions, but when it comes time to implement the policy, no one can be found who knows enough to do it sensibly. Result: bloody mess. And this is a known problem - at least, anyone who reads newspapers knows it. And yet the zealots intend to wipe out any actual knowledge of large swaths of the real world (because it's literally become politically incorrect to teach that) for the next generation or so. Brilliant. Brilliant.

I'm going to go be sick now.

From: Help, I'm stuck in the USA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
Babbler # 1873

posted 11 November 2003 12:14 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
For some months now, I've simply avoided the Middle East forum altogether. I find the endless circular arguments (Israel vs Palestine) pointless. And they dominate anything else that could be said about the region. But I'm glad I gave this thread a second's extremely relevent and, I think, an important discussion.

When did "Arab" become a dirty word? Probably around the same time that the Europeans began exploiting the vacuum left by the disintegrating Ottoman empire. Maybe even earlier. I also pretty much go along with what Edward Said had to say about the fantasy of Arabian culture concocted by imperialist interests.

Is the US going insane? Uh-huh, more so than usual. They are very afraid. Unfortunately, their reaction to the things they most fear is what precipitates those fears becoming reality. They are on the verge of creating a new cold war, or a hot one, one far less stable and more vicious and extreme than the anti-communism of the 50s and 60s. Iraq is starting to look alot like another Viet Nam.

When will they ever learn that you don't make friends and "help" people by killing their parents and children?

From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged

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