Archive | July, 2021

The Turkish Coup Attempt: Five Years Later

16 Jul

[A Modified Text of my Responses to Interview Questions of Murat Sofuoglu, a
Turkish Journalist associated with TRT World, “On the July 15th Coup Attempt Five Years Later” (July 8, 2021)]

Five years ago my Turkish wife and I were strolling in the Karakoy neighborhood of Istanbul amid the crowded cafes on a typical summer night. It was our only day in Istanbul during the entire summer, occasioned by a conference at Koç University scheduled for the next day devoted to refugee policy with special attention to problems of massive human displacement caused by the regional conflicts, particularly Syria and Iraq. We stopped for dinner at a Greek restaurant, encountering unexpectedly Turkish friends who asked to join us. As the meal neared its end, the manager came to our table, speaking in almost a whisper he said that the Bosphorus Bridge, subsequently renamed 15th of July Martyr’s Bridge, was occupied by troops and the scene of violence, and that it seemed a coup was underway. It was a bit eerie as the atmosphere in the restaurant was vibrant and utterly without any sense that a national crisis was in the process of erupting. We paid our bill, and walked slowly back to a nearby hotel where we were staying for the night. Soon jets were flying low over this part of the city fast enough to cause the terrifying explosive sound of sonic booms, obviously with the intention of causing panic on the ground. We cautiously looked out of our hotel window to see police cars blocking the street below. For the rest of the night we were glued to the TV coverage of the rapidly unfolding events climaxed by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s dramatic appearance at the Istanbul Airport, greeted by a supportive crowd that walked the streets to greet the President and reaffirm their loyalty to the elected legitimate government. This reassurance by the people of Turkey and all of the political parties that made clear their rejection of the coup attempt contrasted with the silence of NATO governments, the longtime allies of the Ankara government. An impression was created among close observers of the political scene that leading Western governments would have greeted a successful coup with open arms. This impression was undoubtedly shared by leadership circles in Turkey, and has had profound effects on Turkish foreign policy, and particularly with the United States. These effects were initially associated with the Obama and Trump presidencies, but have continued in the early months of the Biden presidency.

1. How has the July 15 coup attempt affected Turkey’s foreign policy?

I believe the principal impact of the failed coup five years ago on Turkish foreign policy has been to cast lingering doubts on the loyalty of Turkey’s NATO partners. There was not only a display on the fateful night of July 15th of ‘wait and see’ attitudes in the principal capitals of Western Europe and of Washington as the coup unfolded, but there was no show of support for the legitimate elected government of Turkey from its longtime, and supposedly closest, allies. This Western diplomacy sent a message to Ankara that for the sake of its future security the government would be well advised to proceed rapidly to diversify its relations with other countries, and in particular, seek to deepen friendly relations with important other countries, including Russia and China.

These impressions were reinforced by the refusal by Washington to give serious consideration to the extradition request of the Turkish Government after the coup to enable the criminal prosecution of Fetullah Gulen, the presumed leader of FETO, the presumed forces behind the coup. Furthermore, in the period after the coup the various anti-Turkish international actors that were situated in various countries, including FETO, Kurdish groups aligned with the PKK, hard-core Kemalists living in the West, and Israel mounted an anti-Turkish international campaign alleging that Turkey was an unreliable ally, and was guilty of undermining Western policy with regard to Iran and the Kurdish presence in the Syrian civil strife.

A final factor for some was a clear indications that the coup attempt had been given a green light to proceed by Washington even if it not receive active, material support. There were several independent reports of CIA involvement and collaboration with FETO, and although never definitively confirmed, it naturally contributed to Turkish attitudes of wariness and some distrust with respect to ongoing relations with the United States, which had already been strained by a vigorous anti-Turkish international campaign.

2. Did the coup attempt make negative effects on US-Turkey relations? If so, how?

My response to the prior question supplies part of the answer. Turkey acted in a manner that stressed its political independence, especially on matters of national security and in relation to regional issues. It made no secret of its support for the Palestinian struggle for basic rights including the right of self-determination and its consistent opposition to Israeli longtime policies and practices. As well, Turkey purchased a defensive missile system—S-400—from Russia, which angered Washington, and was treated as a threat to NATO coherence and a breach of an unwritten NATO code of conduct. .

To an extent difficult to measure the coup attempt intensified preexisting trends in both Ankara and Washington. It has led to a downward trajectory in relations between the two countries. Ever since the AKP was elected to govern in 2002, its leadership made clear that Turkey was no longer a passive ally within the NATO framework as it had been throughout the Cold War. Already in 2003. the Turkish Parliament turned down the U.S. request to invade Iraq from Turkish territory, and in 2010 Turkey, together with Brazil, made efforts to negotiate an agreement on Iran’s Nuclear Program, which although earlier encouraged by the U.S., created tensions with the U.S. when Iran turned out to be receptive to such an initiative with its promise of reduced regional tensions. The coup attempt in 2016 hardened Turkish perceptions that hostile forces were receiving help from governments supposedly friendly with Turkey. In the background was a steady drum-beat of anti-Turkish propaganda on right-wing Western websites such as the Gatestone Institute and Middle East Watch, which are geopolitical propagandists for post-colonial U.S. imperialism, which include unabashed support for Israeli expansionism and denigration of legitimate Palestinian aspirations for an end to apartheid and the attainment of self-determination in their own country.

3. Will the coup attempt’s effects on the Turkish foreign policy have a lasting legacy?

This is hard to predict. It depends, in part, on whether Turkish/Israel relations remain strained, and possible leadership shifts in both countries. If normal diplomatic relations with Israel are restored, a process now mutually pursued, then I would suspect that leading Western governments will not back away from their anti-Turkish policies without offering an explanation. The American president Biden, together with the UK, France, and Germany, seem eager to focus their foreign policy in relation to meeting the multiple challenges posed by China’s rise, and secondarily by Russian territorial ambitions on its borders, and want as few secondary distractions in other regions as possible.

At the same time Turkey is likely for the foreseeable future to continue to hedge its policies, as well as seize its opportunities, by further developing a wide range of positive contacts within the Middle East and beyond, and this seems prudent even if Washington/Tel Aviv back off. Because Turkey is polarized in relation to the governing AKP, which has now held the reins of power since 2002, the originality of the Turkish reality is rarely comprehended as perceptions oscillate between embittered critics of the government and its leadership and its base of ardent supporters.

Links for Signatures for Apartheid Declaration & Petition

9 Jul

Scholars and artists can continue to sign using this form

Activists can endorse by signing this petition

The Declaration is available here


7 Jul

[PREFATORY NOTE: The Declaration on Apartheid below is an initiative initiated by the wellknown
Tunisian mathematician, Ahmed Abbes, and endorsed by scholars and artists worldwide. If impressed
please distribute widely as there is a campaign underway to reach 1,000 signatures.]

Declaration on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid in Historic Palestine
6 juillet |

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Over 700 scholars, artists and intellectuals from more than 45 countries have signed the following declaration calling for the dismantling of the apartheid regime set up on the territory of historic Palestine and the establishment of a democratic constitutional arrangement that grants all its inhabitants equal rights and duties. The signatories include many distinguished figures, including the Nobel Peace Prize laureates Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Mairead Maguire, academics with legal expertise Monique Chemillier-Gendreau and Richard Falk, scholars Étienne Balibar, Hagit Borer, Ivar Ekeland, Suad Joseph, Jacques Rancière, Roshdi Rashed and Gayatri Spivak, health researcher Sir Iain Chalmers, composer Brian Eno, musician Roger Waters, author Ahdaf Soueif, economist and former Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Sir Richard Jolly, South African politician and veteran anti-apartheid leader Ronnie Kasrils and Canadian peace activist and former national leader of the Green Party of Canada Joan Russow.

Declaration on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid in Historic Palestine
Whereas :

1- Israel has subjected the Palestinian people for 73 years to an ongoing catastrophe, known as the Nakba, a process that included massive displacement, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and crimes against humanity ;

2- Israel has established an apartheid regime on the entire territory of historic Palestine and directed toward the whole of the deliberately fragmented Palestinian people ; Israel itself no longer seeks to hide its apartheid character, claiming Jewish supremacy and exclusive Jewish rights of self-determination in all of historic Palestine through the adoption in 2018 by the Knesset of a new Basic Law ;

3-The apartheid character of Israel has been confirmed and exhaustively documented by widely respected human rights organizations, Adalah, B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch, and in the UN ESCWA academic study that stresses the importance of defining Israeli apartheid as extending to people rather than limited to space, [“Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid,” UN ESCWA, 2017] ;

4- Israel periodically unleashes massive violence with devastating impacts on Palestinian civilian society, particularly against the population of Gaza, which endures widespread devastation, collective trauma, and many deaths and casualties, aggravated by being kept under an inhuman and unlawful blockade for over 14 years, and throughout the humanitarian emergency brought about by the COVID pandemic ;

5- Western powers have facilitated and even subsidized for more than seven decades this Israeli system of colonization, ethnic cleansing, and apartheid, and continue to do so diplomatically, economically, and even militarily.

Considering :

i- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates in its first article that ’all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.’ And taking account that the inalienable right of self-determination is common Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Political Rights, and as such, a legal and ethical entitlement of all peoples.

ii- The International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid which stipulates in Article I that ’apartheid is a crime against humanity and that inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of apartheid and similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination, as defined in article II of the Convention, are crimes violating the principles of international law, in particular the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and constituting a serious threat to international peace and security.’ The States Parties to this Convention undertake in accordance with Article IV :
_ “(a) To adopt any legislative or other measures necessary to suppress as well as to prevent any encouragement of the crime of apartheid and similar segregationist policies or their manifestations and to punish persons guilty of that crime ;
_ “(b) To adopt legislative, judicial and administrative measures to prosecute, bring to trial and punish in accordance with their jurisdiction persons responsible for, or accused of, the acts defined in article II of the present Convention, whether or not such persons reside in the territory of the State in which the acts are committed or are nationals of that State or of some other State or are stateless persons.”

The endorsers of this document :

A- Declare their categorical rejection of the apartheid regime set up on the territory of historic Palestine and imposed on the Palestinian people as a whole, including refugees and exiles wherever they might be in the world.

B- Call for the immediate dismantling of this apartheid regime and the establishment of a democratic constitutional arrangement that grants and implements on all the inhabitants of this land equal rights and duties, regardless of their racial, ethnic, and religious identities, or gender preferences, and which respects and enforces international law and human conventions, and in particular gives priority to the long deferred right of return of Palestinian refugees expelled from their towns and villages during the creation of the State of Israel, and subsequently.

C- Urge their governments to cease immediately their complicity with Israel’s apartheid regime, to join in the effort to call for the dismantling of apartheid structures and their replacement by an egalitarian democratic governance that treats everyone subject to its authority in accordance with their rights and with full respect for their humanity, and to make this transition in a manner sensitive to the right of self-determination enjoyed by both peoples presently inhabiting historic Palestine.

D- Call for the establishment of a National Commission of Peace, Reconciliation, and Accountability to accompany the transition from apartheid Israel to a governing process sensitive to human rights and democratic principles and practices. In the interim, until such a process is underway, issue a call for the International Criminal Court to launch a formal investigation of Israeli political leaders and security personnel guilty of perpetuating the crime of apartheid.

* Academics, artists and intellectuals can endorse this declaration by completing this form.

* Endorsed by 723 academics, artists and intellectuals on July 8, 2021 (click here for the full list), including

Ahmed Abbes, mathematician, Director of research in Paris, France
Sinan Antoon, New York University, United States
John Avery, Writer, Denmark
Bertrand Badie, Sciences Po Paris, France
Étienne Balibar, Anniversary Chair of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University London, United Kingdom
Anthony Barnett, Writer, United Kingdom
Edmond Baudoin, Auteur de bandes dessinées, France
George Bisharat, UC Hastings College of the Law/Professor, musician, United States
Nicolas Boeglin, Professor of Public International Law, University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica
Hagit Borer, Professor, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend, Council of Elders of the ICCA Consortium, Switzerland
Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley, United States
Anouar Brahem, Musician, Composer, Tunisia
Rony Brauman, Physician, writer, former president of Médecins Sans Frontières, France
Iain Chalmers, Editor, James Lind Library, United Kingdom
Hafidha Chekir, Emeritus Professor of Public Law, Al Manar University, Tunis ; Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights, Tunisia
Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, Professeure émérite de droit public et de sciences politiques, Université Paris-Diderot, France
David Comedi, National University of Tucumán and National Research Council, Argentina
Laurent Cugny, Professeur, Sorbonne Université, France
Eric David, Emeritus Professor of International Law at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
Chandler Davis, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, University of Toronto, Canada
Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Professeure émérite à l’Université de Paris, France
Herman De Ley, Emeritus Professor, Ghent University, Belgium
Ivar Ekeland, Professor emeritus of mathematics and former President, University of Paris-Dauphine, France
Brian Eno, Artist/Composer, United Kingdom
Adolfo Esquivel, Premio Nobel de la Paz 1980 (Nobel Peace Prize 1980), Argentina
Richard Falk, Professor of International Law, Emeritus, Princeton University, United States
Emmanuel Farjoun, Emeritus Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Jan Fermon, Avocat. Secrétaire général Association Internationale des Juristes Démocrates, Belgium
Domenico Gallo, Chamber President in Supreme Court of Cassazione, Italy
Irene Gendzier, Prof Emeritus in the Dept Political Science, Boston University, United States
Catherine Goldstein, Director of Research, Paris, France
Neve Gordon, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
Penny Green, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom
Sondra Hale, Professor Emerita, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
Michael Harris, Professor of Mathematics, Columbia University, United States
Judith Herrin, King’s College London, United Kingdom
Christiane Hessel-Chabry, Présidente d’honneur de l’association EJE (Gaza), France
Shir Hever, Political Economist, Germany
Nicholas Humphrey, Emeritus Professor, London School of Economics, United Kingdom
Abdeen Jabara, Attorney, past president, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, United States
Richard Jolly, Emeritus Fellow, IDS, University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Suad Joseph, Distinguished Research Professor, University of California, Davis, United States
Mary Kaldor, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom
Ronnie Kasrils, Former government minister, South Africa
Assaf Kfoury, Computer Science Department, Boston University, United States
Rima Khalaf, Former Executive Secretary of UN ESCWA, Jordan
Daniel Kupferstein, Film director, France
Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond, Emeritus professor, University of Nice, France
David Lloyd, University of California Riverside, United States
Brinton Lykes, Professor & Co-Director, Boston College Center for Human Rights & International Justice, United States
Moshé Machover, Mathematician, KCL, United Kingdom
Kate Macintosh, Architect, United Kingdom
Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace laureate, Ireland
Dick Marty, Dr. Jur. Dr. H.c., former Chair of the Committee of Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Switzerland
Georg Meggle, Philosopher, Prof. em. at University of Leipzig, Germany
Jan Oberg, DrHc, peace and future researcher, Transnational Foundation, Sweden
Joseph Oesterlé, Emeritus professor, Sorbonne University, France
Adi Ophir, Professor Emeritus, Tel Aviv University ; Visiting Professor, The Cogut Institute for the Humanities and the center for Middle East Studies, Brown Universities, United States
Karine Parrot, Professeure de droit à l’Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France
Ghislain Poissonnier, Magistrate, France
Susan Power, Head of Legal Research and Advocacy, Al-Haq, Palestine
Prabir Purkayastha, Editor,, India
Jacques Rancière, Professeur émérite, Université Paris 8, France
Roshdi Rashed, CNRS/Université de Paris, France
Steven Rose, Emeritus Professor of Biology and Neurobiology at the Open University and Gresham College, London, United Kingdom
Hilary Rose, Professor Emerita Sociology University of Bradfor, United Kingdom
Jonathan Rosenhead, Emeritus Professor of Operational Research at the London School of Economics, United Kingdom
Andrew Ross, Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University, United States
Alice Rothchild, MD, retired, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School, United States
Joan Russow, Researcher, Global Compliance Research Project, Canada
Richard Seaford, Emeritus Professor, University of Exeter, United Kingdom
Leila Shahid, Former Ambassador of Palestine, Palestine
Eyal Sivan, Filmmaker – Essayist, France
John Smith, Filmmaker, Emeritus Professor of Fine Art, University of East London, United Kingdom
Nirit Sommerfeld, Singer, actress, writer, Germany
Ahdaf Soueif, Writer, Egypt
Gayatri Spivak, Columbia University, United States
Jonathan Steele, Author and journalist, United Kingdom
Annick Suzor-Weiner, Professor emeritus, Université Paris-Saclay, France
Salim Tamari, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Birzeit University, Palestine
Virginia Tilley, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, United States
Salim Vally, Professor, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Roger Waters, Musician, United Kingdom
Robert Wintemute, Professor of Human Rights Law, King’s College London, United Kingdom
John Womack jr, Harvard University, United States
* Institutional affiliations are given only for identification purposes

* The full list of signatories is available here.

* Academics, artists and intellectuals can endorse this declaration by completing this form.

* Version française ; versión en español ; versione italiana ; النسخة العربية

Plus de 600 universitaires et artistes appellent au démantèlement du régime d’apartheid en Palestine historique
Signataires de la Déclaration sur l’élimination et la répression du crime d’apartheid en Palestine historique
Qui était Edward Said ? Une interprétation biographique, un souvenir existentiel
Communication Palestine contre Israel : étape relative à l’admissibilité franchie
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Who Was Edward Said? Biographically Interpreted and Existentially Recollected

3 Jul

[Prefatory Note: This post is an edited text of Remarks on 30 June 2021 at the opening on the Book Launch of Timothy Brennan’s PLACES OF MIND: A LIFE OF EDWARD SAID (2021), an event under the auspices of the Cambridge Centre of Palestinian Studies, moderated by its director, Dr. Makram Khoury-Machool. Also participating in the discussion of Professor Brennan’s book Prof. As’ad Abu Khali and Dr. Kamal Khalef Al-Tawll.]

Who Was Edward Said? Biographically Interpreted and Existentially Recollected

I am honored to take part in this event celebrating the publication of Timothy Brennan’s extraordinary biography of Edward Said. This gathering also provides an occasion for considering once more Edward’s powerful legacy as a creative and progressive icon, someone with a global reach, possessed of as passionate and challenging an ethical, cultural, and political conscience as I have ever had the good fortune to experience. I understand from Makram that my role tonight is to set the stage for the featured performer, somewhat similar to the warmup given to the audience at a rock concert by an obscure local pop group before the acclaimed international star makes his or her dramatic appearance. As I mentioned to Makram, I have two qualifications to be a speaker tonight: I once played tennis with Edward on Cambridge’s exquisite grass courts several decades ago, and more to the point, we were both often embattled due to supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people for a just and sustainable peace.

Edward more than anyone else on the American scene exemplified what we understand to be a ‘public intellectual’ in the late 20th and early 21st century, that is after this presence had been epitomized by the life of Jean-Paul Sartre. Such a role presupposes a degree of democratic governance within sovereign space that tolerates, even if only barely and reluctantly, ideas and critiques that challenge the most fundamental behavioral tropes of the state, captured in spirit by the slogan ‘talking truth to power,’ which is somewhat less activist than Mario Savio’s slogan that embodied the spirit of the 1960s: ‘put your body up against the machine.’

One of the many achievements of Brennan’s book is to grapple with the complexity and contradictory character of Said, who as a friend and colleague was at once engaging, paradoxical, theatrical, seductive, critical, provocative, who could be on occasion defensive and even enraged. Such qualities were distinctively expressed by this most gifted individual possessed of a dazzling intelligence, a sparkling sense of humor, and of course, stunning erudition. Edward was continually reenergized by his curiosity about all aspect of life and about the world. More than the few notable academics of my acquaintance with whom he might be compared, in my reckoning Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, and on the right, Samuel Huntington, Said alone was both a hero to constituencies of outsiders and a welcome guest among most insiders, and with his paradoxical style on display he was often a commanding presence in both atmospheres. Perhaps, the secret of his personal magnetism and intellectual preeminence was that he was simultaneously a profound thinker and a consummate performer, a combination rarely found to inhabit the same person.

Such was his charm and the imaginative excellence of his academic contributions that Edward was almost even forgiven in Western elite circles for vigorously challenging the Zionist Project and denouncing Israel’s policies and practices. Brennan points out that Said after he declared himself an activist on behalf of Palestinian liberation was on multiple occasions offered jobs at Harvard and elsewhere that would have made his life easier, yet although tempted, he never abandoned the edgy Manhattan atmosphere that he explored as an adolescent, possibly because he wanted to guard against succumbing to the alluring comforts and urbane satisfactions of the more serene academic life style that the Harvard/Cambridge scene offered. In his pre-activist days, he had partaken of such serenity while a graduate student and earlier as an undergraduate at Princeton where he became a participant in the elitest eating club social life. Perhaps, nothing is more vividly revealing of Edward’s love/hate relationship to the establishment in the U.S. than his disgust with the way Middle East Studies were done at Princeton, undoubtedly prefiguring his most famous and influential rebuff to the disguised style of ‘othering’ Arabs and others by way of his book and work on Orientalism. Despite this, Edward took a bemused delight that his two beloved children followed in his footsteps and received their first university degrees at Princeton. Even after their graduation Edward annually came and taught my seminar in international relations once a year, a high point for the students, and for me a lesson in humility tinged with admiration and affection.

As Timothy Brennan is such a warrior of ideas, himself working in the Said tradition of comparative cultural studies, I am not so foolish as to venture comments in this venue on Said’s seminal work in literary and cultural studies, including music. My relations with Edward were during the last 25 years of his life, but it was for me an enriching friendship that centered on several personal connections and of course our shared commitment to and understanding of the Palestinian struggle, and the multiple obstacles that beset it.

I met Edward through his greatest political friend, somewhat of a guru for Edward of Thirdworldism, Eqbal Ahmad. Like Edward, Eqbal was a larger-than-life character who left an indelible impression on many he encountered, partly a result of his stage brilliance as a charismatic speaker before large audiences and partly as a legendary professor at Hampshire College. Eqbal brought to Edward a vivid form of Third World authenticity as well as exceptional warmth and loyalty as a stalwart friend. Beyond this they proudly shared a theatrical and romantic sense of life as performance, excelling in its execution, which characteristically exhibited disciplined passion backed by humane and humanistic worldviews, illuminating humor, and a deep knowledge of their subject-matter.

Yet both men were involuntary refugees of the spirit who never lost altogether their existential sadness, having been deprived of their homelands of childhood by alien forces. Despite their quite different success stories in America they long forgot these deep feelings of political and autobiographical nostalgia. Both men achieved much in their lives, yet died before fulfilling their respective redemptive dreams. Eqbal’s consuming wish of his latter years was to establish a quality university in Pakistan while Edward’s was to experience directly a liberated Palestine.

It was one of the great joys of my life to have been their friend and comrade over many years, somewhat sharing their strivings for societal, political, and personal fulfillment where justice and love flourish and coexist. And always learning from their example of devotion and steadfastness so meaningly fused with their dedication to justice and their appreciation of the precious quality of lives well lived.

Brennan’s book made me feel, despite my great differences of religion, temperament, background, and talent from Edward, that my life was yet in illuminating respects a pale replica of Edward’s illustrious life story, especially with respect to the choices we made in relation to Palestine, choices that crossed several red lines of political propriety.

I hope it is not overly self-indulgent for me to explicate nervously this comparison in the course of bringing these remarks to a close. We both were products of privileged socio-economic backgrounds, both shaped to a significant degree by the vivacities of NYC’s cultural milieu, specifically that of Manhattan, both educated in preparatory schools. We both attended Ivy League universities, and later earned doctorates at Harvard, and we both remained throughout long professional careers within the faculty confines of the Ivy League. We were multiply linked to Princeton University, and happened to write our most enduring books while visiting The Stanford Center for Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences, and finally, and perhaps most relevantly, we both endured defamation and threats because of our outspoken engagement with pro-Palestinian activism.

There were also some manifest differences, none starker than Edward as an ambivalent upper class Christian and me as a nominal middle class Jew, yet surprisingly not very relevant. Of course, Edward’s birth and experience of consciousness in Jerusalem and his Palestinian identity created for him a more natural vector for his political activism.

Brennan brilliantly shows how Said’s oppositional sensibility pervaded all that he did, including eventually including even his relationship to the Palestinian political establishment in Ramallah. My somewhat similar oppositional sensibility remains somewhat more mysterious, but like Edward involves the frustrations and satisfactions of a resolve to swim against the current.

And finally, I think as the years go by Edward Said’s life becomes more and more fused with his texts to form a seamless whole, and no one has done more to bring this confluence to our sense of Edward and his work than Timothy Brennan, whose presentation I now look forward to experiencing in this oral form different from the valuable experience of reading his book.