Edward Said is Our Conscience and Ambassador to the Human Consciousness

Mahmoud Darwish

I cannot bid farewell to Edward Said because of his overwhelming presence in us and in the world. He is still very much alive in us. Our conscience and ambassador to the human consciousness succumbed yesterday in his long, futile struggle with death. But he never succumbed to, nor stopped resisting the new world order, in his defense of justice and of the humanist tradition, that is common among cultures and civilizations. He was a hero in cheating death during the past 12 years by renewing his fertile creative life through writing, playing music and documenting the human will. He carried on his dynamic search for the meaning and the essence and the position of the intellectual in his hard place. If a Palestinian is asked what he is proud of before the world, he would've answered immediately, Edward Said. Palestinian cultural history has not produced another genius matching Edward Said's uniqueness and multi-talents. From now until further notice he will have the leading role in transmitting his original country's name from the common political level to the world's cultural consciousness. ...Because of his loyalty to his values of justice, which are oppressed in Palestine, and through his defense of its citizens'rights and freedoms, he had become one of the symbolic fathers of the new Palestine. His vision of the ongoing struggle in Palestine was a cultural and moral one that considered it as a nationalist and humanist duty.

Edward was a whole that could not be separated. In him, man, critic, intellectual, musician and politician became unified, without having any of these activities diminish the others. Said's personality, marked by a charisma, supported by high dominance, had transformed into a unique phenomenon. Rarely the intellectual and the star come together as one as they did in Edward Said – the handsome, articulate, profound, combative and flexible man who was obsessed with the beauties of life and language. In his farewell, which is difficult to forget, the world meets with Palestine at a rare moment, where we do not know who the families of the dead are because his family is the world and our loss is common and our tears are one. Edward, through his dynamic consciousness and his cultural encyclopedia of knowledge put Palestine at the heart of the world and placed the world at the heart of Palestine.

The Arabic version of this statement appeared in Al Hayat.

This article appears in Al Jadid, Vol. 9, No. 44

Translated from the Arabic by Elie Chalala

Translation Copyright © 2003 by Al Jadid

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