Friday, April 29, 2016

Edward Said on Intellectuals Who Turn Away

Following on from my 27/4/16 post on John Haldane, it's worth recalling these words of the late, great Edward Said, as quoted by Omar Barghouti:

"Nothing in my mind is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position that you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political, you want to keep a reputation of being balanced, moderate, objective. Your hope is to remain within the responsible mainstream. For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence. Personally, I have encountered them in one of the toughest of all contemporary issues, Palestine, where fear of speaking out about one of the greatest injustices in modern history has hobbled, blinkered, muzzled many who know the truth and are in a position to serve it. For despite the abuse and vilification that any outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and self-determination earns for him or herself, the truth deserves to be spoken, represented by an unafraid and compassionate intellectual."

1 comment:

Grappler said...

This is particularly relevant to what's going on in the UK currently! Ken Livingstone and Naz Shah both labelled as antisemitic because the latter voiced criticism of the current Israeli regime (careful choice of words). The former because he said that Hitler, early in the 3rd Reich supported the Zionist cause of moving Jews from Europe to Palestine. The facts have ceased to matter - Orwell is finally vindicated.