The Politics of Dispossession: The Struggle for Palestinian Self- Determination, 1969-1994

Edward W. Said, Author Pantheon Books $27.5 (450p) ISBN 978-0-679-43057-5
In this forceful, challenging collection of 37 political essays from the past 25 years, Said, University Professor at Columbia, emphasizes that the Palestinians are a people with their own history, society and right to self-determination. He is highly critical of Yasir Arafat's dominance of the PLO, which he calls undemocratic, corrupt and incompetent. He also forthrightly condemns the political right wing that dominates virtually every Arab government, enforcing repression, censorship and ``intellectual thought control.'' A recurrent theme is the West's longstanding prejudice against the Arabs and Islam, manifested in media coverage of the Persian Gulf War, nonrecognition of Arab literature and racist stereotypes of Arabs. Highlights of this collection include a critique of U.S. policy in the Middle East, an analysis of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and a discussion of Palestinian identity with writer Salman Rushdie. Tracing his own direct involvement in the Palestinian national movement, Said deems the recent Israeli-PLO accord a sellout by Arafat, an instrument of Palestinian surrender that suspends most of the Palestinian people's rights and consigns diaspora Palestinians (those living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) to permanent exile or refugee status. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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