The Legacy of Edward Said: An Exchange between Rayyan Al-Shawaf and David Zarnett

Democratiya 12 featured an article serving as a double-review of Ibn Warraq’s Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism and Daniel Martin Varisco’s Reading Orientalism: Said and the Unsaid. The review was written by David Zarnett, whose unrelentingly positive treatment of Ibn Warraq’s book leaves much to be desired. Equally disturbing, however, is Zarnett’s use of the review as a springboard to hurl a litany of false accusations against Edward Said, and to engage in a weird and highly misinformed discussion of Zionism and the Palestinians – amongst other misadventures. As a result, before I address Ibn Warraq’s problematic book, I have found it necessary to tackle Zarnett’s misrepresentation of Edward Said’s position on a number of issues, as well as his misconceptions regarding important political events and personalities. In fact, this section (Part I) of my article is a good deal longer than that dealing with Ibn Warraq’s book, and is divided into several sub-sections. Part II deals with a few of the many deficiencies from which Ibn Warraq’s book suffers.

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