Genet, therefore, is the traveler across identities, the tourist whose purpose is marriage with a foreign cause, so long as that cause is both revolutionary and in constant agitation.
American politics are deeply contradictory of course, but anti-intellectualism . . . is the common strain. This includes a deep suspicion of anything that isn't simple, fundamental, traditional, down-to-earth and "American" in the ideological sense, and can be exploited easily by demagogues and cynical politicians of the right. The key word is "freedom", which includes the freedom to own and use firearms, the freedom to trade and use the marketplace without restraint even if it means serious injury to health and decency, the freedom above all to make America's will rule all over the earth.
Remember the solidarity shown to Palestine here and everywhere... and remember also that there is a cause to which many people have committed themselves, difficulties and terrible obstacles notwithstanding. Why? Because it is a just cause, a noble ideal, a moral quest for equality and human rights.
Look at situations as contingent, not as inevitable, look at them as the result of a series of historical choices made by men and women, as facts of society made by human beings, and not as natural or god-given, therefore unchangeable, permanent, irreversible.
For the intellectual the task, I believe, is explicitly to universalize the crisis, to give greater human scope to what a particular race or nation suffered, to associate that experience with the suffering of others.
I urge everyone to join in and not leave the field of values, defintions, and cultures uncontested. They are certainly not the property of a few Washington offiicials, any more than they are the responsibility of a few Middle Eastern rulers. There is a common field of human undertaking being created and recreated, and no amount of imperial bluster can ever conceal or negate that fact.
We can regret what might have been... but we have no reason to be ungrateful for what there is.
There can be no peace in the Middle East until the injustices committed by the Israeli government against Palestinians cease. Rather than go to war against Iraq, the United States should examine its support of Israel and by extension that country's considerable human rights violations.
Over the past three decades he was the most eloquent spokesman for the plight of the Palestinians.
Hamid Dabashi, chairman of Columbia's Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures Department.
He was one of those rare people who was permanently aware of the fact that information is only the very first step toward understanding. And he always looked for the "beyond" in the idea, the "unseen" by the eye, the "unheard" by the ear.