The Methodology of Power and Control:
The visions and the proposals presented by the Palestinian thinker Edward Said were the result of realistic readings of the human history; and a detailed scientific knowledge of the reasons and the results that helped influence the making of a very conscious reading of history movements. The depth and the originality in his readings combined with both the precision and boldness in dealing with cases of orientalism are all considered a very important source of human knowledge (socialistics). In addition, they were highlighting the western culture, which in-turn works on certain methodology of controlling others via a will that is dictated by the authorities. This deep understanding of the relationship of knowledge, strength, strategy, and tactics came as a product of Said’s cognitive parallel understanding of the Middle-eastern civilization, and not as what some say for it to be a historical determinism that controls its thinkers. The western world sees us via a certain visions and requirements that might be historical, religical, or even economical and builds its ideas around those visions and creates certain methodologies about the unchangeable east and also about the historical one; and here, Edward Said presented his book “Orientalism” in order to create new ways for analysis and conclusion for the historical logical reading of Islam history that was needed in an Imperialist perspective. Said was trying to overcome the gap of understanding the eastern culture and civilization by the western world; what Said did here was the opposite of what Samuel Huntington in his book “Clash of Civilizations” or what Francis Fukuyama did in his book “The end of history”; as they both are preparing, in their books, an inevitable conflict where the western world wins over the eastern “savageries.” Although this conflict is very logical, yet the way it was represented in Huntington and Fukuyama books is very “unreal” and contrary to the truth.
Said wanted to recall history and civilisation personally in order to stimulate the conscious for a human collaboration that achieve peace and connection and ends space between cultures. However the way history unfolds-in is far from what politicians and historians intended precisely. For example, the western world despite its none-satisfaction toward the eastern culture, did in fact admire both the prophet Mohammed, blessings and peace upon him, and his nephew Imam Ali bin Abi-Talep, not only that but also admired some national Arabic achievements.
“Orientalism” have given Islam its proper recognition:
Orientalism have responded to the culture that it was written-in more than to the culture of the topic it intended to be about, as Said says; whom he himself was a product of the western culture, as he was raised in the US. Said also talked about the history of Orientalism, he said that in the same time, both an internal consistency and external relationship on a very high levels of environmental cultural influences his book. Said also explained how did Orientalism borrowed certain strong ideas and golden beliefs from its environment, as “there was no pure eastern ideas without requirements” he means in the book.
Edward Said was able to present in his history book the way how orientalism worked and how it become a historical phenomenon forced European schools to prepare for. In the Christian west for example, it was dated that the Vienna Synod have started to accept orientalism officially in 1312; and in the middle of the nineteenth century, Orientalism have become an expandable scientific gold, especially after Napoleon’s Egyptian learning intuition.
Wrong interpretations of the book!
Said shares the western Christian world opinion about Islam; which found it as an internal danger for Europe as it was expanding in high rates. Than he start exposing it to orientalism in order to deliver peace with Islam.
Many Arabic and Islamic thinkers have understood Orientalism as a way to defend Islam in the home of the western world, which is something Edward Said disagrees on. He says that Orientalism was a way to get cultures together and overcome the gap between both the east and the west, not create more gap and represent Islam as a winner in the outstanding cultural game. He also says that whomever thought about Orientalism in that way basically misunderstood it and have insulted the book.
Was this book related to what you have studied in this course?
As an Arab Muslim, this book was not related what so ever to what I am studding in this course, as what we are studding here is basic information about Islam and its history the way Islam started, however what Said have presented in his book was much more detailed information of criticism and views and ideas of orientalists who studied Islam after it has spread globally.
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