Edward Said: The Orientalist Express: Thomas Friedman Wraps Up the Middle East

I haven’t posted anything in a while. Sorry. Managing my job and finishing the PhD has pretty much eaten all of my time recently, but I’m hopeful that in a couple of weeks at least one of those things will have gone away and I’ve got a few ideas of what I want to get stuck into then.

Anyway, I just started reading ‘The Imperial Messenger‘ by Belén Fernández – a polemical assault on (that Captain of the good ship USS Cliché and Cheif Quarterback of the team mixed metaphors) Tom Friedman. Thus far its been a great read – punchy but also meticulous in its exposition of Friedman’s epic twaddlings. I know Friedman’s work divides opinions and I’ve found that often my distaste for him has upset some friends. So I’ll make sure I write a fuller review of the book when I’ve finished it.

But, in the meantime I’ve posted below a review of one of Friedman’s earlier works ‘From Beirut to Jerusalem: One Man’s Middle Eastern Odyssey’ (which is quoted by Fernández) – a book that is often seen as representing the ‘best’ of Tom Friedman – the review is by Edward Said and was published in Village Voice in 1989. 

Edward Said: The Orientalist Express: Thomas Friedman Wraps Up the Middle East

On the face of it, From Beirut to Jerusalem is a reporter’s journal of a decade in the Middle East spent first as UPI correspondent for a couple of years, then as New York Times bureau chief in two major centers. Between 1979 and 1984 Friedman was stationed in Beirut where he covered the civil war, the Israeli invasion of 1982, and the country’s tragic dissolution thereafter. He then moved to Jerusalem (traveling rather ostentatiously across the Lebanese-Israeli border with his golf clubs), where he wrote about the Israeli political scene, with particular attention to the intifadah. He remained in Israel until mid-1988. He then returned home to become the Times man in Washington. For his Middle Eastern coverage Friedman won two Pulitzer prizes, both of them, interestingly enough, about major Palestinian events: the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres, and the uprising or intifadah that began in late 1987 and continues to the present.

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Review: Farming Freedom for Palestine

Farmland, near the embattled village of Yanoun

Review: Farming Freedom for Palestine  

I strongly recommend reading the latest research paper “Farming Palestine for Freedom ” from al Shabaka, by Alaa Adel Tartir, Rami Zurayk and Samer Abdelnour, which deals with the issue of land in the context of occupied Palestine. This paper brings to light a topic has been, thus far, under-researched but is obviously fundamental to the conflict.

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