Khaled Beydoun in Newsweek:
Edward Said, who died 17 years ago today, has been called many things. A literary critic and an exile, an unyielding voice for Palestinian self-determination, an educator, a trailblazer, a “normalizer”—and even “a prophet of the political violence” unfolding in the United States today, seventeen years after he took his final breath.
During a lifetime that spanned nearly sixty-eight years and witnessed definitive geopolitical currents and shifts, Said stood apart as one of the world’s most incisive public intellectuals. A Palestinian by birth and an American by choice, Said took on this role in the early 1980’s following the publication of Orientalism, a text that dismantled European misrepresentations of Islam in its annals of literature.
This moment converged with the aftermath of the Iranian hostage crisis and ascendance of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which reoriented the whole of Islam as the “enemy of the West.” And in turn, propelled Said and his work onto the center of the public stage.