Monday, July 03, 2017

Who did the New York Times pick to write a review of a Palestinian novel? What is worse than Orientalism?

The New York Times picks this right-wing anti-Palestinian Lebanese (formerly a publisher of a soft-pornographic magazine intended for Gulf royal markets) to write about a Palestinian novel.  Look at the title: " A Palestinian Novel Unearths Dirty Secrets in the Arab World".  Can you imagine an article in the Times with a headline about the "dirty secrets of Jewish society" or of "Israeli society"? Can you imagine the uproar?  And no matter how stupid a person can be belonging to a "native" culture, racist and bigoted expressions are welcomed: "We are a people of dirty secrets hiding beneath a veil of fake morality. ".  Dirty secrets? Other societies don't have them? Western societies don't have "fake moralities"?  The land of "puritanical protistan morality" is the biggest producer of pornography in the world.  Look at this: "Indeed, being an Arab today means you need to master the art of denial."  Other societies don't have the art of denial. The West is based on truth and candor. Look at the dispicable language she uses about Palestinian society: "It did not shy away from exposing the ugliness, the desperateness, the corruption, the loss of purpose, the unavoidable wrong turns and the uncomfortable truths of life in Ramallah after the second intifada."  She then links the ugliness to the aftermath of the second intifada. She basically means that if the Palestinians were to surrender completely to Israeli occupation, they may enjoy beauty of occupation.  She is introduced in the West as a "writer" and "poet": I would give you my farm (I don't have one) if you can find an Arab at random who knows who she is (except those who watch her as a judge of Lebanese beautify pageants on sleazy Lebanese TV stations, like LBC TV.  It is rather amusing that the New York Times picks someone who has never had any connection to Palestinian literature or cause to write about Palestinian literature and cause.  But then again: this is the New York Times.  I would flatter Haddad if I accuse her of suffering the problems of classical Orientalism.  Classical Orientalism had the qualities of knowledge, scholarly diligence, erudition, intellectual curiosity, and philological mastery--qualities of which Ms. Haddad has none.  

PS A friend wrote about this: "The words Israel or occupation are not mentioned in the article. The inhabitants might as well be living on Mars (or in a zoo)."