The Corner


A letter to the editor from Ibn Warraq in the Wall Street Journal (my apologies for reprinting whole, but it can only be accessed from behind the fire wall):

Edward Said Insulted Courageous Authors

In an Oct. 7 Letter attacking my criticism of the late Edward Said (“Orientalism,” editorial page, Sept. 29), Hutham S. Olayan assures us that “Were he still with us, he [Said] would shred Ibn Warraq’s flimsy pronouncements in the full light of day.” However, my 17,000-word critique of Edward Said’s works has been accessible [here] for more than a year. Said never bothered to reply; perhaps his shredder was out of order. We are also told that Said tried “to enoble rather than belittle individuals and whole peoples.” On the contrary, Said stooped to name-calling and personal insults when he met anyone who dared criticize or disagree with him; he called the courageous Iraqi Kanan Makiya, author of “Cruelty and Silence,” a “native informer,” and Fouad Ajami, author of “The Arab Predicament,” a “Western stooge,” hardly enobling descriptions. Here is Said’s characterization of all Europeans: “It is therefore correct that every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was consequently a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric.” (“Orientalism,” p. 204). In other words, not only is every European a racist, but he must necessarily be so. “All Europeans,” as Damon Runyon would say, is a whole lot of people.

Finally, my pseudonym “Ibn Warraq” does not mean “son of paper” — it means “son of a stationer, book-seller, paper-seller.”

Ibn Warraq



The Latest