Edward Said

Rakesh Bhandari rakeshb at stanford.edu
Thu Sep 25 11:32:05 MDT 2003

What Edward Said wrote of the late Eqbal Ahmad to whom he had
dedicated his Culture of Imperialism applies in spirit no less to

No one more than Eqbal Ahmad captured and understood the human
suffering and distorted vision that produced the reckless violence of
people or movements who, in his memorable phrase, were radical but
wrong. Whether it was the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians,
or India and Pakistan, he was a force paradoxically for a just
struggle but also for just reconciliation. Everyone who knew him
turned to him for advice, wise council, encouragement. He never spoke
about his own problems, his failing health, or his frustrations. He
was that rare thing, an intellectual unintimidated by power or
authority, a sophisticated man who remained simply true to his ideals
and his insight till his last breath, a companion in arms to such
exemplary and diverse figures of our time as Noam Chomsky, Howard
Zinn, Tariq Ali, Ibrahim Abu Lughod, Richard Falk, Fred Jameson,
Alexander Cockburn, and Daniel Berrigan, all of whom admired him

Bantering, ironic, sporty, unpedantic, gracious, immaculate in dress
and expression, faultlessly kind, an unpretentious connoisseur of
food and wine, Eqbal's themes in the end were always liberation and
injustice, or how to achieve the first without reproducing more of
the second. He saw himself perceptively as a man of the eighteenth
century, modern because of enlightenment and breadth of outlook, not
because of technological or quasi-scientific "progress"...Humanity
and genuine secularism in this blood-drenched old century of ours had
no finer champion. His innumerable friends grieve inconsolably.

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