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September 04, 2002

MESA Culpa

Martin Kramer lambastes the Middle East Studies Association (MESA, not to be confused with MENSA) for two main reasons:

1) For honoring Edward Said on September 11. Mr Said is an apologist for Muslim violence.

2) For it members abdicating their responsibility to educate the West about the Middle East and instead serving as advocates of the Middle East (not including Israel)

Link from Little Green Footballs. Yes that is the site's real name, go and check. But back to the article:

Here's a novel way to mark one year since the tragedy of September 11, 2001: honor Edward Said.

This is the choice of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA), and its companion associations in Europe. On the evening of September 11, the First World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) will confer upon Said the "WOCMES Award for Outstanding Contributions to Middle Eastern Studies."[1] Said will go to Mainz, Germany, to accept it. The congress is an initiative of MESA (where Said is already one of ten "honorary fellows," for having "made major contributions to Middle East studies"). Could there be any more telling evidence for the total alienation of this field from the changing realities of the world around it?

Said is the Columbia University celebrity professor who has made a career of accusing all and sundry of misrepresenting Islam. In the process, he has committed not a few acts of misrepresentation himself. For example, in introducing the latest (pre-9/11) edition of his book Covering Islam, Said ridiculed "speculations about the latest conspiracy to blow up buildings, sabotage commercial airliners and poison water supplies." Such talk is based on "highly exaggerated stereotypes."