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Friday, September 26, 2008

Edward Said and Mahmoud Darwish- Mona Anis

It is five years today -- Thursday 25 September -- since the death of the Palestinian public intellectual and political activist Edward Said, "the most brilliantly eloquent emissary of Palestine to the outside world" in the words of an equally eloquent and brilliant fellow compatriot -- Mahmoud Darwish.

The anniversary of Edward Said's death will be commemorated next Tuesday at Columbia University in New York, the city and university where Said lived and taught for the last 40 years of his 68-year-life. Conspicuously absent from the event will be Mahmoud Darwish, who had been invited by Columbia University to give the keynote address. Sadly, his sudden death last month -- at about the same age at which Said died -- prevents him from addressing next Tuesday's gathering in New York.

Darwish, who died on 9 August following open-heart surgery in Houston, was very keen on keeping this appointment, so much so that he had even contemplated postponing surgery until the end of September and after he had delivered the Edward Said Memorial Lecture in New York. "I am going to see what the doctors say in Houston, but I will try to postpone a decision until after my visit to New York in September," he told me over the phone at the beginning of July.


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