On the eve of World War II, British Prime Minister Chamberlain spoke of Czechoslovakia as a ‘far away country of which we know very little.’ When Edward Said began his life’s work, to put Palestinian nationalism back on the agenda of history, and to fight for Palestinian freedom, the world had tried to treat Palestine as a ‘far away people of which we know very little,’ and wanted to know even less. Israeli propaganda had drugged the world community into complacency and contempt for the Palestinian people.
Said succeeded beyond his wildest dreams; he did not live to see the land of milk and honey, the creation of an independent Palestinian nation, but I am confident his dream will come to fruition.
Said was a scholar and an intellect and, apart from throwing a few stones in a controversial incident, he threw words at the hegemony of Israeli propaganda machine in the United States. But what powerful words they were. Said would not be dominated and would not be silenced. Today Palestine is a nation of which we know a great deal.
Today the civilized world is committed to undoing the wrong perpetrated on the Palestinian people by the United Nations in 1948. Sadly, America stands alone as a protector of a regime which is bent on becoming as barbaric as Nazi Germany. Said never remained silent, and neither can we.
We can renew out dedication to the cause of a free Jerusalem, and a free Palestine. Living in peace and harmony. With those peace-loving of Israel who respect human rights and the dignity of every human being, without regard to religion or culture.
Said left us a great inheritance of courage, consistency and commitment to the Palestinian people and peace in the Middle East. We cannot, and I pray will, not squander his legacy.
In a few days, October 10th, I will be returning to Jerusalem. I hope that Said will be there in spirit, looking down and blessing my tiny efforts and the greater efforts of many more brave persons, who work tirelessly for the Palestinian people and for peace in the Middle East."