Edward Said: A Tribute

The world today continues to mourn the loss of Edward Said, who passed away Thursday Sept. 25th, after a 12-year battle with leukemia.

For many, the name is unfamiliar, but for sad legions of others, the loss is ever so great.

Edward Said was a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, but his realm of intellect and knowledge extended from music, to literature to philosophy to media and political activism among others. His books, speeches and writings broke new ground in enlightening the masses in these fields, and bridging the gaps and misunderstandings between the West and East, or "Orient" as he aptly called it. His works touched the lives of his students, both those who met him, and the many more who never did.

As a Palestinian in exile, he was the most eloquent spokesperson on the Palestinian cause, for a period spanning three decades. Shattering the myths and distortions propagated by the media became commonplace for the professor. His rebellion against injustice and compassion with the everyday man, despite his own privileged upbringing, acquired him his critics. Yet he was one never to falter, as he stated "I have been moved to defend the refugees’ plight precisely because I did not suffer and therefore feel obligated to relieve the sufferings of my people. "

He believed in fulfilling a just and lasting peace in historic Palestine, celebrating this vision in recent years by a magnificent musical collaboration with Israeli composer Daniel Barenboim, who stated on his passing "I have lost a soul mate".

The world indeed has lost one of its’ towering intellectuals, a great human rights activist, and an exceedingly compassionate humane being. For the Palestinians, the loss is that much more difficult, as he was a glimmering ray of hope for a better future and a better life. A candle shining ever so brilliantly, when all else would fall dark. Yet we will carry on, where you left off. Thank you for giving ever so selflessly, for everything you taught. May your soul rest in peace professor, and God bless.