Orientalism, Colonialism and Metamorphosis of the Orient: From Light to Darkness

  January 05, 2021   Read time 2 min
Orientalism, Colonialism and Metamorphosis of the Orient: From Light to Darkness
Orientalists have often approached the eastern countries as enlighteners who seek to cast light on dark sides of the world. This mentality has its origin in a notion of humanity that is built upon the idea of the Supremacy of the West while East has its own particular identity. Edward Saeed tells us what the Orientalists wants of their studies.

This is a statement of Edward Saeed in his masterpiece of what he expects of a true study of the eastern countries to be. "I should say again that I have no "real" Orient to argue for. I do, however, have a very high regard for the powers and gifts of the peoples of that region to struggle on for their vision of what they are and want to be. There has been so massive and calculatedly aggressive an attack on the contemporary societies of the Arab and Muslim for their backwardness, lack of democracy, and abrogation of women's rights that we simply forget that such notions as modernity, enlightenment and democracy are by no means simple and agreed-upon concepts that one either does or does not find, like Easter eggs in the living-room. The breathtaking insouciance of jejune publicists who speak in the name of foreign policy and who have no live notion (or any knowledge at all) of the language of what real people actually speak has fabricated an arid landscape ready for American power to construct there an ersatz model of free market "democracy," without even a trace of doubt that such projects don't exist outside of Swift's Academy of Lagado. What I do argue also is that there is a difference between know-ledge of other peoples and other times that is the result of understand-ing, compassion, careful study and analysis for their own sakes, and on the other hand knowledge—if that is what it is—that is part of an overall campaign of self-affirmation, belligerency and outright war. There is, after all, a profound difference between the will to understand for purposes of coexistence and humanistic enlargement of horizons, and the will to dominate for the purposes of control and external dominion. It is surely one of the intellectual catastrophes of history that an imperialist war confected by a small group of unelected US officials (they've been called chickenhawks, since none of them ever served in the military) was waged against a devastated Third World dictatorship on thoroughly ideological grounds having to do with world dominance, security control, and scarce resources, but disguised for its true intent, hastened and reasoned for by Orientalists who betrayed their calling as scholars."