arabic newspaper

Edward Said in an interview with Timothy Appleby (1986) on the question "Can an Arab & Jewish state coexist?"
  • TA: Why don't you, once and for all, renounce terror?
  • ES: We're not in a position to renounce anything that confirms our status as essentially terrorists, which is what the Israelis have since the middle 1970s been trying to convince the world of. That all Palestinian acts of resistance are acts of terror. It's blatant hypocrisy, it's a lie, from a state that commands its bombers from a height of 10,000 feet to bomb refugee camps.
  • TA: Nonetheless...
  • ES: Nonetheless, I'm telling you about the image. Images are formed by the media, and you know as well as I do that you're not interested in covering Al Fajr [an Arab newspaper published in Jerusalem], but you do cover random outrages by individuals who attempt to blow up a bus in Israel. Have you ever actually done a body count? Have you? Have you any idea of the disparity between Israelis killed and Palestinians killed? I mean, we're talking hundreds to one...
  • TA: Why do you think you have such a hard time convincing anybody of this?
  • ES: Because we are a non-Western people from a civilization that has always been in conflict with the West. The world of Islam has always been a historical competitor, and it has never capitulated. So the one thing people don't understand is, why do you Palestinians whimper? Why don't you go away? Forget it. But we don't.
  • TA: Maybe time is running out.
  • ES: They said that five years ago [in 1981] -- the midnight hour. The fact is, every Israeli realizes they have no military option against us. What are they going to do? Kill everybody? So some of us say, WE FIGHT ON. And we keep saying, We're going to live together with you. That no matter what they do, we're a shadow.
  • TA: It seems quite clear the Israelis are not going to give up...
  • ES: It was very clear in Algeria. And they fought for what? 130 years? Then they gave up... [T]hey said that about the British in Kenya. Who could have imagined that after 300 years of colonization in India they would have left? They come and they go.

I Googled My Mother’s Maiden Name and Discovered My Family’s Violent Secret

I blame Who Do You Think You Are? Before that show existed, I was perfectly content not knowing a damn thing about my family history. But then Jim Parsons found out he was related to a famous French architect who served Louis XIV and Sarah Jessica Parker found out one of her ancestors was tried as a witch in Salem, and then suddenly I was like, “OMIGOD I BETCHA I’M RELATED TO CLEOPATRA OR SOMETHING.”

I thought the most logical place to start was with my great-grandfather, a man who had died 20 years before I was born. His name was Michael Zarbatany and he emigrated to Montreal from Damascus in 1906. In Syria he had sold shirts on the market, but in Montreal, he was a different man altogether. He started the first Arabic newspaper in Canada, called Ash-Shehab ("The Brilliant Star”), and also founded St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, which still exists to this day on Rue de Castelnau in Montreal. So last month, I visited the church, which I hadn’t seen since I was baptized. I spoke to the current priest, and also to members of the congregation, but no one could tell me anything I didn’t already know. Yes, he was a good man, and a kind man, and an honest man, and blah blah fucking blah. What a horribly pedantic episode of Who Do You Think You Are? this would be.


Arab newspapers from around the world have drawn their own satirical cartoons condemning the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of the Muslim community are peaceful, intelligent, caring people just like the rest of us. They are hurting just like us, but their cries are drowned out under the terrible actions of these extremist radicals. No matter the religion, what most of us want is not to spread hatred, but peace.

Young reporters sometimes come to me for advice about working in the Middle East. In years past, I would tell them that this was an excellent idea: save some money, go learn Arabic, be a newspaper stringer, grab for the big stories, and you’ll have an interesting life. Steven Sotloff was one of those who sought my advice. His Middle East career was already under way (he was living in Israel at the time), and I prefer to think that he could not have been dissuaded.

But I’m capable of learning, and my advice now is to go somewhere else.

—  Jeffrey Goldberg in an essay in this month’s Atlantic Magazine.