Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hussein Ibish Has a Blog

A wee bit late to this party, but my good friend Hussein Ibish is now in full possession of a blog (Ibishblog) where he will hold forth on sundry matters relating to Palestine, the Middle East and related topics.

Ibish is a Senior Fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) and Executive Director of the Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for American Leadership. He is also one of the most prominent and fearless pundits on Arab-American issues.

A taste of what you'll get there is this recent post -- "When Western professors drink the Islamist Kool-Aid" -- in which Ibish demolishes a hapless dope who argues that (to quote Ibish's paraphrase) "there is no such thing as Arab secularism, except among a 'Westernized-globalized class' which is not only inauthentic, but is also by definition an agent of imperialism and 'Orientalism.'"

It's worth reading the whole post, but Ibish's fourth graph eviscerates the unfortunate academic who wandered onto his radar so utterly that the rest of the piece is sort of like taking a hammer to smashed shards of pottery. Here it is in full:

Worse still, [the article] makes one of the most fundamental errors to be typically found in academic writing on postcolonial realities: it treats modernity as if it were an à la carte menu in which the postcolonial world (or the academic in question) can simply pick and choose which elements of modernity it wishes to pull off the shelf and put in its basket, leaving others for the next customer. Quite obviously, it doesn’t work that way. Social, economic and political modernity, which is and has been an ineluctable and pervasive force in the colonial and postcolonial worlds, carries its own inbuilt logic of connections, dichotomies, causes and consequences. It is absolutely ridiculous to take one troublesome aspect of modernity in a postcolonial environment (in this case secularism in the Arab world) and dismiss it as an inauthentic imposition of Western colonialism, as if all or many of the other aspects of modernity were somehow less “inauthentic” or less of a tool of colonialism. Modernity is a package deal; you take it or leave it. And, since pre-modern formations were generally unable to successfully resist or remove colonial domination, and for many other reasons, the embrace of modernity in the postcolonial world has been irreversible for well over 100 years.

Ibishblog is already linked under my favorites at the right. You should make it one of yours.

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