By Richa Crockatt
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And] . . 14 For Said the conflict emerges in the resistance of the colonized to the colonizers, an element which he had left out of his study of Orientalism. In the later, as in the earlier, study, the focus is on the cultural forms in which the experience of the colonizers and colonized were expressed. His point is that many key works of literature which are generally regarded as being situated ‘squarely within the metropolitan history of British fiction’ in actuality ‘belong in a history both more inclusive and more dynamic than such interpretations allow’.
In the minds of many of his critics, Huntington’s sin is not merely insufficient knowledge of many of the cultures he deals with, nor the excessively high level of generalization he indulges in, nor even that embracing his thesis seems to involve embracing also the politics of the American right wing – though all of these are identified as serious problems by his critics. His sin is also a more purely intellectual or conceptual error of abandoning a broadly realist paradigm in explaining international political behaviour.
The passage of the Patriot Act, with its threat to constitutional rights, is one source of concern, as is the general climate of suspicion of individuals with Middle Eastern connections or even appearance. In this connection America’s deep military and political entanglements in the Middle East complicate matters for Muslims in America and elsewhere. Failure to make progress on a settlement of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict is doubly damaging: damaging to the parties directly involved and damaging to Muslims everywhere, who suspect that the American administration’s failure to push more strongly for a settlement reflects its true estimation of the significance of the Palestinian issue for them and also tends to reinforce the association of Islam with Anti-Americanism and the clash of civilizations 29 terrorism.