Academic journal article Nebula

Representations of Oslo Intelligentsia: A Fanonian Reading of the Intellectual Landscape in Post-Oslo Palestine

Academic journal article Nebula

Representations of Oslo Intelligentsia: A Fanonian Reading of the Intellectual Landscape in Post-Oslo Palestine

Article excerpt

Were I to use one word consistently along with criticism, (not as a modification but as an emphatic) it would be oppositional.

--Edward Said (1983)

In order to analyze the intellectual background that has led to, justified and flourished after the signing of the degrading Oslo accords, one needs some definitions and clarifications that will clarify some of the most spectacular--and related--events of the twentieth century, i.e., the disintegration of colonialism, the establishment of Israel as a colonial project, the spread of neocolonialism, and the globalizing spread of American imperialism in the postcolonial world, especially in the "Middle East".

The definitions one has in mind focus on the intimate relationship between economics and politics since these are the major factors that determine the characteristics of the historical conditions shaping the age. Moreover, it is undoubtedly difficult to understand the current intellectual scene without having a kind of historical perspective through which the observer can comprehend, not to say analyze, the so-called "New Middle East". I argue in this paper that Oslo intelligentsia is not different from the so-called "post-colonial" intelligentsia in terms of ideology, demagogy, opportunism and false consciousness despite the fact that we cannot claim that we are living in a post-colonial Palestine. The conduct of those intellectuals is far from national and historical responsibility.

In their introduction to Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory, Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman define colonialism as "the conquest and direct control of other people's land [and as] a particular phase in the history of imperialism, which is now best understood as the globalization of the capitalist mode of production, its penetration of previously non-capitalist regions of the world, and destruction of pre- or non-capitalist forms of social This is a representation of the capitalist desire to gain--or rather capture--new markets and control sources of raw materials regardless of the rights of the native nations, who are in many cases expelled from their lands. by the use of mythological justifications, and on the basis of their nonexistence. The early postcolonial era brought a different kind of colonialism, a kind that is named neo-colonialism, and defined as "[the] continuing Western influence, located in flexible combinations of the economic, the political, the military and the ideological (but with an over riding economic purpose) ..." (Williams & Chrisman, 1993:3) The common ideological factor between colonialism and neo-colonialism, as parts of imperialism, is the presumption of the superiority of the Judeo-Christian/white/western colonial over the Oriental/ Black/native colonized, and the right of the former to oppress the latter who is created only to reaffirm the superiority of the Western race.

"Where there is power, there is resistance", Foucault's famous formulation helps us to theorize the political and, hence, the cultural resistance, represented in different forms. Within this context, it is worth quoting Frantz Fanon's definitions of the role of the "native intellectual" during the "fighting phase":

   [T]he native, after having tried to lose himself in the people and
   with the people, will ... shake the people. Instead of according
   the people's lethargy an honored place in his esteem, he turns
   himself into an awakener of the people; hence comes a fighting
   literature, and a national literature. (1990:179)

However, this is not the case with the other kind of intellectuals who, according to Fanon's theorization, "give proof that [they] [have] assimilated the culture of the occupying power. [Their] writings correspond point by point with those of [their] opposite numbers in the mother country. [Their] inspiration is European [i.e. Western] ..." (1990:178-9)

One cannot deny the fact that the Palestinian anti-colonial/resistance movement is a part, not to say the product, of a collective national heritage, i. …

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