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Speakers disagree on impact of Orientalism By Nour Abuzant

AS EXPECTED, a heated discussion on the relationship between Orientalism and Arabic culture, reached nowhere as the two speakers had divergent viewpoints on the issue.

Hussein al-Sediq, a professor in Aleppo University believed that Orientalism studied Arabic language to conspire against its speaker.

One the other hand, his cospeaker Karimala Khalikov, from Dagestan, said Orientlists enriched the Arabic language in a way that even its speakers could not.

Al-Sediq said that those who drew cartoons portraying the Prophet of Islam as a terrorist "were pushed by Orientlists" although he said that the conspiracy theory "failed with excellence."

"Those who drew the caricatures, knew very well that cartoons insulting Prophet Muhammad would not be taken lying down by Muslims and that was the reason for publishing them in the first place," said al-Sediq.

He was even more critical of Israel, saying that without the existence of the Hebrew state, there would not be a dispute between the East and West.

He said that the East failed to understand the West and to penetrate the West’s mentality as the Orientlists did.

According to al-Sediq, orientation passed through three stages. The first concluded with the end of the 18th century. The second stage continued until the end of the World War II. The third stage, which was the most dangerous of them, is continuing until today.

He said that the first two stages of Orientalism "did well" to the East even if it served the colonialism. During the first two stages, al-Sediq said Orientlists were appointed with the foreign ministries.

The third stage, he said, produced the "implantation" of the Zionist entity in the Arabic region.

Al-Sediq said that the West used its full capacities to portray a very negative image of the Arabic Muslim persona in cinema and TV as well the internet. This negative image was a kind of justification for the inhuman acts against the Arab and Islamic countries.

More than this, al-Sediq said, "the West is trying to show Israel as the modernist and the only enlightened country in the region in order to justify the atrocities."

"The occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan was an evidence that a continuation of a job started by the old school of Orientalism."

Moderator All Ahmed al-Kubeisi flanked by Al-Sediq (left) and Karimala Khalikov at the discussion. Photo by Sami al-Thalathi

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