Chris Hedges: The Fictitious Ideas of Empire and Western Civilization

Chris Hedges: Legacy of Empire

Screenshot by Dandelion Salad via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

with Chris Hedges

RT America on Aug 18, 2021

On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses the importance of the scholar Edward Said with Professor Hamid Dabashi. Dabashi is the professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Every empire, as Edward Said points out, in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, Said reminds us, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civil trice. As Said knew, western civilization is a fiction, neither the term Orient nor the concept of the West has any ontological stability. Non-western civilizations were and are invented constructs, negational formulations of the Western world, used not to understand or explore reality but to justify pillage and domination.

Hamid Dabashi’s new book is On Edward Said: Remembrance of Things Past.

Video and transcript

See also:

Orientalism, By Edward Said

From the archives:

Why the Ruins of a Little Village Called Lifta Still Matter, by Kenn Orphan

Abby Martin: A Guide to US Empire in Africa

“We Will Coup Whoever We Want”: U.S. Empire’s Mask Slips Off, by Rainer Shea

Chris Hedges: The Colonial War on Palestine

Uncle Sam’s Grisly Record of Murder and Mayhem Since 1945 by Paul Street

“We Need Dissent From the Dubious Thesis That Military Power Alone Can Change the Map of the World” by Gaither Stewart (Book review of Orientalism)

Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War by William Blum

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