Palestinian Heritage Foundation Honors

Dr. Edward Said

By Richard Curtiss

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

June 1997

Dr. Edward Said and Artist Jihan Tannous

Archbishop Philip Saliba, primate of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of North America, was the principal speaker at an April 3 fund-raising dinner of the Palestinian Heritage Society in honor of Dr. Edward Said, university professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1973. Dr. Said is the author of 16 books, which have been translated into 26 languages, and was a member of the Palestine National Council from 1977 until 1991.

Mtropolitan Saliba, MP Naela Muawad and Farah

At the dinner, held at the Marriott at Glenpointe Hotel in Teaneck, NJ, Metropolitan Saliba saluted Hanan and Farah Munayyer on the 12th anniversary of their founding of the Palestinian Heritage Foundation. The foundation has assembled a large collection of authentic Palestinian regional dresses as well as other authentic examples of traditional Palestinian arts and crafts, which are lent as traveling exhibits to museums and for special occasions all over the United States.  Dr. Said’s life, Metropolitan Saliba said, is consumed by “the tragedy which befell the people of his beloved Palestine. No one has better articulated or worked harder to bring this 20th century tragedy to the attention of the American people.” After discussing Dr. Said’s article in the Jan. 10 issue of The New York Times Magazine entitled, “The One-State Solution: Why the Only Answer to Middle East Peace is Palestinians and Israelis Living as Equal Citizens Under One Flag,” the archbishop said it is similar to a plan he advocated in 1968 which he called “One Land for Arabs and Jews.”

“I hope and pray that the one-state solution of Professor Said will not meet the same fate as my plan, and that his voice will not be one that cries in the wilderness.” Archbishop Saliba said. “Very soon, the Palestinians will have lost everything, rendering any negotiation with the Israelis nearly pointless.”

Though pessimistic in the short run, the archbishop expressed optimism in the long run, predicting that “the Palestinians and the Arabs in general will emerge in the new millennium, picking up all the modern tools of science and technology to rebuild and rewrite the future for their posterity. Thus, beyond the long and dark night, there is a new dawn, a new day and a new history.”

Other speakers paying tribute to Dr. Said, and to the Munayyers and the Palestinian Heritage Foundation, were Prof. Norman Finkelstein of New York University, Prof. Rashid Al Khalidi of the University of Chicago, Richard Curtiss of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and Dr. Clovis Maksoud of American University in Washington, DC.