Orientalist Shit People Say – Part 2

Orientalist Shit People Say – Part 2

“I dealt with Qaddafi. I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn’t let him use the land. That’s what we should be doing. I don’t want to use the word ‘screwed’, but I screwed him. That’s what we should be doing.”

-Donald J. Trump, March 2011 interview with “Fox and Friends”

“Don’t you think your subjectivity can get in the way of your research on Arab literature ?”

-A white faculty to an Arab candidate after a job talk for a tenure-track position in Arabic literature

“The scientific and industrial revolution that followed the Renaissance in Europe enabled the West to lay the foundation for its modern nation-states. India and China meanwhile lay dormant, two ancient and weary civilizations in decay.”

-Minhaz Merchant, The New Clash of Civilizations, Introduction

“Oh, I come from a land, from a faraway place / Where the caravan camels roam / Where it’s flat and immense / And the heat is intense / It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home / Oh, I come from a land, from a faraway place / Where the caravan camels roam / Where they cut off your ear / If they don’t like your face / It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home”

-Disney’s Aladdin, “Arabian Nights” song

“What type of Islam to you promote ?”

-A senior, white faculty to an Arab male candidate working on salafism after the latter’s job talk

“If Mesopotamia was characterized by cultural change resulting from constant contacts with foreign peoples, Egypt was generally isolated from foreign contact and was marked by cultural continuity. The only easy means of access into Egypt were via the Nile River either in the north or the south. As long as these approaches were protected, Egypt was safe from invasion and even to some degree from outside influence. The predictable replenishment of the soil, coupled with the lack of fear of floods or invasions, gave the Egyptians a completely different outlook on life from the Mesopotamians. The Egyptians were supremely optimistic, convinced that they were the best people, with the best life, on Earth. In fact, they thought that foreigners were somehow not quite human.”

-Ralph Mathisen, Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations (2015), 75

“Can you speak English? You make me feel uncomfortable.”

– A white, female passenger to Arabic-speaking Adam Saleh and Slim Albaher in a Toronto-New York Delta airlines flight

“For three weeks I drank cow’s blood for breakfast, washed in the river and slept in a tent that was guarded by kids with AK-47s. I took a lot of photographs, I painted with them, drank ouzo with them, fired guns with them — I became one of them.”

-Nicolai von Bismarck, on his time in Ethiopia

“Though thus useful, beneficient, and indeed essential to the existence of Egypt, the Nile can scarcely be said to add much to the variety of the landscape or to the beauty of the scenery. […] Egypt is at all seasons a strange country […] The geology of Egypt is simple. […] The flora of the country is not particularly interesting. […] Nor can Egypt have afforded in ancient times any very exciting amusement to sportsmen. […] Altogether, Egypt is a land of tranquil monotony. […] The architecture of Egypt is its great glory. It began early, and it has continued late. But for great works, strewn thickly over the whole valley of the Nile, the land of Egypt would have obtained but a small share of the world’s attention; and it is at least doubtful whether its ‘story’ would ever have been thoughts necessary to complete ‘the story of the Nations'”

– George Rawlinson, Ancient Egypt (1897), 8-22

“La prima volta che compresi la sua grandezza fu durante il viaggio in treno che dal Cairo mi portava verso l’Alto Egitto. Da un lato i palmizi, gli agrumeti, i campi di datteri messi a seccare. Dall’altro il colore a volte azzurro a volte scuro e limaccioso del fiume. La mattina frotte di piccoli pesci saltavano nell’acqua, in quel groviglio di correnti e di barche, che lente rientravano dopo la pesca. Pensavo alle inondazioni benefiche del Nilo. Accadevano da quando il fiume esisteva. E lasciavano puntualmente il limo che fecondava la terra. E pensavo anche al modo in cui l’intervento umano, con la costruzione di bacini e di dighe, stava distruggendo tutto questo.”

-Late Egyptologist Sergio Donanoni to La Repubblica, June 21, 2015


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