Essay on Clash of Ignorance, by Edward Said

Essay on Clash of Ignorance, by Edward Said

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As we entered the new millennium, Edward Said’s article, “The Clash of Ignorance”, appeared in the October 22 edition of The Nation, in 2001. His paper was a critical response to my thesis which first appeared in 1993, “The Clash of Civilizations?”. The following years saw many adopting his argument as a valid counter to my thesis. However, I believe that his argument builds more to the notion of the clash of civilizations stated in my paper, strengthening it, rather than weakening it. In this paper, I will discuss and address the arguments that he had put forward.

If you recall my main point in “The Clash of Civilizations?”, I argued that the conflicts of the future will dominantly be due to cultural differences (Huntington, 1993). However, Said argues that instead of cultural differences, conflicts will stem from the ignorance that different cultures have when it comes to the other (Said, 2001). I defend my argument by pointing out that although Said believes the conflicts will stem from ignorance, the conflicts are still between civilizations. For Said’s argument to make sense, he has to admit that there are and always will be differences between these cultures that are of a sufficient scale, in order for one side to be ignorant about the beliefs and values of the other. The result of either civilization not understanding or accepting the practices of the other side’s culture is their eventual conflict (Huntington, 1993). Therefore, the basis of Said’s point supports my hypothesis that future conflicts will firstly, be between civilizations, and secondly, be due to their differences in culture.

Said might argue against this from a social constructivist point of view, that these differences between civilizations will be what t...


... middle of paper ...


...ternational Security, 20(4), pp. 5-41.

Gerges, F. A. (2003, March 21). “Will U.S.-Iraq War Lead to Religious War?” ABC News, Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=79617&page=1

HaLevi, Ezra. (2005, December 27). “65% of Palestinians Applaud Terror Attacks on US and Europe,” Israel National News, Retrieved from http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/95535#.Un8428iwp94

Huntington, S. P. (1993). “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs, 72(3), pp. 22-49.

Juhasz, A. (2013). “Why the war in Iraq was fought for Big Oil,” CNN, Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/19/opinion/iraq-war-oil-juhasz/

Said, E. (2001, October 22). “The Clash of Ignorance,” The Nation, 273(12), pp. 11-13.

Wendt, A. (1992). “Anarchy Is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics,” International Organization, 46(2), pp. 391-425.

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