Monday, October 24, 2011

From Orientalism To Occidentalism

(Hassan Hanafi Criticism)
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         Orientalism has been the Victim of historicism from its formation via meticulous and microscopic analysis  (indifferent to meaning and significance.)
         Orientalism expresses the searching subject more than it describes the object of research (revealing Western mentality more than intuiting Oriental Soul).
        motivated by the anguish of gathering the maximum of useful information about Orient (countries, peoples and cultures).
        The West, in its expansion outside its geographic borders, tried to understand better in order to dominate better.
         Classical Orientalism belongs, for the most part, to similar aspects of colonial culture in the West (package of hegemonic Ideologies and European Supremacy: Imperialism, Racism, Nazism, Fascism).
         It is an expression of Western Elan Vital,
        determining the power relationship between the Self (the West) and the Other (the non West);
        between Europe from one side and Asia, Africa and Latin America, from the other side;
        between the New Word and the classical world;
        between modern times and ancient times.
  • Orientalism was the creation of the center and occidentalism is the creation of the periphery -> The West was the very center of the Universe (and the end of history).
        The center was privileged in history of sciences, arts and cultures, while the periphery was marginalized.
        The center creates, sees and conceptualizes and the periphery consumes.
        The center is the master and the periphery lays the disciple.
        The center is the trainer and the periphery is the trainee.

·        Orientalism was the victim of Western philosophies of history (Europe as the peak of all civilizations)
        the fruits in modern times after planting the seeds in ancient times,
        the accomplishment of a theological development,
        the perfection of things after the abrogation of all previous imperfections,
        the unique Christ after the prophets of Israel,
History of ancient civilizations was reduced to the minimum and History of modern times in the West is blown up to the maximum.
            Three thousand years of the Orient are summarized in one chapter, while five hundred years of history of the modern West is expounded in several chapters.

         a discipline constituted in Third World countries in order to complete the process of decolonization. (Military, economic and political decolonization would be incomplete without scientific and cultural decolonization).
        From object to become subject and;
        transformation of the observed to an observer.
            The object of study in Orientalism becomes the studying subject in Occidentalism and vice versa
         Occidentalism, can exchange the type of relationship between the West and non West.
         Occidentalism aims at evening the balance of World historiography against historical injustice in history of world civilization.

         The object à to counterbalance Westernization tendencies in the Third World.
        The West became a model of modernization outside itself, in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
        Western Life style became very common in Non-Western countries, especially in the ruling classes.
        The imitation of the West became almost a national behaviour.
         These Westernization tendencies have generated anti-Western attitudes as they appear in religious conservatism and fundamentalism.
         Occidentalism is partly a defence of national character, national culture and national life-style against alienation and disloyalty; a popular option against Orientalism as a minority option; a mass culture against Orientalism as an elite culture; an ideology for the ruled against Orientalism as an ideology of the ruler; a liberating device like liberation theology against Orientalism as a dominating device, like church dogmatics.
         Occidentalism is a counter-field of research in order to study the West from a non-Western World point of view.
         The Other in the self is always an imageà An image is always a caricature, which helps in shooting at the target.
        Orientalism drew many images for the Orient (Blacks, Yellows, Oriental Despotism, primitive mentality, savage thought, Semite mind, Arab mind, Violence, fanaticism, underdevelopment, dependence, sectarianism, traditionalism and conservatism.
        Once the Other is caricatured, it is easy to deal with him
          justifying any action of the Self.
         The image made the Other a target the Self shoots at.
         the Self promotes self-made image to sharpen itself, (such as: whites, Western, democracy, logical mentality, civilization, Arianism, peace, tolerance, development and even over development, independence, secularism, modernism, progress.
         By the power of mass media and its control by the West, the perpetuation and the repetition of this double image was made by the self:
         to disarm the Other and to arm the Self,
        to create a permanent relation of superiority-inferiority complex between the Occident and the Orient,
        and a relationship of inferiority-superiority complex between the Orient and the Occident.

         Orientalism is born in an ethno-racist culture. (It expresses Euro-centerism, based on historical pride and organic superiority: White against Black, knowledge against ignorance, logic against contradiction, reason against magic, rationalization against ethico-religious practice, dignity and human rights against dignity and rights of God or of the king, democracy versus despotism or in short, Life against death, Being against nothingness.
         Occidentalism corrects this type of relationship between the West as Self and the Orient as Other to the Orient as self and the West as Other.
         The relation between the self and the Other, either way, can be an equal relation, not a high-low relation, an even and sane inter-subjective relation instead of a superiority-inferiority complex.
          Constructive Occidentalism is the substitute for destructive Orientalism.
         Occidentalism as a cultural movement aims at transforming developing societies from transfer of knowledge to cultural creativity. (he construction of the Nation State is based on modern sciences coming from the West à The role of intellectuals and even of scientists was to transfer science, art, and literature from the Western to the non-Western World.
        The West produces and the non- Western World consumes.
        The West creates and the non-Western World transmits.
        The Culture of the center radiates on the peripheries.
        The center profuses and the peripheries diffuse.

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