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For one reason or another, I haven’t given my blog much attention of late. Work has consumed me; financial worries have plagued me. Not that this has allowed writers to deter them in the past. I am guilty of dissembling.

But having said that, I have, at least, been reading more. Rediscovering Edward Said has been particularly important to me. His writing is an antidote to the soundbites of social media and all the nervous afflictions that accompany those compressions. I feel people are more interested in throwing verbal stones than having conversations nowadays. Being something of a political animal, I am sometimes drawn into debates, though I feel, now, that these are essentially futile. For the vast majority, the aim is not to understand but to judge or confirm a prejudice. No wonder, then, that the world is in a state of perpetual, toxic war.

From now on, I resolve to stay as far away from the poison that is ideology ruthlessly applied.

About 20 years ago, a BBC reporter asked a Bosnian refugee, “Are you Muslim or Croat?”

“I’m a musician,” he responded.

In his introduction to the 25th anniversary edition of Orientalism, Said writes:

Rather than the manufactured clash of civilizations, we need to concentrate on the slow working together of cultures that overlap, borrow from each other, and live together in far more interesting ways than any abridged or inauthentic mode of understanding can allow. But for that kind of wider perception we need time and patient and skeptical inquiry, supported by faith in communities of interpretation that are difficult to sustain in a world demanding instant action and reaction.