(50 mins) This film assesses the changes which came about as the Arab countries were drawn into the new political and economic order of modern times. Those changes not only affected the Arab countries but also the way in which they came to be viewed by people in Europe and America.
Its main focus is on the plight of the Palestinians, which can be seen as the most enduring residue of the modern encounter between the Arabs and the West.
Edward Said is a Palestinian living and working in New York. He is outspokenly and actively critical of the treatment of his fellow-Palestinians and is no longer welcome in the city of his birth, Jerusalem. In this film he develops the themes contained in his trilogy of books ‘Orientalism’, ‘The Question of Palestine’ and ‘Covering Islam’. He traces the course of European involvement with the Near East from a vision of the Holy Land, via the Crusades, to Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt in 1799 and the French and British entrepreneurs, adventurers and empire-builders who came in his wake.