As researchers focused on the Middle East, we watch with concern the lack of objective flow of information in the west concerning this complex area of the world. The fast paced developments unfolding in the Middle East can be overwhelming to understand. The incoherent policies of our governments also helped with this confusion: How can they ask for one dictatorship to go while they turn a blind eye to another? Residents of the western world often find themselves entangled in a web of facts and counter-facts which would lead an academic to confusion, not to mention the average Joe. We believe that the driving force behind this confusion has roots in what is called Orientalism.
Orientalism is a term that dates to the 18th and 19th century that was reinvented by the Palestinian-American intellectual Edward Said (1935-2003) in the seventies to describe a systematic distorted western depiction of the East (Mainly Asia, including the Middle East) that has roots in colonialism. Orientalism depicts those societies as undeveloped and static as opposed to the “dynamic” and “civilized” West. The sense of superiority resulting from this world view leads to erroneous policies, wars, hatred, and bigotry; All of which are manifesting themselves on daily basis in our present time.
We believe that the orientalist narrative and discourse are predominant in the west on many levels including political, academic, and the media. This project aims at adding to the counter-narrative by bringing you native information flow and analysis from Middle East experts and researchers familiar with the entrapments of Orientalist thinking. With the contribution of many guest writers, partner blogs and websites, and media material, you can get acquainted with many of today’s hottest topics without the need to google for hours. Expert advice will be brought to you by writers and researchers that are familiar with the region inside and out.