The humanization of the Arabs and the dehumanization of the Arabs--these are the contrasting aims of the book reviews by Edward Said and Dick Roraback. Said sought to highlight the complex subtleties and historical richness of Arabs in history as portrayed in the magnum opus of a senior Middle East historian. Roraback sought to highlight in an uncritical manner the stereotypes and racist remarks of two amateur Middle East travelers from America . . .
Whereas Said's review holds out the hope for better understanding between Americans and Arabs, I am afraid that Roraback contributes to widening the gulf between them. Roraback makes the job easier for people wishing to rationalize hurling fire bombs and threats at Arabs in the U.S., and smart bombs and laser-guided missiles at Arabs in the Middle East.
JUAN EDUARDO CAMPO
and Arabic Language
UC Santa Barbara