A Sad Day
by Susan Abulhawa
September 25, 2003
I heard the news this morning and my heart fell in my chest. Professor Edward Said has died. The terrible news is buzzing across the world in millions of emails. Today is a sad day.
His sharp mind and soft heart have touched us in ways we can never truly measure. Public letters of condolence try to list his invaluable contributions to literature, politics, human rights, music, and humanity. But anyone who has ever spoken to him, or even just read an essay he wrote, knows that what wisdom and goodness Dr. Said gave to us is immeasurable.
His passing seems inconceivable to me. The force of his character, intellect and humility was so powerful that I had thought him indestructible. I suppose I thought that of his body as well. As it is, I was wrong. He leaves a profound void no other can fill. And we are left wondering, how does one mourn the death of an angel?
I feel heartbroken. A guiding force has been extinguished and I struggle to understand why.
He lived unafraid and undaunted, and gave us courage through his example to live the justice we wanted to see. I met him only once, and briefly. But his imprint on my life is no trivial mark. He put something of his soul in everything he wrote or said, and I consumed it all. Millions of us have. He was a fountain of humility, as someone said, and we all drank from his bounty of genius. In this way, he lives through his legacy, through all the pieces of himself that he generously gave to us.
Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian living in Pennsylvania. She is the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, a non-profit organization dedicated to building playgrounds and recreation areas for Palestinian children living under military occupation. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.