Naomi Klein gives the 2016 Edward W. Said London Lecture

Let Them Drown - The Violence Of Othering in a Warming World

On Wednesday 4th May, award-winning journalist and bestselling author Naomi Klein delivered the 2016 Edward W. Said London lecture at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre. 

Presented since its inception by A. M. Qattan Foundation and London Review of Books, the Edward W. Said London Lecture series is held in memory of literary critic, writer, and activist Edward Said, to promote his spirit through the continued examination of the links between culture and politics in the Middle East and across the world. Edward Said was a giant in the study of “othering” – the process by which large swaths of humanity are cast as sub-human, a status used to justify violent expulsion, occupation, and invasion.

This lecture built on Said’s legacy to examine how these same tools of racial hierarchy, including Orientalism, have been the silent partners to climate change since the earliest days of the steam engine, continuing to present day decisions to let entire nations drown and others warm to lethal levels. The lecture also looked at how Said’s bold universalist vision might form the basis for a response to climate change grounded in radical inclusion, belonging and restorative justice.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and author of the critically acclaimed international bestsellers The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies and This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, which was one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year 2014. 

In delivering the 2016 Edward W Said London Lecture, Klein followed in the footsteps of Marina Warner, Rashid Khalidi, Ahdaf Soueif, Noam Chomsky, Raja Shehadeh and Daniel Barenboim.

“The ending paragraph in “Humanism and Democratic Criticism”, the last book Edward finished before he passed away, concludes:

‘ … with the thought that the intellectual’s provisional home is the domain of an exigent, resistant, intransigent art into which, alas, one can neither retreat nor search for solutions. But only in that precarious exilic realm can one first truly grasp the difficulty of what cannot be grasped and then go forth to try anyway’

“Naomi Klein has definitely grasped the complex issue of our time “global warming” and has brilliantly articulated it to the world calling for action.

“She dares to challenge the powers that be by fighting for a just world in which to make life on earth livable for all.”
— Mariam C Said

Klein was introduced by lawyer and leading human rights campaigner, Shami Chakrabarti.

For further information on the content of the lecture, please see The Guardian.