Growing Up Said

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Najla Said, performer and author of the memoir Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family (Riverhead 2013), talks about her struggles with her identity as the UWS-reared child of Edward Said.

→EVENTS:  Ms. Said will be appearing at Book Court in Brooklyn on Friday, August 2nd at 7 PM, and at Barnes & Noble on the UWS on Monday, August 5th at 7 PM.

Excerpt: Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family (Riverhead 2013)


Reprinted from Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family by Najla Said in arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright (c) 2013 by Najla Said.

Comments [16]

questioning from nyc

She went to kindergarten in 1979 (so grew up in the 1980s & graduated high school in the early 90s) and her friends were not allowed to visit the Upper West Side because it was dangerous? That does not ring true.

Jul. 30 2013 02:10 PM
Lee from UES

No mention of her intellectual high-minded Dad caught on the camera throwing rocks like a common thug?

Neurotic isn't a term to toss around to others. Unless it was a projection.

Jul. 30 2013 02:03 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Jason

It was Roman imperialists from Europe who gave that land the name "Syria-Palestina" back in 135 AD after bloodily putting down 2 centuries of Jewish revolts. To its ancient people, now called Jews, the land is called in Hebrew "Eretz Yisrael" or the Land of Israel. Europeans also gave this continent the name "America" after an Italian explorer, but the native aboriginals (the "indians") had no choice but to accept that label.

Jul. 30 2013 11:53 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


When white people become just another minority group in the US, demographically and politically, then we'll see it how it goes. However, Switzerland has remained a stable democracy despite being politically structured amongst Germans, French and Italians, all of whom have been "Swiss" for over 800 years now does give us some hope.

Jul. 30 2013 11:49 AM

The land called Palestine has been around for over 1000 years. The word "Palestinian" was invoked to separate the Jews & Muslims living in the land post WWII with the immigration of European Jews into the newly formed Israel. Israel was created as a separate Jewish state formed out of the land that what was once called Palestine.

Jul. 30 2013 11:48 AM
Alex from Nyc

I'm with you, Guy. I feel for this daighter of a prominent writer and thinker who earned his fame, and her story should of course be of interest to heselfr as a person. But the notion that her parentage and identity-politics category automatically qualify her for authorship and our attention is absurd. And troubling, Much of what she says is at a fairly low level of discourse; some of it is inane. She sounds very young and undeveloped as a thinker or personality,

Guy from NYC
Identity struggles of someone cashing in on their family's renown. Don't we have enough of these stories? Yawn.

Jul. 30 2013 11:47 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

... and the Brian Lehrer Show is avoiding discussion of Little Barry's IRS lawlessness for THIS !!!???

Jul. 30 2013 11:47 AM
Guy from NYC

This author offered nothing but cliches and this segment is bereft of insight or interesting thought. Like Sale's reporting in general. How this woman has so little to say given the stature of her father is beyond me. It's a shame that you wasted our time.

Jul. 30 2013 11:47 AM
NJ Guy from NJ

I second The Guy from NYC
Who cares? I am so tired of "identity" this and that. I can't figure out of this waste of time will decline as our country becomes more mixed racially, or get even worse as other Upper West Side private school kids want to "get in touch with their identities". Maybe I am not as introspective, but I am the guest's age and I don't have time for this waste of time. I have a job, a family, etc. Lets move on already.

Jul. 30 2013 11:45 AM

This is fascinating, a rich girl loves talking about herself.

Jul. 30 2013 11:44 AM
john from office

She sounds like a JAP, or more like a AAP or MAP, in a very UWS way. Another spoiled upper class New Yorker.

Jul. 30 2013 11:43 AM
The Truth from Becky

Exotic = not blonde haired or blue eyed

Jul. 30 2013 11:40 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The search for "roots" and "identity" is hardly something new. Every group living outside of its ancient homeland as a minority group faces that dilemma. Most people hardly care or even know where their ancestors originated from. But when you are conscious of not fully "fitting in," the search for identity in some ancient roots is quite natural, just like an adopted orphan at some point wants to seek out his or her birth parents. It's perfectly natural - especially when you are conscious of being a minority and somewhat of an "outsider."

Jul. 30 2013 11:37 AM
Guy from NYC

Identity struggles of someone cashing in on their family's renown. Don't we have enough of these stories? Yawn.

Jul. 30 2013 11:36 AM
The Truth from Becky

I see how the insecure female is born.

Jul. 30 2013 11:32 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Of course she's confused, because "Palestinian" is not a real nationality, but rather manufactured in the early 20th century in opposition to Zionism or Jewish nationalism. Search high and low, you will never find any ancient record of any Palestinian state, nation, king or queen - real or mythological. It's all pure propaganda created to oppose Jewish national rights to historically ancient Israelite and Jewish lands.

Jul. 30 2013 10:17 AM

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