Overthrowing the regime of knowledge
When people from one end of the Arab and Muslim world to another cry "people demand the overthrow of the regime", they mean more than just their political regime. They also mean the regime of knowledge that does not see from pogroms to the Holocaust as equally embedded in "Western values", does not see Nazism in Germany, Fascism in Italy and Spain, Totalitarianism in Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe (Zizek's own backyard), horrid racism across the European history, and all other sorts of diseases spreading from one end of Europe to another as coterminous with capitalism while married to the West - and cherry picks democracy as their only offspring, and when aterritorial capitalism wreaks havoc like a bubonic plague around the globe he looks for an flu strain he calls "Asian values".
Orientalising capitalism retroactively Westernises an authenticity, for it that is entirely antithetical to its globalising proclivity from the get go. Zizek seeing its demise in its Orientalisation reflects back on Max Weber's attempt to seek its origin in the Protestant ethics - from Weber to Zizek missing entirely on the aterritorial disposition of capitalism in its very inception.
Far more important than any ethnicisation of a global calamity called capitalism is the vista of liberating ideas that accompany - not lead - these uprisings in successive seasons of our discontent. Here, fortunately, East and West, or being Asian, African, Latin American, European, or American no longer makes any difference. The divisive world of "the West and the rest" no longer exists. We are on the verge of a new dispensation, a new world we are about to discover. In the making of that future, we, ordinary folks the world over, may occasionally look back at these prominent European philosophers - from Kant to Levinas to Zizek - without any rancour or jest and simply ask ourselves if, with that depth of dismissal and denigration - categorically pathologising humanity at large outside their European tunnel vision - they have anything to say about the liberating vistas of the emerging world. As a philosopher Zizek is the very last whimper of that bang called "the West" that had frightened the world out of the necessary confidence to generate any idea they never dreamt in their philosophies - for to them whatever we say is "grotesquery," whatever we do is "dancing", for we are (and in that emancipatory acclamation Zizek is welcome to join us) "quite black from head to foot, a clear proof that what we say is stupid".
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Hamid Dabashi is Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York. Among his most recent books is Post-Orientalism: Knowledge and Power in Time of Terror (2008).