Orientalism is a cultural and political phenomenon and not just an empty abstraction.
“Orientalism is a rethinking of what has been considered an impassable gulf between East and West for centuries. My aim was not so much to eliminate the differences – who can ever deny the constitutive character of national and cultural differences in relationships between human beings? As challenging the idea, that differences involve hostility, a frozen and reified set of essences in opposition, and the whole polemical knowledge built on this basis. What I hoped for was a new way of reading the separations and conflicts that had caused hostility, wars and the emergence of imperialist control. Even if the inequalities and conflicts from which my interest in Orientalism as a cultural and political phenomenon have arisen have not disappeared, today we have at least reached consensus on the idea that this does not represent an immutable situation, but rather a historical experience whose end (or at least the partial overcoming of which) can be at hand.”