Someone tried to kill Salman Rushdie.

Op2

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Mar 16, 2014
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I don't think it's a coincidence that it happened now, after years of "Words are violence" nonsense. Here is Bari Weiss' column and she's 100% spot on. If you like this, sign up for her newsletter, Common Sense.


We live in a culture in which many of the most celebrated people occupying the highest perches believe that words are violence. In this, they have much in common with Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued the first fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, and with Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old who, yesterday, appears to have fulfilled his command when he stabbed the author in the neck on a stage in Western New York.

The first group believes they are motivated by inclusion and tolerance—that it’s possible to create something even better than liberalism, a utopian society where no one is ever offended. The second we all recognize as religious fanatics. But it is the indulgence and cowardice of the words are violence crowd that has empowered the second and allowed us to reach this moment, when a fanatic rushes the stage of a literary conference with a knife and plunges it into one of the bravest writers alive.


I have spoken on the same stage where Rushdie was set to speak. You can’t imagine a more bucolic place than the Chautauqua Institution—old Victorian homes with screened-in porches and no locks, a lake, American flags and ice cream everywhere. It was founded in 1874 by Methodists as a summer colony for Sunday school teachers. Now, it attracts the kind of parents and grandparents who love Terry Gross and never miss a Wordle. It is just about the last place in America where you would imagine an act of such barbarism.

And yet as shocking as this attack was, it was also 33 years in the making: The Satanic Verses is a book with a very bloody trail

Demonstration against Salman Rushdie in Tehran (Mohsen Shandiz/Sygma via Getty Images)
In July 1991, the Japanese translator of the condemned book, Hitoshi Igarashi, 44-years-old, was stabbed to death outside his office at the University of Tsukuba, northeast of Tokyo. The same month, the book’s Italian translator, Ettore Capriolo, was also stabbed—this time, in his own home in Milan. Two years later, in July 1993, the book’s Turkish translator, the prolific author Aziz Nesin, was the target of an arson attack on a hotel in the city of Sivas. He escaped, but 37 others were killed. A few months later, Islamists came for William Nygaard, the book’s Norwegian publisher. Nygaard was shot three times outside his home in Oslo and was critically injured.

And those are stories we remember. In 1989, 12 people were killed at an anti-Rushdie riot in Mumbai, the author’s birthplace, where the book was also banned. Five Pakistanis died in Islamabad under similar circumstances.

As for Rushdie himself, he took refuge in England, thanks to round-the-clock protection from the British government. For more than a decade, he lived under the name “Joseph Anton” (the title of his memoir), moving from safe house to safe house. In the first six months, he had to move 56 times. (England was not immune from the hysteria: Rushdie’s book was burned by Muslims in the city of Bradford—and at the suggestion of police, two WHSmith shops in Bradford stopped carrying the book at the advice of police.)

Muslims burning copies of The Satanic Verses in Bradford. (Derek Hudson/Getty Images)
Salman Rushdie has lived half of his life with a bounty on his head—some $3.3 million promised by the Islamic Republic of Iran to anyone who murdered him. And yet, it was in 2015, years after he had come out of hiding, that he told the French newspaper L’Express: “We are living in the darkest time I have ever known.”

You would think that Rushdie would have said such a thing in the height of the chaos, when he was in hiding, when those associated with the book were being targeted for murder. By 2015, you might run into Rushdie at Manhattan cocktail parties, or at the theater with a gorgeous woman on his arm. (He had already been married to Padma, for God’s sake.)

So why did he say it was the “darkest time” he had ever known? Because what he saw was the weakening of the very Western values—the ferocious commitment to free thought and free speech—that had saved his life.

“If the attacks against Satanic Verses had taken place today,” he said in L’Express, “these people would not have defended me, and would have used the same arguments against me, accusing me of insulting an ethnic and cultural minority.”

He didn’t have to speculate. He said that because that is exactly what they did.

See, when Salman Rushdie was under siege, the likes of Tom Wolfe, Christopher Hitchens, Norman Mailer, Joseph Brodsky and Seamus Heaney stood up to defend him. The leader of the pack was Susan Sontag, who was then president of PEN America, and arranged for the book to be read in public. Hitchens recalled that Sontag shamed members into showing up on Rushdie’s behalf and showing a little “civic fortitude.” (Read more about it all here.)

From left to right: Susan Sontag, Gay Talese, E L Doctorow and Norman Mailer at Writers in Support of Salman Rushdie in New York City in February 1989. (Sara Krulwich/New York Times Co./Getty Images)
That courage wasn’t an abstraction, especially to some booksellers.

Consider the heroism of Andy Ross, the owner of the now-shuttered Cody’s Books in Berkeley, which carried the book and was bombed shortly after the fatwa was issued.

Here’s Ross:

“It was pretty easy for Norman Mailer and Susan Sontag to talk about risking their lives in support of an idea. After all they lived fairly high up in New York apartment buildings. It was quite another thing to be a retailer featuring the book at street level. I had to make some really hard decisions about balancing our commitment to freedom of speech against the real threat to the lives of our employees.”

After the bombing, he gathered all of his staff for a meeting:

“I stood and told the staff that we had a hard decision to make. We needed to decide whether to keep carrying Satanic Verses and risk our lives for what we believed in. Or to take a more cautious approach and compromise our values. So we took a vote. The staff voted unanimously to keep carrying the book. Tears still come to my eyes when I think of this. It was the defining moment in my 35 years of bookselling. It was the moment when I realized that bookselling was a dangerous and subversive vocation. Because ideas are powerful weapons. . . . I didn’t particularly feel comfortable about being a hero and putting other people’s lives in danger. I didn’t know at that moment whether this was an act of courage or foolhardiness. But from the clarity of hindsight, I would have to say it was the proudest day of my life.”

That was the late 1980s.

By 2015, America was a very different place.

When Rushdie made those comments to L’Express it was in the fallout of PEN, the country’s premiere literary group, deciding to honor the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo with an award. Months before, a dozen staff members of Charlie Hebdo were murdered by two terrorists in their offices. It was impossible to think of a publication that deserved to be recognized and elevated more.

And yet the response from more than 200 of the world’s most celebrated authors was to protest the award. Famous writers—Joyce Carol Oates, Lorrie Moore, Michael Cunningham, Rachel Kushner, Michael Ondaatje, Teju Cole, Peter Carey, Junot Díaz—suggested that maybe the people who had just seen their friends murdered for publishing a satirical magazine were a little bit at fault, too. That if something offends a minority group, that perhaps it shouldn’t be printed. And those cartoonists were certainly offensive, even the dead ones. These writers accused PEN of “valorizing selectively offensive material: material that intensifies the anti-Islamic, anti-Maghreb, anti-Arab sentiments already prevalent in the Western world.”

Here’s how Rushdie responded: “This issue has nothing to do with an oppressed and disadvantaged minority. It has everything to do with the battle against fanatical Islam, which is highly organized, well funded, and which seeks to terrify us all, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, into a cowed silence.”

He was right. They were wrong. And their civic cowardice, as Sontag may have described it, is in no small part, responsible for the climate we find ourselves in today. (As I wrote this, I got a news alert from The New York Times saying the attacker’s “motive was unclear.” Motive was unclear?)
 
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LionDeNittany

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May 29, 2001
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I don't think it's a coincidence that it happened now, after years of "Words are violence" nonsense. Here is Bari Weiss' column and she's 100% spot on. If you like this, sign up for her newsletter, Common Sense.


We live in a culture in which many of the most celebrated people occupying the highest perches believe that words are violence. In this, they have much in common with Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued the first fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, and with Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old who, yesterday, appears to have fulfilled his command when he stabbed the author in the neck on a stage in Western New York.

The first group believes they are motivated by inclusion and tolerance—that it’s possible to create something even better than liberalism, a utopian society where no one is ever offended. The second we all recognize as religious fanatics. But it is the indulgence and cowardice of the words are violence crowd that has empowered the second and allowed us to reach this moment, when a fanatic rushes the stage of a literary conference with a knife and plunges it into one of the bravest writers alive.


I have spoken on the same stage where Rushdie was set to speak. You can’t imagine a more bucolic place than the Chautauqua Institution—old Victorian homes with screened-in porches and no locks, a lake, American flags and ice cream everywhere. It was founded in 1874 by Methodists as a summer colony for Sunday school teachers. Now, it attracts the kind of parents and grandparents who love Terry Gross and never miss a Wordle. It is just about the last place in America where you would imagine an act of such barbarism.

And yet as shocking as this attack was, it was also 33 years in the making: The Satanic Verses is a book with a very bloody trail

Demonstration against Salman Rushdie in Tehran (Mohsen Shandiz/Sygma via Getty Images)
In July 1991, the Japanese translator of the condemned book, Hitoshi Igarashi, 44-years-old, was stabbed to death outside his office at the University of Tsukuba, northeast of Tokyo. The same month, the book’s Italian translator, Ettore Capriolo, was also stabbed—this time, in his own home in Milan. Two years later, in July 1993, the book’s Turkish translator, the prolific author Aziz Nesin, was the target of an arson attack on a hotel in the city of Sivas. He escaped, but 37 others were killed. A few months later, Islamists came for William Nygaard, the book’s Norwegian publisher. Nygaard was shot three times outside his home in Oslo and was critically injured.

And those are stories we remember. In 1989, 12 people were killed at an anti-Rushdie riot in Mumbai, the author’s birthplace, where the book was also banned. Five Pakistanis died in Islamabad under similar circumstances.

As for Rushdie himself, he took refuge in England, thanks to round-the-clock protection from the British government. For more than a decade, he lived under the name “Joseph Anton” (the title of his memoir), moving from safe house to safe house. In the first six months, he had to move 56 times. (England was not immune from the hysteria: Rushdie’s book was burned by Muslims in the city of Bradford—and at the suggestion of police, two WHSmith shops in Bradford stopped carrying the book at the advice of police.)

Muslims burning copies of The Satanic Verses in Bradford. (Derek Hudson/Getty Images)
Salman Rushdie has lived half of his life with a bounty on his head—some $3.3 million promised by the Islamic Republic of Iran to anyone who murdered him. And yet, it was in 2015, years after he had come out of hiding, that he told the French newspaper L’Express: “We are living in the darkest time I have ever known.”

You would think that Rushdie would have said such a thing in the height of the chaos, when he was in hiding, when those associated with the book were being targeted for murder. By 2015, you might run into Rushdie at Manhattan cocktail parties, or at the theater with a gorgeous woman on his arm. (He had already been married to Padma, for God’s sake.)

So why did he say it was the “darkest time” he had ever known? Because what he saw was the weakening of the very Western values—the ferocious commitment to free thought and free speech—that had saved his life.

“If the attacks against Satanic Verses had taken place today,” he said in L’Express, “these people would not have defended me, and would have used the same arguments against me, accusing me of insulting an ethnic and cultural minority.”

He didn’t have to speculate. He said that because that is exactly what they did.

See, when Salman Rushdie was under siege, the likes of Tom Wolfe, Christopher Hitchens, Norman Mailer, Joseph Brodsky and Seamus Heaney stood up to defend him. The leader of the pack was Susan Sontag, who was then president of PEN America, and arranged for the book to be read in public. Hitchens recalled that Sontag shamed members into showing up on Rushdie’s behalf and showing a little “civic fortitude.” (Read more about it all here.)

From left to right: Susan Sontag, Gay Talese, E L Doctorow and Norman Mailer at Writers in Support of Salman Rushdie in New York City in February 1989. (Sara Krulwich/New York Times Co./Getty Images)
That courage wasn’t an abstraction, especially to some booksellers.

Consider the heroism of Andy Ross, the owner of the now-shuttered Cody’s Books in Berkeley, which carried the book and was bombed shortly after the fatwa was issued.

Here’s Ross:

“It was pretty easy for Norman Mailer and Susan Sontag to talk about risking their lives in support of an idea. After all they lived fairly high up in New York apartment buildings. It was quite another thing to be a retailer featuring the book at street level. I had to make some really hard decisions about balancing our commitment to freedom of speech against the real threat to the lives of our employees.”

After the bombing, he gathered all of his staff for a meeting:

“I stood and told the staff that we had a hard decision to make. We needed to decide whether to keep carrying Satanic Verses and risk our lives for what we believed in. Or to take a more cautious approach and compromise our values. So we took a vote. The staff voted unanimously to keep carrying the book. Tears still come to my eyes when I think of this. It was the defining moment in my 35 years of bookselling. It was the moment when I realized that bookselling was a dangerous and subversive vocation. Because ideas are powerful weapons. . . . I didn’t particularly feel comfortable about being a hero and putting other people’s lives in danger. I didn’t know at that moment whether this was an act of courage or foolhardiness. But from the clarity of hindsight, I would have to say it was the proudest day of my life.”

That was the late 1980s.

By 2015, America was a very different place.

When Rushdie made those comments to L’Express it was in the fallout of PEN, the country’s premiere literary group, deciding to honor the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo with an award. Months before, a dozen staff members of Charlie Hebdo were murdered by two terrorists in their offices. It was impossible to think of a publication that deserved to be recognized and elevated more.

And yet the response from more than 200 of the world’s most celebrated authors was to protest the award. Famous writers—Joyce Carol Oates, Lorrie Moore, Michael Cunningham, Rachel Kushner, Michael Ondaatje, Teju Cole, Peter Carey, Junot Díaz—suggested that maybe the people who had just seen their friends murdered for publishing a satirical magazine were a little bit at fault, too. That if something offends a minority group, that perhaps it shouldn’t be printed. And those cartoonists were certainly offensive, even the dead ones. These writers accused PEN of “valorizing selectively offensive material: material that intensifies the anti-Islamic, anti-Maghreb, anti-Arab sentiments already prevalent in the Western world.”

Here’s how Rushdie responded: “This issue has nothing to do with an oppressed and disadvantaged minority. It has everything to do with the battle against fanatical Islam, which is highly organized, well funded, and which seeks to terrify us all, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, into a cowed silence.”

He was right. They were wrong. And their civic cowardice, as Sontag may have described it, is in no small part, responsible for the climate we find ourselves in today. (As I wrote this, I got a news alert from The New York Times saying the attacker’s “motive was unclear.” Motive was unclear?)

I'm surprised it has taken this long frankly.

He bashed one of the world's biggest religions and then on top of that he is a womanizer sleazeball.

One or the other was going to catch up with him.

LdN
 

Op2

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Mar 16, 2014
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Muslims and leftists won’t tolerate free speech.

There was an expression that used to be often used that went like this: "I may disagree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." You never hear that nowadays. I wonder if younger people have ever even heard that expression.

Times have changed, and not for the better.
 

Op2

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Mar 16, 2014
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I'm surprised it has taken this long frankly.

He bashed one of the world's biggest religions and then on top of that he is a womanizer sleazeball.

One or the other was going to catch up with him.

LdN
I have no idea what Rushdie does with women, but I bet a million dollars that this murder attempt has zero to do with womanizing.

And thirty-five years ago, when he bashed one of the world's biggest religions, bashing one of the world's biggest religions, or bashing anything you wanted to bash was considered free speech and suppressing it was considered awful.
 

interrobang

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2016
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Dude got stabbed in the eye.

Hardly made any headlines though, since, well, you know
 

LionDeNittany

Well-Known Member
May 29, 2001
45,959
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1
DFW, TX
I have no idea what Rushdie does with women, but I bet a million dollars that this murder attempt has zero to do with womanizing.

And thirty-five years ago, when he bashed one of the world's biggest religions, bashing one of the world's biggest religions, or bashing anything you wanted to bash was considered free speech and suppressing it was considered awful.

I don't and didn't disagree with anything you said.

But, I am still surprised it took this long.

Think about all the attacks on media outlets for publishing about Islam.

Rushdie not only did it. But he celebrates it. Speaks all over. And on top of that is a complete sleazeball.

Hence ny surprise.
 

interrobang

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Aug 21, 2016
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I have no idea what Rushdie does with women, but I bet a million dollars that this murder attempt has zero to do with womanizing.

He's had an Islamic bounty on his head for 35 years. But CNN couldn't fathom what any motive would be for the attempted murder
 
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NJPSU

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May 29, 2001
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curb-salman-rushdie.jpg
He should have used a disguise like Larry David did for his Fatwah.
 

Darth_VadEER

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Dec 14, 2010
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Anyone else been to the Institution? I was raised in WNY and have had countless vacations there. Just hauled the boat there with my dad a few weeks ago.

When I saw the news on Fox/CNN, I couldn't believe it.
 

PSUEngineer89

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Aug 14, 2021
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I don't think it's a coincidence that it happened now, after years of "Words are violence" nonsense. Here is Bari Weiss' column and she's 100% spot on. If you like this, sign up for her newsletter, Common Sense.


We live in a culture in which many of the most celebrated people occupying the highest perches believe that words are violence. In this, they have much in common with Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who issued the first fatwa against Salman Rushdie in 1989, and with Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old who, yesterday, appears to have fulfilled his command when he stabbed the author in the neck on a stage in Western New York.

The first group believes they are motivated by inclusion and tolerance—that it’s possible to create something even better than liberalism, a utopian society where no one is ever offended. The second we all recognize as religious fanatics. But it is the indulgence and cowardice of the words are violence crowd that has empowered the second and allowed us to reach this moment, when a fanatic rushes the stage of a literary conference with a knife and plunges it into one of the bravest writers alive.


I have spoken on the same stage where Rushdie was set to speak. You can’t imagine a more bucolic place than the Chautauqua Institution—old Victorian homes with screened-in porches and no locks, a lake, American flags and ice cream everywhere. It was founded in 1874 by Methodists as a summer colony for Sunday school teachers. Now, it attracts the kind of parents and grandparents who love Terry Gross and never miss a Wordle. It is just about the last place in America where you would imagine an act of such barbarism.

And yet as shocking as this attack was, it was also 33 years in the making: The Satanic Verses is a book with a very bloody trail

Demonstration against Salman Rushdie in Tehran (Mohsen Shandiz/Sygma via Getty Images)
In July 1991, the Japanese translator of the condemned book, Hitoshi Igarashi, 44-years-old, was stabbed to death outside his office at the University of Tsukuba, northeast of Tokyo. The same month, the book’s Italian translator, Ettore Capriolo, was also stabbed—this time, in his own home in Milan. Two years later, in July 1993, the book’s Turkish translator, the prolific author Aziz Nesin, was the target of an arson attack on a hotel in the city of Sivas. He escaped, but 37 others were killed. A few months later, Islamists came for William Nygaard, the book’s Norwegian publisher. Nygaard was shot three times outside his home in Oslo and was critically injured.

And those are stories we remember. In 1989, 12 people were killed at an anti-Rushdie riot in Mumbai, the author’s birthplace, where the book was also banned. Five Pakistanis died in Islamabad under similar circumstances.

As for Rushdie himself, he took refuge in England, thanks to round-the-clock protection from the British government. For more than a decade, he lived under the name “Joseph Anton” (the title of his memoir), moving from safe house to safe house. In the first six months, he had to move 56 times. (England was not immune from the hysteria: Rushdie’s book was burned by Muslims in the city of Bradford—and at the suggestion of police, two WHSmith shops in Bradford stopped carrying the book at the advice of police.)

Muslims burning copies of The Satanic Verses in Bradford. (Derek Hudson/Getty Images)
Salman Rushdie has lived half of his life with a bounty on his head—some $3.3 million promised by the Islamic Republic of Iran to anyone who murdered him. And yet, it was in 2015, years after he had come out of hiding, that he told the French newspaper L’Express: “We are living in the darkest time I have ever known.”

You would think that Rushdie would have said such a thing in the height of the chaos, when he was in hiding, when those associated with the book were being targeted for murder. By 2015, you might run into Rushdie at Manhattan cocktail parties, or at the theater with a gorgeous woman on his arm. (He had already been married to Padma, for God’s sake.)

So why did he say it was the “darkest time” he had ever known? Because what he saw was the weakening of the very Western values—the ferocious commitment to free thought and free speech—that had saved his life.

“If the attacks against Satanic Verses had taken place today,” he said in L’Express, “these people would not have defended me, and would have used the same arguments against me, accusing me of insulting an ethnic and cultural minority.”

He didn’t have to speculate. He said that because that is exactly what they did.

See, when Salman Rushdie was under siege, the likes of Tom Wolfe, Christopher Hitchens, Norman Mailer, Joseph Brodsky and Seamus Heaney stood up to defend him. The leader of the pack was Susan Sontag, who was then president of PEN America, and arranged for the book to be read in public. Hitchens recalled that Sontag shamed members into showing up on Rushdie’s behalf and showing a little “civic fortitude.” (Read more about it all here.)

From left to right: Susan Sontag, Gay Talese, E L Doctorow and Norman Mailer at Writers in Support of Salman Rushdie in New York City in February 1989. (Sara Krulwich/New York Times Co./Getty Images)
That courage wasn’t an abstraction, especially to some booksellers.

Consider the heroism of Andy Ross, the owner of the now-shuttered Cody’s Books in Berkeley, which carried the book and was bombed shortly after the fatwa was issued.

Here’s Ross:

“It was pretty easy for Norman Mailer and Susan Sontag to talk about risking their lives in support of an idea. After all they lived fairly high up in New York apartment buildings. It was quite another thing to be a retailer featuring the book at street level. I had to make some really hard decisions about balancing our commitment to freedom of speech against the real threat to the lives of our employees.”

After the bombing, he gathered all of his staff for a meeting:

“I stood and told the staff that we had a hard decision to make. We needed to decide whether to keep carrying Satanic Verses and risk our lives for what we believed in. Or to take a more cautious approach and compromise our values. So we took a vote. The staff voted unanimously to keep carrying the book. Tears still come to my eyes when I think of this. It was the defining moment in my 35 years of bookselling. It was the moment when I realized that bookselling was a dangerous and subversive vocation. Because ideas are powerful weapons. . . . I didn’t particularly feel comfortable about being a hero and putting other people’s lives in danger. I didn’t know at that moment whether this was an act of courage or foolhardiness. But from the clarity of hindsight, I would have to say it was the proudest day of my life.”

That was the late 1980s.

By 2015, America was a very different place.

When Rushdie made those comments to L’Express it was in the fallout of PEN, the country’s premiere literary group, deciding to honor the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo with an award. Months before, a dozen staff members of Charlie Hebdo were murdered by two terrorists in their offices. It was impossible to think of a publication that deserved to be recognized and elevated more.

And yet the response from more than 200 of the world’s most celebrated authors was to protest the award. Famous writers—Joyce Carol Oates, Lorrie Moore, Michael Cunningham, Rachel Kushner, Michael Ondaatje, Teju Cole, Peter Carey, Junot Díaz—suggested that maybe the people who had just seen their friends murdered for publishing a satirical magazine were a little bit at fault, too. That if something offends a minority group, that perhaps it shouldn’t be printed. And those cartoonists were certainly offensive, even the dead ones. These writers accused PEN of “valorizing selectively offensive material: material that intensifies the anti-Islamic, anti-Maghreb, anti-Arab sentiments already prevalent in the Western world.”

Here’s how Rushdie responded: “This issue has nothing to do with an oppressed and disadvantaged minority. It has everything to do with the battle against fanatical Islam, which is highly organized, well funded, and which seeks to terrify us all, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, into a cowed silence.”

He was right. They were wrong. And their civic cowardice, as Sontag may have described it, is in no small part, responsible for the climate we find ourselves in today. (As I wrote this, I got a news alert from The New York Times saying the attacker’s “motive was unclear.” Motive was unclear?)

Hahahaha, what do you think this is, 1958 America, where principles matter?

Is Salman Rushdie exploitable or not?

Well, stabbEd by Islam, so not useful……therefore F him, and back to destroying the country we go!
 

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