In Your Face

In Your Face
Thought provoking opinions on topical issues.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Rushdie Affair

There are three questions that arise from the recently announced award of a knighthood for Salman Rushdie:

Firstly, given the comments by Pakistan's religious affairs minister, Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, in the national assembly in response to the knighthood:

"if somebody has to attack by strapping a bomb to his body to protect the honour of the Prophet, then it is justified."

Why does the West call Pakistan an ally in the so called "war against terror"?

Secondly, it would seem that the committee that recommended Rushdie for the knighthood did not think that the award would provoke the furious reaction that it has done in parts of the Muslim world.

Additionally it seems that that English Pen, the writers' organisation that organised the lobbying for Rushdie's knighthood, had thought that the honour would lead to better relations between Britain and Asia.

What planet do these people live on?

Thirdly, why was Rushdie given the award in the first place?

He decamped from London to New York in 2000.

There are many excellent writers who are physically based in Britain, what is so special about Rushdie?

The award was made on the basis of a recommendation by English Pen. They provide an answer to the third question.

As per their website:

Salman Rushdie is a major writer whose works of imagination have engaged and galvanised society as important writing does. International PEN takes no position on the honours given by any government but celebrates writers being honoured and opposes those who would, through intimidation and inflammatory statements, try to curb freedom of expression. The 144 Centres of International PEN in 101 countries worldwide may however, choose to recommend such honours. Rushdie was honoured for services to literature and that service has also included his own defence of freedom of expression for writers around the world.

Therefore it would seem that they wanted to have Rushdie knighted, not so much for his writing, but for the fact that it would make statement to the world about freedom of expression.

Maybe the award was not so much made on the basis of Rushdie's literary talents?

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