Sir Salman Rushdie, the celebrated author had a premonition that an attacker would hurt him with a sharp object. In his first interview, with the Newyorker after a near-fatal attack on him on August 2022 at the Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York, butchering a 75-year-old, a rare protagonist of the virtue of universal openness and human mind, lost body weight, his right eye, but not his sense of humor. The frenzied attacker got 27 seconds to stab all over his body before he was restrained.
Sir Rushdie’s Satanic Versus was published in 1989 and Iran’s chief Islamic leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a Fatwah, death warrant, for his head. After that, he led a secluded hidden life in London under police protection. Then he opted for living in the U.S.A, not in total hiding.
The attacker Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old of Lebanese descent, from California had no connection with Sir Rushdie. The Fatwah was also considered as waived, and it looked like Sir was close to normal in movement. Ayatollah Khomeini is dead. The Fatwah he ordained was 32 years back. Is there any chance that a certain religious Muslim will carry out a general directive issued before even he was born by one former Muslim religious head of another country?
In The Telegraph: 08/02/2023
The Telegraph makes a nice, quite large article on Rushdie about his interview in New York, about his Victory City, the book he finished.
The salient point of the whole article is that not a word was mentioned as to why this murderous attack took place in as peaceful a place as upstate New York. It happened in New York, a towering place on the world map. Sir is of Indian heritage. Before settling In the U.S.A, he breathes in London. He is of a free mind, universal in nature.
Neither The Telegraph has come up with any article in subsequent issues about the assailant and his motive. Not one word about this Fatwah and such other directives issued by the Islamic religious leaders and its worldwide effect.
Even after the attack on such a famous Voice, it looks like the media and the critics in media and political circles chose to censor that part from scrutiny.
In the Anandabazar Patrika: 08/02/2023
Anandabazar gave 3 columns half a page on Salman Rushdie’s interview on Newyorker. It discussed his health – injuries in detail and literary matters.
The common point of CENSOR – What was the motive? What was the validity of the Fatwah? How the Fatwah of a dead religious head of one country could trigger a person in another hemisphere to run amok with such an insane intent?
The young man, Hadi Matar, had no connection with the famous writer. He never read any of his books. He resides in the USA – country of the Free. Who is he? What was his theology? How this theology is applicable to a young person thousands of miles away? The newspaper has no word on these points.
In the Ei Samay: 08/02/2023
Ei Samay placed, without any caption, a tiny picture of Sir Salman Rushdie with 36 words in writing – that’s it.
No analysis is necessary.
In the Times of India Calcutta Edition: 08/02/2023
In the Calcutta Times Lifestyle section, in Voices column, a selfie of Sir Salman Rushdie with 34 words was printed. Not a space in the main Times.
No need for analysis.
In Indian Express: 08/02/2023
The paper placed the news in its editorial column under the title A Writer’s Courage. A wholesome report on a powerful writer put to a mentally miserable existence yet unbuoyed.
Yes. This media also censored all the pertinent points, like the above media houses.
In Bartaman: 08/02/2023
We do not find any news on Sir Rushdie on the above occasion.
In The T2 Telegraph: 11/02/2023
The article believed that people almost started believing that the Fatwa had faded after 33 years. “Some colleagues criticized him for his falling” at taking on the fundamentalist propagators of Islam. However, most fellow writers and universal fan following of leaders have applauded Rushdie’s free speech advocacy. The attacker Hadi Matar, a New Jersey resident is of Lebanese descent.
Novelist Ian McEwan had the following words for Rushdie: “an inspirational defender of persecuted writers and journalists across the world”.
In The Telegraph: 11/02/2023
The editorial IN THE BEGINING articulated at length the triumphant understanding that words are the victors. It says that the violent attack on Rushdie embodies defeat. It is a nice treatise sailing through ages, philosophies, Plato, Mark Antony, and civilizations. It traversed a lot but never had an attempt to pinpoint the motive that perpetrated the death-like scenario in a cool, peaceful auditorium in upstate New York, attended by luminaries. Not a ‘Word’ on the role of the BOOK which made the young man turn into a savage killer.
It said that the first assault of Fatwa sent him into hiding. The second attack took the sight of his right eye and fateful body injuries.
TT spread a lot of praise which includes Mr. Rushdie’s resilience, the support of his peers, his work and his beliefs which made him into an icon representing freedom of expression.
It’s irony of fate that TT editorial heaped praises on Rushdie for his fearless writings but nowhere addressed the real issue which bedevils the world: not a word about the motive, perpetrators, and their goal and how dangerous it is to everyone.
India is not a party to this bloody abominable episode, except that the fearless author is of Indian descent. Locations involved – U.K., U.S.A, Lebanon, Iran.
Yet TT, out of context, wrote down that in India dissent against authorities led to the arrest. It also said that violence between neighbors are created by the “powerhouse in India”.
Though The Telegraph had censored the details of the origin of the Islamic Fatwa, which is necessary for fair reporting. TT however not stopped to show its usual antipathy towards India and Hindus. It is mischievous, as not only it is false but as well it is entirely out of context. Below is what TT wrote:
“Events in India demonstrate that just expressing dissent against the ruling authorities or their policies can lead to arrest”. There would be “little violence between neighbors in the same country without the persuasive power of some – a tragedy with which India is painfully familiar”.
How deep is the loathing for India that TT in its reporting on the incident of the blood-chilling near-murder situation in upstate New York, caused by a person of Lebanese descent living in the U.S.A, obeying the diktat of an Iranian Islamic, could cite the name of India and heap some sort of blame on India. Bully boy in the schoolyard is ultimately rewarded.
Bewildering is the fact that TT preferred not to cite any of the 56 Islamic countries, with Blasphemy laws, but effected a sniper attack on Hindu majority India, a democratic country with terrific preferential laws for the Muslims.
TT does not have a word of censure for the near-fatal attack and as well no word on the servile execution by a stranger of the death order by a religious head thousand miles apart.
TT has lots of flowery words that play on Rushdie’s (Victory City), his resilience, storytelling, myth-making, and freedom of expression for truth – all these making him an icon, a victor. Not a word by any media or commentators as to how to save his own life while protecting Truth and freedom of expression.
The media world in general does not have a word to address the real sin – the motive of the tormentors and how to eradicate the pestilence.
Some pieces on Sir Salman Rushdie were really nice reading – poetic fight on “ The Butterfly Eaters” of Zeraldoda, but none do poietic justice to the incapacitated angel turned to look like Pirates of Caribbean.
The world is in real danger. It feigns to look the other way. And Taliban created Afghanistan in their own light.
Image Source: The Newyorker magazine