Salman Rushdie is to be knighted. This is a sign that the British government may not be quite as chicken as I thought – although I notice the knighthood is coming just as Blair is leaving office. If there is fallout, he maybe won’t have to handle it.
Rushdie had a fatwa placed on him, sending him into hiding in 1989, because of perceived blasphemies in his book, Satanic Verses. He has had to be guarded ever since, with many claiming he didn’t deserve the protections Britain gave him.
Personally I think Rushdie is overrated. And as a leading literati, arrogance is not missing from them. I also feel a little self-editing goes a long way in staving off controversies – preferably before this totalitarian government does it for us.
This said, we still live in a free country, as such. Rushdie broke no laws, and simply carried out his work as he saw fit. Whether we agree or not is irrelevant. It is a nation’s duty to protect its law-abiding residents.
Hopefully, media coverage of his knighthood will reflect this fundamental right.
© Anthony North, June 2007
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