Thursday, June 21, 2007

A friend of mine made an excellent point I had not thought of last night, "The best thing that happened to Salman Rushdie was the capture of those fifteen British sailors by Iran. " What else could possibly explain the timing for his knighthood as anything but an attempt to return the humiliation inflicted by Iran a few months ago.


Puppeteer said...

I read a short-stories book by Rushdie and he's actually good. And, of all things, he seemed quite the universalist and far from the Islamophobiac maniac he's been pictured by both Western and mullah press. However, he seems to be crazed for fame and publicity at whatever cost.

Wassim said...

I certainly agree with you on your last point. I have to say I've never read any of his works and got bored when flicking through the Satanic verses, so I cannot comment on his skill or lack thereof.

The whole book would probably have been forgotten now had it not been for the uproar of Muslims and the fatwa of Khomeini back then. That is probably the biggest irony.

Yazan said...

You know wassim,
That is an irony, but the bigger one, is that 70% of all the uproar, and the reviews and the critiques in the islamic world back then, wrote explicitly that they have not read the book [ofcourse it would a dishonor for them to do so] and then, with all the nerve in the world, continued bashing it.

Personally, I dont think its an extraordinary book, it's a good read definitely, with a very interesting imagination and sarcasm. But not a classic, on the other hand, The phenomenon, is, and will be for years to come, a text book case.
If u read Sadiq Jalal el-Azm's Mental Taboo [If u havent, I recommend reading it big time, if not for Rushdie, then for the other parts of it, like the section about beirut 82], you'd be appauled by many of our finest critics bashing the book without even reading it. And by the level of absurdity their arguments were carried with.

I care little about him, but a lot about what that says about our own cultural reality. Which is far more urgent for me.

Wassim said...

Agreed. Look at the complete mess we saw with the riots over the stupid Danish cartoons. They were over a year old when the riots took place and it brought attention to a forgotten issue and even more to a petty minded newspaper. You then had the knee jerk from even pettier pseudo- defenders of some Western Liberalism.

What disgusted me was that the universal Muslim or Arab boycotts of Danish products were nowhere to be seen when Israel was bombing Lebanon last year, nor was there anywhere near as much furor. Are cartoons more important than living people? I'm sure the Prophet wouldn't have given two hoots about those cartoons drawn in an obscure part of the world by an even more obscure artist, but he would have been much more vocal against Israel.

Puppeteer said...

The book I read is a post-"Verses" short stories compilation depicting images from present day India and West and re-told episodes from Western lietrature or history. His style is symple and very picturesque, kind of reminded me of Marquez. However good he is, he doesn't rise to Marquez' genius, neither to his compatriot Arundhati Roy' great talent.
I preffer other writers, the South American School, for instance.
Funny enough, Yazan's coment made me see an ironic paralel between the reaction of the Muslim masses to Rushdie's "Verses" and last year's uproar and total consternation of the Christians to Brown's "DaVinci Code". Can you remember the headlines? How many clerics denounced and refuted the book? How many precious trees were butchered to write useless books denouncing the "biggest heresy" ever since... ever? How amany fanatics went on the streets? And for what? for a big waste of time and eco-system writen by a half-iliterate pseudo-academic. At least Rushdie has some serious talent.

Yazan said...

You have no idea how much that echoes in me. Regardless of how I personally feel about the drawings...

The response was appalling, especially when you compare to how we coexist with Iraq, Lebanon, and Israel, The only demonstrations youll see are the ones orchestrated by the states.... How we manage to live with constant humiliation from our own rulers.