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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Rushdie Flashback

In an article on religous tolerance, Ian Bell recalls meeting Salman Rushdie just before the fatwa was issued in 1989:

"Odd as it now seems, he treated these first stirrings of anger as a bit of a joke. He knew what he was up against: publicity-seeking clerics and politicians who had never read one of his books, who would never read one of his books. In any case, he had been through this sort of thing before, having locked horns with Indira Gandhi herself over Midnight’s Children. It would all blow over.

"Rushdie didn’t get it. Since he was a clever and sophisticated man who understood his subject better than I ever would, I took him at his word. For the record, obviously enough, he deprecated attacks on art and free speech, but for much of the interview he was grinning broadly. I thought he was enjoying the attention. Then the book-burnings began. Then the fatwa was issued. Then, not many weeks after we spoke, this world-famous novelist was in hiding, his life in danger."


  • Just to stir things up - may I add this?
    EGO. Reading this article by Ian Bell, in such small print that my old eyes cannot deal with it all, I still get the sense of what this unreasonable religion thing is, and it is all about EGO. My Beliefs Are Better Than Yours. Ergo- If My Beliefs are the Correct Beliefs then I am Better Than You and Your Beliefs. And Why are My Beliefs Better Than Yours? Aye! There’s the Rub! What makes My Beliefs Better Than Yours? Because the Quran Says So? Because the Bible Says So? These particulars carry the undertone that we are talking about beliefs that flow from one particular source – the Gang of Three, as I like to call them – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Three from One. Reminiscent in a way of the Holy Trinity?
    There is another powerful Spiritual system of belief, much older than the three afore-mentioned, and that is Buddhism. A system of spiritual belief that does not adhere to an ego-centric system, but the contrary; a system of belief that attempts to subjugate the Ego and to raise the consciousness of Non-Ego. An acceptance of Humanity with its foibles and its attempts to rise above these foibles to a plane of compassion and mercy for all humanity, which I do not find in the three other major religions – that conception of total compassion for all humanity.
    And by the way, the concepts and precepts of Buddhism have strong roots in Hinduism, and these ideas have woven their way into the Gang of Three, although their descendants would cry Anathema to anyone who tried to find such sources in their Dogmas.

    By Anonymous Sighle T., at 6:33 AM  

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