Sir Salman’s long journey

Salman Rushdie“Driven underground and into despair by zealotry, Rushdie finally emerged blinking into New York sunshine shortly before the towers came tumbling down. Those formidable literary powers would now be deployed not against, but in the service of, an American regime that had declared its own fundamentalist monopoly on the meanings of ‘freedom’ and ‘liberation’.

“The Sir Salman recognised for his services to literature is certainly no neocon but is iconic of a more pernicous trend: liberal literati who have assented to the notion that humane values, tolerance and freedom are fundamentally western ideas that have to be defended as such.

“Vociferously supporting the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq on ‘humane’ grounds, condemning criticism of the war on terror as ‘petulant anti-Americanism’ and above all, aligning tyranny and violence solely with Islam, Rushdie has abdicated his own understanding of the novelist’s task as ‘giving the lie to official facts’.”

Priyamvada Gopal in the Guardian, 18 June 2007