IN THE SHADOW OF THE FATWA
This is not simply a good post; it’s an important post. I beg everyone to take the time to read it.
When he was a child Salman Rushdie’s father read to him ‘the great wonder tales of the East’ – the stories of Scheherazade from the Thousand and One Nights; the animal fables of the ancient Indian Panchatantra; ‘the marvels that poured like a waterfall from the Kathasaritsagara’, the famous 11th-century Sanskrit collection of myths; the ‘tales of the mighty heroes collected in the Hamzanama’ that tell of the legendary exploits of Amir Hamza, uncle to the Prophet Mohammed; and the ancient Persian classic, The Adventures of Hatim Tai. Rushdie’s father ‘told them and retold them and remade them and reinvented them in his own way’.
To grow up ‘steeped in these tellings’, Rushdie writes in his memoir Joseph Anton, ‘was to learn two unforgettable lessons’. First, that ‘stories were not true… but by being untrue they could make him feel and know truths that the…
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That was a good read, or rather an interesting read, although I don’t agree totally with his perspective. I also read his earlier post that he linked to about Jesus and Mo.
May I ask what part of it you disagree with? (I’m not arguing, btw. I’m genuinely curious about different views.)
Sorry, I started to reply to this and as ever, got distracted. To put it briefly it was the concept that you can be as rude and insulting as you like because you don’t mean to give offence or you don’t need to learn about other people’s cultures and ideas.
I agree with freedom of speech, but with that comes responsibility. Usage of words changes over time. Choosing to use archaic patriarchal language, homophobic language, racist language, words that denigrate people who have physical disabilities or are mentally ill isn’t about free speech.
I took his post to mean that people should say what they want, however ill-informed and thoughtless they are. Continuing to use abusive or derogatory words also endorses the victimisation o minority groups.