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Salman Rushdie's Knighthood anger
by Amin George Forji
2007-06-25 07:48:13
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Indian-born writer, Salman Rushdie may be a wanted man amongst Muslims, but in Britain he is a hero. During the weekend, he was knighted by the English Queen Elizabeth II, in honor of his writings and outstanding achievements. The 60-year-old Rushdie was one of the Queen’s 950 special guests at her birthday on Saturday.

"I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honor, and am very grateful that my work has been recognized in this way,” Sir Rushdie rejoiced on receiving he honor. Paradoxically, the same Rushdie has a life-long death sentence awaiting him in the Muslim world. Iran and Pakistan have both made requests the British government to withdraw the knighthood, saying it is a provocative act that not only insults the Muslim world but their faith as well.

His crime and fame both come from his controversial fourth novel The Satanic Verses published in 1988. As whimsical as the tale was, Rushdie’s tale which was a mere re-telling of an old legend in a fictional form, depicted many verses in the Qu’ran as not only misleading, but originating from Satan, and that Prophet Muhammad had deleted many of them.

In response to what was widely considered by Muslims as outright blasphemy to their religion, the then Iranian spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 issued a fatwa ordering Rushdie’s execution, enforceable by any Muslim in any part of the world. The release of the book led to several angry protests and demonstrations in various cities in the Muslim world, which ended with the loss of at least 25 lives.

Although banned in many countries, the irony is that the more people protested, the more the book became a best seller. But Rushdie had to pay a bitter price. He was forced to go into hiding for a good part of his life, returning to public life only after a decade in 1999.

Iran Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned its Tehran UK ambassador Geoffrey Adams in protest of the knighthood. "This insulting, suspicious and improper act by the British government is an obvious example of fighting against Islam… It has seriously wounded the beliefs of 1.5 billion Muslims and followers of other religions," declared Ebrahim Rahimpour, Iran's Foreign Ministry Director for Europe, on the state-run Irna news agency.

The Pakistani foreign ministry also summoned its Islamabad, British High Commissioner Robert Brinkley on he same issue. Before the meeting, Mohammad Ejaz ul-Haq, the Pakistani Religious Affairs Minister had sparked controversy when he said the award may now justify suicide bombings. "If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honour of the Prophet Muhammad, his act is justified," Ejaz ul-Haq was quoted as saying by reporters.

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Sand2007-06-24 12:36:04
The summons to violence by Muslim leaders seems to belie the frequent protests that Muslims make of the peaceful nature of their religion.

Paparella2007-06-24 20:32:35
It is ironic as well as paradoxical that The Satanic Verses features surreal events and a mythological narrative style mimetic of religious texts. How would a rationalist ready to use it as ammunition against any kind of religious identity explain that style? Probably as a spoof of sort on religion. Why not employ the more cutting edge style of science fiction? One wonders if the rationalist is aware that the novel deonunces absolutism of all kinds, not excluding that of the rational "enlightened" secular idealogue ready to impose his enlightened absolutist views on the rest of the world.

Clint2007-06-24 21:29:42
Lets get one thing absolutely clear right from the start. Here in Britain Salman Rushdie is NOT a hero of the real people of this country. Do not insult us. This nomination is pure and simple a political 'establishment' award from the faceless 'Guardian' reading bureaucrats of Whitehall. It is just another sad example of an abused honours system by politicians. It takes a great deal more than the offerings of Rushdie to be a hero of the people of this country.

Sand2007-06-24 22:20:02
Do I take it that Paparella and Clint would support an assassination of Rushdie for expressing his creative view of a social situation?

Paparella2007-06-24 22:59:52
Pathetic indeed how the issue of the form and the content has been adroitely sidestepped with a one smart- ass line; dishonest to boot since it cavalierly puts words into others' mouth. Rushdie would be the first one to reject that kind of rationalistic absolutism parading as poltical correctness. With friends like that who needs enemies.

Sand2007-06-24 23:29:59
Rushdie defied death threats for ten years in the name of free speech. If that does not indicate heroic behavior to you Paparella, then your demonstrated profound stupidity might indicate a character flaw quite a bit more nasty.

Sand2007-06-25 00:05:50
Where in hell do you get the gall to claim me as a friend?

Paparella2007-06-25 01:03:49
If you had read the message without serenely and withut animus you would have realized that it referred to your misguided appropriation of Rushdie as a friend to be used as fodder for you anti-religion cannon; it had nothing to do with yur illusions and delusions of friendship to me. This nasty habit or character flaw of yours to put words in other people's mouth has me intrigued. There may be an explanation: I've asked myself, what provoked the animus and the flack against writers such as C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Chesterton by assorted rationalists of their day? It may well be that those writers did not conform to their stereotypization of a man of faith, that of the little old lady, or a bigot immersed in superstition and ignorance; on the contrary they could more than withstand their false logic and pseudo enligthenment and show it for the bogus it really is. The solution for those rationalists was to take those stereotipyzations lurking in their minds and express them as coming from the mouth of their nemesis. Fortunately, it never works. Psychosis or sheer insanity? Most readers are too intelligent and ethical not to detect the deviousness. Lewis, Chesterton and Tolkien are as popular as ever but nobody knows the name of their detractors.

Sand2007-06-25 05:38:58
A bad writer will usually blame the misinterpretation of his incomprehensible text on the lacks of his audience. Since you have liberally demonstrated a total incapacity to communicate clearly and a lack of anything worthwhile to communicate there is no point in continuing this discussion.

Paparella2007-06-25 07:13:05
As usual, the point was missed. It had nothing to do with the writing of two grumpy old men, ir silly boys, as the case may be, but about the popularity of the writing of Lewis, Chesterton, Tolkien and the obcurity of their vicious rationalistic detractors. Do you also find their writing obscure? And if so, do you entertain any doubt that the obscurity has less to do with the intrinsic obscurity of their writing and more with the obscurity intrinsic to your to your mind unable to appreciate anything it disapproves of and which clouds your judgment?

Clint2007-06-25 10:30:05
Hello Sand. You obviously have your own agenda. There is a great divide between the deserving of a knighthood and assassination. Britain is a very tolerant society probably the best in the world with the vast majority at ease and accepting of the rights of any individual to a point of view, even you Sand. Just don't call him a hero of the people of Britain because that he is certainly not.

Sand2007-06-25 10:36:09
I had always assumed that one of the values prized by the British people was the freedom to speak openly about one's ideas. You seem to deny this. Anyone who undergoes the threat of assassination in order to defend free speech is, in my eyes, a world class hero and I would sincerely hope that Britain is part of that world.

Clint2007-06-25 10:53:34
Sand you just don't listen. Didn't I just say that everyone has the right to express their opinions. I am denying nothing. If you view him as a hero that's fine, but if Britain gave a knighthood to everyone threatened with assassination we'd have seven 'knights' a week. You can ramble on as much as you like 'friend' but Rushdie will never be a hero of the people of Britain.

Sand2007-06-25 11:15:21
May I assume you have an official position in Britain superior to that of your Queen that enables you to countermand her judgment?

Clint2007-06-25 12:05:16
No I do not have a superior judgement to the Queen, but I certainly do have a superior knowledge of the British Honours System to you. You are obviously not aware that it is not the Queen who decides who deserves honours but her government. That is why if you care to refer to my original comment... it is a purely political appointment and not one made by Her Majesty or supported by her subjects which the numerous media polls and television debates here have proved. There are many other lesser awards but still significant such as a CBE or MBE which are normally awarded before a knighthood which is normally awarded following a lesser award for continued contributions to Britain through their lifetime.

Sand2007-06-25 14:16:21
I appreciate the information. But the basic question still stands. Do you propose a different political system for awarding honors? I am curious as to how you acquired the capability to speak for the entire British people. Putting the awards to a popular vote would, of course, be more democratic. If you feel so inlined perhaps you should pursue a method more in line with your preferences. That I agree with the decision should not, of course, control the actions of the British people but I'm sure you will grant that I have the right to admire Mr. Rushdie.

Paparella2007-06-25 14:52:45
Sand, you can fool some of the people all the times and all the people some of the times but you cannot fool all the people all the times. It is clear that the reason for your admiration for Rushdie has precious little to do with his courage in defending free speech under threat (of those as Clint points out there are thousands around the world and they are all brave and we all admire them with you) but more to do with the fact that his writing is critical of the excesses of Islam. If the Fairy Godmother had attacked a religion, any religion, you would applaud and admire the Fairy Godmother. It is clear because you have disdainfully not answered the simple question posed to you as to why does Rushdie's writing feature surreal events and a mythological narrative style mimetic of religious texts. You probably have read precious little of his writing but have heard by hearsay that he is against Islam; ergo the applause. You have also shown little awareness that his writing condemns obsolutisms of all kinds not excluding that of the secular atheistic rationalist who intolerantly wishes to impose his superior "enlightened" views on what he considers the "ignorant superstitious masses" and to accomplish this he does not shy away from bullying debating tactics.

Clint2007-06-25 16:32:40
You are absolutely Classic Sand and have kept me entertained all day on a wet dreary day in England. Your basic question that has never been answered is that it has never been asked in the first place. No I don't propose a different system it has managed pretty well for about 400 years. No it is not something that is so important we want to vote on it as they are awarded twice a year. New Year and the Queen's Birthday. I did point out that there have been media polls which although are not accurate to include every British subject they do give an overwelming overall guideline. You may be interested to know that knighthoods can only be given to British and Commonwealth Subjects. There have been a few exceptions such as Bob Geldof for Live Aid who is Irish and was given an 'honoury knighthood'. They can be knighted but not allowed to use the title 'Sir'. Bill Gates was also given one recently. It's part of what makes British traditions so quirkily great. Sand at no time have I downed Rushdie, his beliefs or utterings it is just simply however hard it is for you to grasp... he is NOT a British Hero.

Sand2007-06-25 17:08:16
Fine, Clint. Glad to have entertained you. What are the qualifications of a British hero and how did the group that chose him (who I assume were as well informed as you about the matter ) make such a grievous error?

Clint2007-06-25 17:22:57
What makes a British Hero?
Now that's an article for another rainy day.

Sand2007-06-25 18:02:30
Well, Clint, since you claimed Rushdie didn't qualify, It strikes me as exceedingly strange you have suddenly lost interest in coming straight to the point in telling me precisely why. Are you pulling a Paparella on me and ducking out of the question?

Paparella2007-06-25 18:33:47
Another example if we neede one of bullying debating tactics. The question on Rushdie's form remains unananswered but our scholar in residence cavalierly turns the table around and prclaims "check mate;" I don't understand what you said but I will make a fuss about what I did not understnd or what, more likely, I know nothing about. A rationalist always considers what he does not know an insult. Rationalist are indeed a piece of work. One begins to wonder if indeed they are humans or alien robots from another galaxie disguising as men. As C.S. Lewis pointed out: the secret is under their shirt: they have no chest.

Sand2007-06-25 19:27:40
Clint, do you feel bullied by my asking why you think Rushdie is not a British Hero? After declaring this you raised my curiosity and if you cannot or will not answer this rather simple and direct question I suppose I will have to remain forever in limbo as to your opinion. This is, of course, your privilege but it leaves me feeling deprived.

Paparella2007-06-25 21:13:13
The table of victimhood has been adroitely turned. Do you also play chess that way? One wonders.

Clint2007-06-25 23:12:37
Sorry Sand I didn't come straight back to you but some of us have to work for a living but I'm up for a reply.
As he seems to be your hero I didn't want to disparage him in anyway but seeing that I have been goaded into response I am up for it. You will not like it and there will be no further corrospondence from me no matter what you come back with but I do not want you feeling deprived.
His novel 'Midnights Children is a fair read except that its narrator Sinai was conveniently born at midnight August 15th 1947 the exact moment of India's independence from imperial British rule following 200 years of oppression. Coincidence I do not think so the man does not like Britain.
He is a 'leftie who relishes in his own drama. He is posh, arrogant and pompous wallowing in his own self-importance. He decamped from London to New York in 2000 leaving in a childish huff wounded by so called disrespectful treatment and now sits in New York slagging off Britain and its politics and then has the gall to accept an honour just so he can get a better table in a New York restaurant. I think the term for a 'leftie' who accepts a peerage to me is a hypocrite.

Sand2007-06-25 23:38:45
Thanks for the reply. I take it that anybody who is liberal or "leftie" as you put it is automatically unqualified for admiration. No doubt it's a point of view and I certainly cannot demand you surrender your admiration for someone not in agreement with your politics. But it does surprise me that all titled Englishmen are rightwingers as a basic necessity. Whether that indicates he is not a hero is not for me to say since I am still in the dark as to what constitutes a hero in your eyes. I have read "Midnight's Children", "The Satanic Verses" and a couple of his other books and found them very well written and worth my time. Since many other people seem of that opinion also Rushdie has probably earned sufficient income to get into any restaurant he so desires. I have heard Rushdie many times in the radio and he certainly fooled me. He sounded most reasonable and affable, not at all like the person you described. Just shows you how easy it is to be fooled. Must mean he's pretty clever or I'm pretty stupid. I'm sure Paparella will have no difficulty in deciding which. It was good to hear from you.

Paparella2007-06-26 03:16:12
Mr. Sand the rationalist has had the last word and that must have surely have made his day. It is like crying "check mate." But where is the dialogue? Alas, there is isn't any. There is only solypsism and narcisism parading as rationality. Vico writes that at the end of the last cycle of men (that of rationality deprived of the poetical parading as "enlightenment") they go mad with their logic.

Sand2007-06-26 06:40:24
It has been well said that it is better to keep one's mouth shut and be suspected of stupidity than to speak and make it obvious.

Paparella2007-06-26 07:27:00
That is a Chinese proverb. The Chinese are wise people. Mr. Sand says nothing, just quotes the Chinese proverb. Mr. Sand is a wise guy.

Sand2007-06-26 09:08:29
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.

Sand2007-06-26 09:21:06
Our brains are vital for maintaining many basic physiological functions which is undoubtedly a great accomplishment but some people never discover that there are many other novel and useful functions of this important organ.

Paparella2007-06-26 09:44:16
Man reduced to a function! That sounds like Terminator speaking through the mouth of Mr. Sand. Terminator, or robococ of Djo has no brain, only a "functioning" computer in its place. And he certainly has no heart. Alice in Wonderland can tell us that much.

Sand2007-06-26 10:36:40
Some unfortunate individuals remain pretty much dysfunctional. The must be relegated to institutions so that, properly diapered, they no longer spew their defecations over other people's work.

Paparella2007-06-26 11:19:28
Aside from the obvious Junghian projection it would appear that defacation and farting issues are uppermost on your agenda, together with the slightly deranged obsession of grinding the ax of anti-religion. Indeed a wise man from Palestine said once not to throw pearls before pigs, for they will eat them. On the other hand if it is an authentic pearl most reasonable people will patiently wait till it is defacated by the pig to retrieve it. The pig in any case will not be any wiser for eating and digesting the pearl.

Sand2007-06-26 11:24:53
Nor people for diving into pigshit for useless glitter.

Paparella2007-06-26 14:24:16
You may well have invented a new literary genre: the poetics of defacation! Tht's quite a feat for an extreme rationalist! "Diving into pigshit for useless glitter" certainly beats "I shit therefore I am." Congratulations!

Sand2007-06-26 17:24:28
Since you are a classics scholar I’m reasonably sure that you are familiar with Aeschylus’ advice: ”It is a profitable thing, if one is wise, to seem foolish”. You have done a crackerjack job of heeding it.

Paparella2007-06-26 18:42:32
Socrates did not heed it and we know what happened to him. But he did preserve his integrity and that is something. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul. That is written someplace; you could probably figure out where. And not it does not mean the soul of one of his expensive Italian shoes either.

Sand2007-06-26 19:21:26
Right on! Paparella, you are so damned good at playing the fool. It almost leaves me breathless. Obviously I would not mistake you for Socrates for an instant! Not a nanosecond! Your confusing "soul" for "sole" would lead you to believe God is a shoemaker. Hmmm. Considering the mess the world is in, you might have stumbled onto something.

Sand2007-06-26 19:58:51
But wait! Not only do you confuse "soul" with "sole" but your rambling stumbling bumbling humbling jumbling rumbling playing the fool let you confuse "sole" with "sole" which the imprecise eye might lead you to believe is the same word, but we perceptive minds are well aware that one sole is a fish and the other sole is followed by a heel. I am sure that you feel I'm a heel, if you follow me, but since the other sole is a flatfish like a flounder and you are not only an expert at playing the fool but very talented at floundering. But does this sound too fishy? It's all a matter of scale.

Paparella2007-06-26 21:34:25
Neither would I mistake your for Da Vinci. I see, Aristotle was not talking about fish or what is under one's shoes but if the soul may reside in the wisdom tooth why not under one's foot? If one has no clue of what soul is, it is indeed plausible that he may confuse it confuse it with sole since phonetically they sound quite alike. It is also written somewhere: and the fool said: there is no God. Your childhood friends had it more on target than you give them credit for: if there is no God, anything is ultimately permissible, even dehumanizing oneself.

Sand2007-06-26 22:17:07
You really seem to have a thing about souls being underfoot. Is that your latest divination from Jung? (He does seem somewhat your favorite over Freud but naturally Freud's predisposition to attach sex to all unconscious motivation would offend your Catholic nature. Your God, after all, equipped Adam and his companion with all sorts of forbidden equipment. I'm a bit surprised he forgot to install a cigarette lighter.)
I am highly complimented that you associated DaVinci with me, even in a negative context. I never even raised him up in our conversation whereas you somehow eased Socrates in as denying Aeschylus. Nevertheless you did not flatly deny you were acting the fool so I must continue assuming that is your posture - and a very clever posture it is. For if you are not a fool, you have the appearance of a fool and if you are a fool you are merely acting natural. And by God ( pick any one since you have a whole mob of them declared as your favorites) you are supremely convincing in the role.

Sand2007-06-26 22:23:25
Incidentally, your conversion of Descartes' "I think therefore I am" to "I shit, therefore I am" is a very revealing analysis of your estimation of the quality of your thinking output. I will have to go along with you on that one.

Paparella2007-06-27 06:30:09
As previously mentioned, your dishonest ad hominem rationalistic arguments designed to beat on the messanger delivering unwelcome news, may fool some people all the time and all people some of the times but not all people all of the times. Sooner or later the sheer boorishness begins to show through the plethora of shallow and near idiotic one liners and the adroit turning of the chess board. Hardly signs of somebody secure in his honest convictions and ready to debate them serenely. Intolerance has many faces but the worst kind is that parading as the enlightened rationalist smugly looking down on those who disagree with his positions. Those people more often than not are not part of any solution but part of the problem with the kind of world we live in and have our being in.

Paparella2007-06-27 06:47:02
An case in point: one points out that the Holocaust was planned by rationalists in less then two hours in 1942 and that it included not only six million Jews but five million other undesirable. The intellectually challenged rationalist takes that statement and says that it points to a near denial of the Halocaust and one should be careful because it is illegal to do so. That is a piece of work and it would be funny if it weren't rephreensible too.

Sand2007-06-27 07:19:23
Once again I should caution you that you are venturing on dangerous territory. Your insistence that the Holocaust was planned in two hours totally neglects the anti-semitic traditions fostered by the Catholic Church for hundreds of years that provided the fertile territory that permitted the Nazis to harvest their virile crop of mass hatred. Whatever the legal status of the Vatican in Italy there is no doubt that the church itself maintained centuries old policies that bloomed so viciously in Hitler's Germany.
I agree with you that there were many other groups that suffered greatly under the Nazis but when you are attempting to wrest the Holocaust away from the Jews you are trying to undermine and destroy the great suffering of the Jews which the Israelis prize as their most precious basis for the oppressive policies they are pursuing in their altercation with the Arabs. The Israelis are terribly fierce in protecting this treasure and they have a powerful lobby in the USA to strike out at anybody who would diminish their historic suffering (which, of course, was real and horrible) and distribute it in parcels to gypsies and homosexuals and other people who suffered under the German monsters.

Sand2007-06-27 08:42:48
Paparella is convinced he is strutting before some sort of approving audience. Since third party is scarce to the vanishing point I doubt it but the man's fanatic hypocrisy is so far wide of documented facts that if there is anyone out there faintly interested in Hitler's congenial relationships with the Catholic Church and other Christian sects might want to visit http://nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm
which contains photos of the happy meetings Hitler had with prominent Christian officials.

Sand2007-06-27 09:25:50
The accusation that I am performing ad hominem verbalizations on Paparella is unjustified. In fact, the case is exactly the opposite. I am introducing doubt into the estimation from his obvious performance of proposing obvious idiocies that, in fact, he must be an idiot. I proposed he is following Aeschylus' advice to create the impression he is a fool although he may, in fact, be, at minimum, of reasonable intelligence. I have considerable doubts about this and allow the reasonable contingent that he may, in actuality be a fool. But I will permit a tiny uncertainty in his favor.

Sand2007-06-27 10:05:29
I regret having to pop in again, but there are so many points you raise that must be considered that I feel obligated say something

You characterize yourself as the messenger and thereby disclaim responsibility for the message as if you were some teenager doing a part time job delivering marriage notices, death messages, news good and bad with ignorant equanimity while chewing gum and perhaps chanting happy birthday under your job obligation. It seems incredible to me that you seem totally unaware of your function in this interchange and feel no responsibility for the opinions you express. I take full responsibility for whatever I say. Perhaps you should consider that.

Name:2007-06-27 12:06:56
Knighthood for what exactly? Services to hide and seek? Winding up the loony muslims will get no complaints from me but Rushdie hasn't done much to merit this really has he?

Sand2007-06-27 12:37:31
Have you read his books and evaluated the quality of his writing? Many knighthood awards are in response to professional accomplishment. If you want to argue about that you have to make the case.

Seth2007-06-28 01:54:10
Perhaps a new award can be intiated. One for simply making the most controversy and getting the most media attention. He blew away the competition. I see no other real merit for Knighthood [including the author's book].

Sand2007-06-28 04:35:39
You certainly have the right to your own opinion as to Rushdie's value, but the people in charge of awarding the knighthood are equally (or perhaps more) competent in deciding the matter.
The way the system works is that they and not you are given the power of decision.

afzal2007-08-31 03:22:53
rushdey is the son of the bitch

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