Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0115. Monday, 14 February 1994.
From: Luc Borot <
Date: Sunday, 13 Feb 1994 13:56:30 +0100
Subject: Salman Rushdie
[This posting appeared on SHARP-L Society for the History of Authorship,
Reading & Publishing" <SHARP-L@IUBVM.BITNET>.]
>THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS BEING ISSUED FEBRUARY 14, 1994, THE
>FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FATWA AGAINST SALMAN RUSHDIE. LIBRARIES
>AND BOOK STORES WILL BE DISTRIBUTING COPIES OF THE STATEMENT TO
>THEIR PATRONS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE COPIES TO DISTRIBUTE,
>PLEASE CONTACT THE OFFICE FOR INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM OF THE AMERICAN
>LIBRARY ASSOCIATION AT
OR 1-800/545-2433 X4223.
>On February 14, 1989, the religious leader of one country issued
>a death threat against a citizen of another country. Five years
>later Salman Rushdie is still a man with no fixed address.
>The novel that provoked the death sentence, The Satanic Verses,
>continues to be available in bookstores and libraries throughout
>the United States and many other countries. But Rushdie is in
>hiding, still writing nearly every day, making public
>appearances on occasion - but effectively under threat, marked
>as with an incandescent X on his chest and back.
>His novel is a cultural epic and so is the controversy. It
>involves the anger of Britain's immigrants from Pakistan, India
>and other countries. It bears strongly on the American
>tradition of free expression. It includes riots and
>book-burnings. It has involved mullahs, presidents,
>demonstrators, diplomats -- and a murdered Japanese translator,
>Hitoshi Igarashi. And it is linked to the continuing impact of
>world Islam on the consciousness of the West.
>Now the world has grown smaller around this man. He is
>distanced from the people who have nourished his work and
>severed from the very texture of spontaneous life, the tumult of
>voices and noises, the random scenes that represent the one
>luxury writers thought they could take for granted.
>Not any more.
>He is alive, yes, but the principle of free expression, the
>democratic shout, is far less audible than it was five years ago
>-- before the death edict tightened the binds between language
>and religious dogma.
>In a real sense Rushdie has become a messenger between readers
>and writers. He reminds us all how sensitive and precious this
>collaboration is, how deeply dependant on individual thought and
>free choice. Every book carries the burden of giving offense.
>But there is an intimate contract between the two participants,
>a joint effort of mind and heart that allows for thoughtful
>differences and that thrives on the prospect of understanding
>This is where the spirit of Rushdie lives, in the narrow passage
>between the writer who works in solitude and the reader whose
>own living space or park bench or plane seat is "the little room
>of literature" -- in Rushdie's own phrase - - the place that
>will not be completely open until all marked writers are free
>What can we do? We can think about him. Try to imagine his
>life. Write it in our minds as if it were the most unlikely
>And we can hope that our government and others will exert due
>pressure to return Salman Rushdie -- and all other threatened
>writers -- to the world. His world and ours. More than ever it
>is one place, and a shadow stretches where a man used to stand.
>This statement is endorsed by
>THE RUSHDIE DEFENSE COMMITTEE USA
>a coalition of the major literary and civil liberties groups in
>the U.S. that campaigns for the rescinding of the Iranian decree
>calling for the death of Salman Rushdie and all those associated
>with his novel The Satanic Verses, and for the withdrawal of the
>bounty on Rushdie's head.
>COMMITTEE MEMBERS ARE American Booksellers Association, American
>Booksellers Association Foundation for Free Expression, American
>Library Association, Association of American Publishers,
>Association of Author's Representatives, Author's Guild, The
>Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, Dramatists Guild,
>Feminists for Free Expression, International Writer's Center,
>Human Rights Watch, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, The
>Literary Network, National Campaign for Freedom of Expression,
>National Coalition Against Censorship, National Writers Union,
>PEN American Center, PEN Center USA West, Washington Institute
>CO-CHAIRS Louis Begley & Ambassador Nicholas Veliotes
>COORDINATOR Siobhan Dowd
>THIS STATEMENT IS ALSO SUPPORTED BY, American Institute of
>Graphic Arts, Poetry Society of America
>IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING THE COMMITTEE'S WORK, PLEASE
>WRITE TO, Rushdie Defense Committee, PEN American Center, 568
>Broadway, Suite 401, New York, NY 10012