Oh god, here we go again.
Pakistani lawmakers passed a government-backed resolution Monday demanding Britain withdraw the knighthood awarded to author Salman Rushdie, condemning the honour as an insult to the religious sentiments of Muslims. In the eastern city of Multan, hard-line Muslim students burned effigies of Queen Elizabeth II and Rushdie. About 100 students carrying banners condemning the author also chanted, “Kill him! Kill him!”
Sheesh. Maybe Musharraf should sort his own problems out before telling others what to do. What’s interesting though, as a friend who called me and said just now, is that British Muslim orgs have been remarkably quiet on this issue given the MCB came about thanks to Rushdie. I think it may be a sign of their political maturity (however negligible that may be), that they’ve realised there’s little to be gained from dredging this up all over again. Or have I spoken too soon? Let’s see.
Let me repeat what I said at the beginning: Britain isn’t Nazi Germany. The British Empire isn’t the Third Reich. But in Germany, after the fall of Hitler, heroic attempts were made by the people to purify German thought and the German language of the pollution of Nazism. Such acts of cleansing are occasionally necessary in every society. But British thought, British society, has never been cleansed of the filth of imperialism. It’s still there, breeding lice and vermin, waiting for unscrupulous people to exploit it for their own ends.
That was Salman Rushdie in 1982. No wonder Priyamvada Gopal was annoyed.
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