Well, I mean, DUH. Some of us have been saying it for only about, oh, twenty years or so now.
The thought of it turns the stomach. A man stabbed for writing a book. And not just any man, but Salman Rushdie. The author with the price on his head. The author of the The Satanic Verses, the novel burned by Islamists around the world. The author whose act of ‘blasphemy’ at the tailend of the 20th century showed us just how deep the problem of Islamist intolerance is – and just how deep Western liberal cowardice is in the face of this most violent and unhinged variant of cancel culture.
Rushdie has been leading a relatively free life in recent years. ‘It feels like ancient history to me’, he said of the fatwa in an interview in 2018. He said then he was happy that The Satanic Verses could now be appreciated on its own terms. ‘Now, after all this time, it’s finally been able to have the ordinary life of a book.’ But the threat was always there. While the Iranian government has distanced itself from the fatwa – and is silent on Rushdie today – it remained in place. The $3million bounty was topped up by another $500,000 in 2012, by a ‘quasi-official Iranian religious foundation’.
Now – quite probably – Rushdie has finally paid a most awful price for his right to freedom of expression. One cannot overstate the significance of this. Islamist intolerance has spread like cancer since 1989. Yesterday it may well have come perilously close to chalking up one of its most symbolic victories. The attack is a reminder of how barbaric, backward and yet also pathetic this ideology is. A 75-year-old man stabbed by some scumbag a third of his age. Over offence. Over hurt feelings. Over a book.
More than any other thing, over bloodthirsty, ineducable baboons under the sway of an inflexibly primitive, totalitarian belief system which explicitly injuncts that all non-believers must be either enslaved or murdered by the pseudo-religion’s fanatical adherents.
Enough. We have put up with this evil for far too long.
The Islamist vengeance that Rushdie has suffered shows us where you end up when you abandon free speech. When giving offence becomes a moral crime. When you say that speech is violence. You end up with violence and unreason and terror. So to all those who have looked at their shoelaces as this poison has built up, it is time to pick a side. Those who believe in freedom and humanity need to speak up for Salman Rushdie – and all the other heretics. And do not even think of saying ‘but…’. The attack on Rushdie is an attack on us all. Let’s make freedom of speech, the cause of his life, the cause of our time.
Fine sentiments all, with which no sane, properly Awoke™ Westerner ought to disagree. I’d go him one further: let’s make freedom itself, along with the rights that define our very civilization as codified throughout its long and noble history—from the tenets of Ancient Greece to the Magna Carta to the US Constitution—the cause of ALL time, and shoulder the responsibility of eternal vigilance Jefferson warned would be necessary to defend and maintain it, with all the gratitude and resolve we can muster within ourselves.