More Pressure is Needed to Save Rushdie1
Three years ago, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death sentence against the writer Salman Rushdie shocked the whole world. Yet no effective action was undertaken by anyone, anywhere, to counter this most unprecedented and inhuman "manhunt" of our time. Individuals, of course, demonstrated their indignation as well as their frustration, hoping against all odds that their respective governments would take the appropriate steps to put an immediate stop to this notorious official act of terrorism.
Governments, however, did virtually nothing. They either kept silent or came out with some half-hearted, timid, even embarrassed statements, mildly reproachful toward the Islamic republic of Iran, followed by much more strongly worded warnings aimed at the very victim of that regime, Salman Rushdie, for being disrespectful toward "the Muslim world."
Of which Muslim world were they
thinking, and of which
Indeed, among the three monotheistic
religions, Islam has been at the forefront as far as "heresy" is
concerned; among the Muslim countries,
Thinkers, writers and poets, from Zakaria Razi (Iranian philosopher 865-935) and Omar Khayyam in the 12th Century to Sadegh Hedayat (1903-1951) and Zabih Behrouz (1910-1972) in the 20th, have been tarred with the brush of "blasphemy." Yet the names of the excommunicators (and there have always been a few) have long been forgotten, while the works of Razi, Khayyam, Behrouz, Hedayat and many others are part and parcel of Persian culture.
What also seems to be totally and
universally ignored in the whole affair is the paradox of the ascension of the
mullahs to power in
In spite of all the modern technology and petrodollars at their disposal, and their insistence on Islamic authenticity, the mullahs in Iran have pathetically failed (and will continue to fail) in concocting "Islamic novels", "Islamic films", "Islamic canvases" and "Islamic rhythms." All they are capable of doing with these vast means is to suppress all expression of creative arts.
Each Iranian writer, artist,
journalist or thinker in
Under these terrifying threats,
obviously no one inside
It is high time someone outside
This intolerable death sentence is not only upheld by Khomeini's successors, it is even reinforced; they actually keep raising the price put on Rushdie's head.
Yet all the world's governments,
without exception, turn a blind eye to this fact and repeat parrot-like the
wishful and ridiculous scenario of "moderate mullahs" calling the
The sooner they realise that the ecclesiastics already in power or coming to it despise the profane virtues of moderation and sincerity, the better. If ever governments understood this, one could hope that they would think twice before giving that regime any concessions.