Monday, August 29, 2005

Rushdie, Rushdie

'The most striking thing about Shalimar the Clown is its effort - generous, one might say, given Rushdie's background - to paint if not a sympathetic then at least an empathetic portrait of the sort of young men once called upon to kill him', says Emma Brockes in this interview with Salman Rushdie in the Guardian. Says Rushdie: 'There's an argument which is that to humanise [terrorists] is a kind of exoneration. And obviously I don't think that. It's wrong to say that by understanding people you somehow let them off the hook. There was a recent film about the last days of Hitler, Downfall, and it showed all of them, Hitler and Eva Braun etc, as rounded characters, with moments of affection. It kind of makes it worse, when you can see that these are not cartoon villains, but are real people making these hideous decisions. In a way it does the opposite of exonerating them.'

Rushdie clashes with George Galloway in a debate about TV and religion. Galloway cautions about the need to refrain from offending people's beliefs, while Rushdie asks caustically: 'The simple fact is that any system of ideas that decides you have to ringfence it, that you cannot discuss it in fundamental terms, that you can't say that this bit of it is junk, or that bit is oppressive ... we are supposed to respect that?' I have to say I'm with Rushdie on this one.

Thought you should see this, if you haven't already:
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