Arts & Culture
Author Of Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie, Stabbed In New York
Author Salman Rushdie has been airlifted to hospital after being stabbed up to 15 times, including once in the neck, as he prepared to give a speech in upstate New York.
The writer, 75, was attacked as he was being introduced to the stage for the CHQ 2022 event in Chautauqua, near Buffalo, on Friday morning.
Witnesses claim that Rushdie was stabbed ten to fifteen times, as a man approached him from behind before rushing the stage.
He was attending for a discussion of the United States as asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression.
Witnesses claimed that his attacker managed to walk off the stage after the stabbing, before being restrained, as people rushed to assist Rushdie – who had been seated when he was assaulted.
Blood was spattered on the wall behind where Rushdie had been attacked, with some also seen on a chair that he had been sitting on.
His current condition is not known, and a man has been arrested by New York state troopers. The interviewer speaking to Rushdie also suffered a minor head injury.
Governor Kathy Hochul called the attack on Rushdie ‘heartbreaking’ before confirming that he is ‘alive’, during and unrelated press conference.
She added that he is ‘getting the care he needs at a local hospital’, and that a state police trooper ‘stood up and saved his life’ after the attack.
One witness told the New York Times that Rushdie had been stabbed ‘multiple times’ and had been lying in a pool of his own blood.
Rita Landman offered her assistance after the incident, adding that he appeared to be alive and did not receive CPR.
Landman said: ‘People were saying, ‘He has a pulse, he has a pulse he has a pulse.’
Roger Warner of Cleveland, Ohio, was sitting on the front row when the attack took place, adding: ‘He was covered with blood and there was blood running down onto the floor.
‘I just saw blood all around his eyes and running down his cheek.’
Rushdie’s London-based son Zafar, 42, is aware of the incident and his father has been seen being transported by air ambulance after the attack.
Thousands of people in the audience gasped at the sight of the attack and were then evacuated as his alleged attacker was taken into custody.
John Bulette, 85, who witnessed the attack said: ‘There was a huge security lapse. That somebody could get that close without any intervention was frightening.’
An usher at the amphitheater claims that the security at the Institution was ‘lax’ and that no additional measures were in place for Mr Rushdie’s visit.
Kyle Doershuk, 20, said: ‘It’s very open, it’s very accessible, it’s a very relaxed environment, in my opinion something like this was just waiting to happen.’
A Chautauqua Institution spokesperson added: ‘We are dealing with an emergency situation. I can share no further details at this time.’
Rabbi Charles Savenor claims that the entire attack lasted around 20 seconds.
He said: ‘This guy ran on to platform and started pounding on Mr. Rushdie. At first you’re like, “What’s going on?’”
And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten.’
A representative for the Iranian interests section at the embassy of Pakistan in Washington D.C. declined to comment on the attack.
The embassy diplomatically represents the government of Iran in the United States.
They told the New York Times ‘we are not getting involved in this’, before hanging up and refusing to give a name.
New York State Police said in a statement: ‘On August 12, 2022, at about 11 am, a male suspect ran up onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and an interviewer.
‘Rushdie suffered an apparent stab wound to the neck and was transported by helicopter to an area hospital.
‘His condition is not yet known. The interviewer suffered a minor head injury.
‘A State Trooper assigned to the event immediately took the suspect into custody. The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office assisted at the scene.’
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘Appalled that Sir Salman Rushdie has been stabbed while exercising a right we should never cease to defend.
‘Right now my thoughts are with his loved ones. We are all hoping he is okay.’
The author was knighted in 2007 in Britain ‘for services to literature’ by his friend, then Prime Minister Tony Blair.
His last piece of writing was about an assassination attempt, serializing a novella called The Seventh Wave on Sub Stack, which appeared to focus on spies and assassinations.
Rushdie has previously received death threats for his writing, with his book the Satanic Verses which supposedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed and The Koran.
He wrote the Satanic Verses, which resulted in a culture war being sparked in 1988 in Britain – with protests taking place in the UK along with book burnings.
Pakistan banned the book, and he was issued a fatwa – a death sentence – by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989.
Khomeini called for the death of Rushdie and his publishers, and also called for Muslims to point him out to those who could kill him if they could not themselves.
The fatwa, or ‘spiritual opinion’, followed a wave of book burnings in Britain and rioting across the Muslim world which lead to the deaths of 60 people and hundreds being injured.
Rushdie was put under round-the-clock security from 1989 to 2002, at the expense of the British taxpayer, when a $3million bounty was put on his head.
He was forced to go into hiding for a decade with police protection, and previously said he received a ‘sort of Valentines card’ from Iran each year letting him know the country has not forgotten the vow to kill him.
In 2012, a semi-official Iranian religious foundation raised the bounty for Rushdie from $2.8 million to $3.3 million.
After the attack Rushdie, who moved to the US in 2000, was quickly surrounded by a small group of people who held up his legs, presumably to send more blood to his chest.
The author previously complained about having ‘too much’ security while attending other events.
He told reporters a the Prague Writer’s Festival: ‘To be here and to find a large security operation around me has actually felt a little embarrassing.
‘I thought it was really unnecessary and kind of excessive and was certainly not arranged on my request.
‘I spent a great deal of time before I came here saying that I really didn’t want that.
‘So I was very surprised to arrive here and discover a really quite substantial operation, because it felt like being in a time warp, that I had gone back in time several years.’
Rushdie is a former president of PEN America, with their current CEO Suzanne Nossel issuing a statement which said: ‘PEN America is reeling from shock and horror at word of a brutal, premeditated attack on our former President and stalwart ally, Salman Rushdie, who was reportedly stabbed multiple times while on stage speaking at the Chautauqua Institute in upstate New York.
‘We can think of no comparable incident of a public violent attack on a literary writer on American soil.
‘Just hours before the attack, on Friday morning Salman had emailed me to help with placements for Ukrainian writers in need of safe refuge from the grave perils they face.
Salman Rushdie has been targeted for his words for decades but has never flinched nor faltered. He has devoted tireless energy to assisting others who are vulnerable and menaced.
‘While we do not know the origins or motives of this savage attack, all those around the world who have met words with violence or called for the same are culpable for legitimizing this an assault on a writer while he was engaged in his essential work of connecting to readers.
‘Our thoughts and passions now lie with our dauntless Salman, wishing him a full and speedy recovery.
‘We hope and believe fervently that his essential voice cannot and will not be silenced.’
Hitoshi Igarashi, who translated The Satanic Verses into Japanese for Rushdie, was stabbed to death on the campus where he taught literature.
Ettore Capriolo, the Italian translator of the book, was knifed in his apartment in Milan.
The novel’s Norwegian publisher William Nygaard, was shot three times outside his home and left for dead in October 1993, but survived the attack.
In Turkey, the book’s translator, Aziz Nesin, was the target of an arson attack on a hotel that killed 37.
Rushdie previously wrote a 655-page fatwa memoir, which was nominated for the UK’s top non- fiction award, the Samuel Johnson prize.
During the fatwa he lived in permanent terror and at one point thought his ex-wife Clarissa Luard and their son Zafar, who was nine at the time, had been killed by assassins or kidnapped.
In 1998 Iran’s reformist president relaxed the fatwa and said it had no intention of tracking Rushdie down and killing him.
Technically it still stands but is unlikely to be enforced.
The Index on Censorship, an organization promoting free expression, said money was raised to boost the reward for his killing as recently as 2016, underscoring that the fatwa for his death still stands.
He has has two children from his four marriages – his other son is called Milan – but has been linked with many other women including Indian model Riya Sen.
Prince Charles also reportedly refused to support the author during his fatwa because he thought the book was offensive to Muslims.
In an article for Vanity Fair magazine, Martin Amis claimed that the Prince’s views caused a row at a dinner party after Rushdie was issued with the death sentence by Islamic clerics in 1989.
Amis claims that Charles told him that he would not offer support ‘if someone insults someone else’s deepest convictions’.
Amis remonstrated with him but all Charles did was ‘take it on board’, even though Rushdie is a British-Indian citizen.
Fellow author Stephen King also refused to let stores in America sell his books if they refused to carry The Satanic Verses.
Rushdie has spoken at the Chautauqua Institution before, which is based about 55 miles southwest of Buffalo in a rural corner of New York.
It is known for its summertime lecture series.
Rushdie has been married four times and had a string of high-profile romances that included Padma Lakshmi, Olivia Wide, and models decades younger than him.
He met his first wife, Clarissa Luard, at a pop concert in the UK in 1969, with the couple marrying in 1976 and having their son Zafar three years later.
Although they divorced in 1987, they remained close friends, and Rushdie reportedly stayed by her side when she died from breast cancer at age 50 in 1999.
By the time Luard passed, Rushdie had already been married twice. He tied the knot Pulitzer Prize finalist Marianne Wiggins, an American, in 1988 and then to editor Elizabeth West in 1997.
Rushdie was with Wiggins when he faced backlash over The Satanic Verses, with Rushdie saying that he heard criticisms that his ‘Jewish wife’ made him write it.
‘At its most unpleasant it was levelled at me from the Islamic side that the Jews made me do it,’ Rushdie said. ‘They said my [second] wife was Jewish. She wasn’t, she was American.’
Wiggins spent some time in hiding even after the couple divorced in 1993, and the following year, Rushdie married Elizabeth West, and the two had a son, Milan, in 1999.
Rushdie had previously said that he and West, an author and editor, began growing apart when he wanted to move to the US and she wanted to stay in the UK and have another child.
Following a miscarriage, the couple officially split in 2004.
Following the split from West, Rushdie immediately dove into the world of pop celebrities, marrying model turned Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi in 2004.
The two had met back in 1999 at a lavish New York City party thrown by media queen Tina Brown. Lakshmi alleges that the two had an affair during the party, and that Rushdie promised to be with her once his rocky marriage to West concludes.
Rushdie’s 2001 novel, Fury, was dedicated to Lakshmi. At the time of the wedding, Lakshmi was 28, while Rushdie was 51.
While Rushdie’s previous marriages lasted more than a decade, his union with Lakshmi only lasted three years, with the novelist bemoaning her in his memoir as a ‘bad investment’ who overly narcissistic and ambitious.
Lakshmi hit back at Rushdie in her own memoirs, calling him ‘sexually needy’ and insensitive to her endometriosis.
How Salman Rushdie lived under the shadow of a fatwa for 30 years: British author went into hiding when Iran’s spiritual leader ordered he was killed for ‘blasphemous’ The Satanic Verses but he was living a ‘normal life’ in New York before his stabbing
BY JACK WRIGHT
He was first forced into hiding more than 30 years ago by Iran’s theocratic dictatorship after the regime branded The Satanic Verses a work of blasphemy.
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From ever-changing safe houses, constant armed guards and a new identity, to finally finding a new home in the US, British author Salman Rushdie has now been stabbed in the neck on stage in New York – the supposed beating heart of free speech and culture.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Supreme Leader of the Islamic republic, issued a fatwa – or religious ruling – calling on all Muslims to murder the celebrated atheist author and anyone involved in the publication of The Satanic Verses on February 14, 1989.
Rushdie, now 75, was forced to live under the long shadow the fatwa cast until it was finally lifted by Iran’s hardline regime in 1998.
But for nine years, the writer constantly between safe houses and was protected by round-the-clock armed guards. He even adopted an alias, Joseph Anton – a combination of the first names of two of his favourite writers, Conrad and Chekhov.
The fatwa also led to the murder of the book’s Japanese translator Hitoshi Igarashi, the targeting of its translators and publishers in Turkey, Norway and Italy, and worldwide riots and book-burnings – while The Satanic Verses itself was banned in many countries.
Speaking about the controversy with the Mail, Sir Salman said: ‘Being under the fatwa was a jail, but I think that one of the problems is that from the outside it looked glamorous, as I sometimes showed up in places in Jags with people jumping out to open the door and make sure you get in safely and so on. Looks of who the hell does he think he is? Well, from my side it felt like jail.
‘There was this crude argument that I did it in some way for personal advantage, to make myself more famous or to make money. At its most unpleasant it was levelled at me from the Islamic side that the Jews made me do it. They said my [second] wife was Jewish. She wasn’t, she was American.
‘If I had simply wanted to trade on an insult to Islam I could have done it in a sentence rather than writing a 250,000-word novel, a work of fiction.’
‘What you have to remember is that The Satanic Verses is not called Islam the Prophet, it is not called Mohammed, the country is not called Arabia – it all happens in the dream of somebody who is losing their mind.’
What still shocks him is that no radical Muslims in Britain who backed the call for his assassination were ever prosecuted.
‘There were these occasions, like in Manchester, where Muslim leaders said to their congregation, ‘Tell me who in this audience would be ready to kill Rushdie?’ and everyone in the audience raised their hand. And the police thought this was OK.’
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He says: ‘Supposing I had been the Queen and an imam said to his congregation, ‘Who would be ready to kill the Queen?’ and everybody raised their hand. Would you think the police would not act?
‘I only use the Queen as an example to dramatize this but it seems odd that when it is a novelist of foreign origin, therefore not completely British in some way, that it was allowed to happen with impunity.’
Rushdie remembers his split from his wife Marianne as being a particularly traumatic time. She claimed that the CIA was aware of Rushdie’s whereabouts and so his cover was blown. When he realized that she was lying he decided to end the relationship.
‘It was very shocking. There simply was a point at which I had to choose whether to be alone in the middle of this hurricane with nobody there for companionship or whether I somehow had to put up with this person in whom it was difficult to have faith.
‘It was horrifying to be told by a policeman that they believed that your wife was lying to you. It is an experience most of us don’t have. And then for her to say that it was the police who were to be blamed and that I shouldn’t trust them sets a kind of mindf*** and I had to make my judgments.
‘It became impossible for me to have faith in her veracity. So in the end I thought it was better to separate.’
In an interview three years ago, he said: ‘Islam was not a thing. No one was thinking in that way. One of the things that has happened is that people in the West are more informed than they used to be’.
He ruefully added: ‘I was 41 back then, now I am 71. Things are fine now. We live in a world where the subject changes very fast. And this is a very old subject. There are now many other things to be frightened about – and other people to kill’.
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Arts & Culture
Toyin Falola, Memories Of Africa: Home And Abroad In The United States
By Olusegun Olopade
Toyin Falola, Memories of Africa: Home and Abroad in the United States (Atlantic Migrations and the African Diaspora) | © March 2023
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (March 24, 2023)
Paperback: 256 pages
Memories of Africa: Home and Abroad in the United States suggests a new lens for viewing African Diaspora studies: the experiences of African memoirists who live in the United States. The book shows how African Diaspora memoirs beautifully and grippingly depict the experiences of African migrants over time through political, social, and cultural spheres. In reading African Diaspora memoirs from the transatlantic slave trade period to the present, a reader can understand the complexity of the African migrant legacy and evolution.
Author Toyin Falola argues that memoirs are significant not only in their interpretation of events conveyed by the memoirists but also in demonstrating how interpersonal and human the stories told can be. Memoirs are powerful because they are emotionally captivating and because important themes and events circulate around a particular person (in this case, the memoirist).
Undoubtedly, a memoir is significant because it can teach anyone about a part of the human experience, even if the “facts” are not described without bias. Through this sort of narrative, the reader cannot help but enter into the memoirist’s mind and, therefore, feel more empathy for them. In doing so, the reader can “feel” what the memoirist feels and “see” what the memoirist sees as clearly as is humanly possible. In this way, the historical events and life lessons become tangible and poignantly real to the reader.
Memories of Africa makes a significant contribution to the study of the African Diaspora, African intellectual history, to our understanding of African autobiography, and more importantly to life studies. Falola provides fresh insights that will reinvigorate the field. — Olabode Ibironke, author of Remapping African Literature.
Memories of Africa opens a new dimension to the understanding of the experiences of home, space, and place, and their interactions in African and diaspora studies. — Adetayo Alabi, author of Oral Forms of Nigerian Autobiography and Life Stories.
Toyin Falola is Professor of History, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, and the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, USA. He has received over thirty lifetime career awards and sixteen honorary doctorates. He has written extensively on the African Diaspora, including The African Diaspora: Slavery, Modernity, and Globalization.
Arts & Culture
12th Toyin Falola Annual International Conference On Africa And The African Diaspora (2023 TOFAC) Set To Hold
Arts & Culture
Kenyatta University Holds Toyin Falola At 70 Conference
The Department of History, Archeology and Political Science of the Kenyatta University is set to hold a Toyin Falola at 70 Conference.
The conference with the theme “Post-Colonial Africa: Historical and Contemporary Realities” is scheduled to take place between May 10 and 12, 2023 at the Kenyatta University.
Modern African economic, socio-cultural, and political realities have been considerably influenced and defined by colonialism. Colonialism created the foundation of the post-colonial. Since the start of the post-colonial and (especially) the post-cold war era, there has been increased academic interest in colonialism– both in the classic and the neo-colonial forms. There have also been considerable academic and non-academic efforts at decoloniality and decolonizing Africa. These efforts have led to studying and documenting African pre-colonial history, literature, and cultural intricacies to achieve self-determination and re-establish the African identity. It is, therefore, necessary and logically consistent with the above to study Africa’s past in relation to its present. Essentially, it is important that aside from examining the print of colonial pedagogy, methods, and philosophies, Africa is studied in the light of its actions, attempts at self-governance, and realities defined by its stakeholders.
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A considerable effort has been directed at researching, documenting, and analyzing Post-colonial Africa across different fields of the Arts and the Humanities. Through such efforts concepts such as neo-colonialism, political hegemony, economic instability, societal disillusionment, administrative lapses among others that touch on the African post-colonial condition have been explored by several researchers and academicians. However, the very basis of the evolution of knowledge and the foundation of the academic world is the consistent evaluation of knowledge, theories, and philosophies. As much as there has been enhanced scholarship around the aforementioned issues, there are still thematically important aspects of Post-Colonial Africa that are relatively unexplored or under-explored. New concepts, skepticism, and relatively new subject matters have developed with the continent’s evolution – particularly concerning socio-culture, administration, globalization, conflicts, diplomacy, and ideological paradigms. For instance, it may be important to define the extent to which pre-colonial Africa influences the post-colonial realities of its nation-states, regions, and Sub-regions, as it applies across respective fields.
Other relevant aspects of the post-colonial African reality like identity dynamics and minority politics, institutions and sub-institutions in Africa, diaspora dynamic, administrative evolution in Africa, Post-colonial gender dynamics in Africa, intercultural realities of distinct nation-states in Africa, cultural awareness, and preservation in Africa, decolonial legal education and practice, ideological politics in post-colonial African, among others. The COVID-19 pandemic presented new dynamics to interpret and understand the place of post-colonial Africa in the world in light of global power politics and diplomatic spate over the causes of COVID-19, vaccine politics, and international travel restrictions. COVID-19 highlighted the need to rethink post-colonial Africa’s readiness to respond to global challenges independently.
The Department of History, Archeology and Political Studies through the Research and Innovation Committee (DRIC) plans to host a conference that is directed at answering the conceptual questions that underline some key aspects of post-colonial Africa – as defined by the necessary contextual factors and underlining theories. The conference is expected to feature different themes and introduce concepts, arguments, and theories that are well-adjusted to current African realities.
The department also wishes to use the occasion to celebrate the 70-year life journey of Professor Toyin Falola, a world renowned Distinguished Professor of History and the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, at the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Falola has dedicated his entire academic life, with over 150 titles under his name, reflecting on the African condition both in historical and contemporary terms. In March 2022, the Department hosted Professor Falola, who gave thought provoking lectures on “Decolonization of Africa Studies”. As a department, we are keen to use the conference to continue enriching our conversations around this and related themes, enhance our scholarly connections and collaborations, establish new research and publication partnerships as well as strengthen existing ones.
The conference sub-themes will include but are not limited to the following:
- Decoloniality, and decolonization, as it intertwines with post-colonial studies
- Internationalization in the African region – key factors for consideration should include Pan-Africanism as examined through the lens of its basis, the status quo, and possible ways forward.
- Post-colonial economy and the role of the nation-state in establishing independent regional control
- Resource control as it affects neo-colonialistic affiliations and European hegemonic influence in Post-colonial Africa
- Liberal ideological predispositions and the socio-philosophical future of the African Nation states – with considerations to the influence of the youth demography
- Developmental politics in Post-colonial Africa
- Gender dynamics and politics in Post-colonial Africa
- Post-colonial Literature and the future of the arts in Africa
- Migration, conflicts, and peace actions in post-colonial Africa
- Regional collaboration and diplomatic politics in Post-Colonial Africa
The conference is expected to attract participation from academicians, researchers, experts and practitioners in the area of African history and other related humanities and social science disciplines. These shall be drawn from mainly Kenyan and other African institutions as well as from outside the Africa continent. The conference will allow for a blended mode where some participants will be present on-site at Kenyatta university while others will present online.
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Prospective participants are encouraged to send abstracts of between 250 and 500 words, including their full contact details (title, name, address, email address and telephone number) as well as their institutional affiliation by 30th February, 2023 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by 5th March 2023 and asked to prepare full papers to be presented during the conference. The official language of the conference will be English. Papers presented at the conference will be peer reviewed and published in an edited volume.
27th January, 2023: Call for Papers/Abstracts
30th February, 2023: Deadline for Receipt of Abstracts
5th March 2023: Notification of Acceptance of Abstracts/Papers
15th April 2023: Deadline for receipt of Full papers
20th April, 2023: Registration begins
1st May, 2023: End of Registration
10th to 12 May 2023: Conference Dates
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