Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Mr Rushdie

Congratulations on still being alive.

It was twenty years ago today- February 14th 1989- the Ayatollah Cockamamie issued the fatwa calling on all good adherents of the Religion of Peace to kill this guy over his book, The Satanic Verses. Fortunately, he's still alive and kicking.
I own a copy of the book and have read it four times over the years. Unlike some, who call it "largely unreadable" and such (I suspect an element of ass-covering), I think its a tremendous book, one of Rushdie's best (I've read most of his stuff). I love his playful use of language and I find his story-telling engrossing.

"Now that I am dead I have forgotten how to forgive. I curse you, my Gibreel, may your life be hell. Hell, because that's where you came from, devil, where you're going, sucker, enjoy the bloody dip. Rekha's curse; and after that, verses in a language he did not understand, all harshness and sibilance, in which he thought he made out, but maybe not, the repeated name Al-Lat."

Maybe it helps to have a handle on the Koran and Hadiths. The title, of course, is apparently as much a part of the "insults to Islam" as anything, referring as it does to the not really halal to mention original (Satan's, allegedly) version of Sura 53:

Have you thought of Al-Lat, al-'Uzza and Manat the third, the other?
These are the exalted Gharaniq, whose intercession is hoped for.
Sura Al-Najm (Q.53)

Live long and prosper, Mr Rushdie.


Laila said...

Has it been that long already? I was but a youn woman in my graduating year of highschool,and bearing the wonderful monikers of Geek and Big moose. Geek because I actually read this book and discussed it with my Lit teacher during classtime, and Big moose because I was taller than anyone in the entire school...

Ahh... brings me back to the good old days, this post. A fine read even for those without a handle on the Koran, and one still worth the time.

David in North Burnaby BC said...

Hmmm, geek, geek ... Isn't that Urdu for "she who fears not a fatwa?"
Its something like that, I'm sure. ;-)