Salman Rushdie on Charlie Hebdo: freedom of speech can only be absolute
The author Salman Rushdie, who lived for years under a death threat after his 1988 book The Satanic Verses drew the wrath of Iranian religious leaders, has spoken of his anger that 12 murdered Charlie Hebdo staff have been “vilified and called racists”.
Following a speech at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Rushdie was asked about the killings last week at the Paris satirical magazine. He said he was angered that, in the aftermath of the shootings by Islamic extremists, some from both the left and the right began to vilify the victims.
“The French satirical tradition has always been very pointed and very harsh, and still is, you know,” Rushdie said. “The thing that I really resent is the way in which these, our dead comrades … who died using the same implement that I use, which is a pen or pencil, have been almost immediately vilified and called racists and I don’t know what else.”
He said some believed speech should be free but should not upset anyone or go too far. “Both John F Kennedy and Nelson Mandela use the same three-word phrase which in my mind says it all, which is, ‘Freedom is indivisible,’” he said. “You can’t slice it up otherwise it ceases to be freedom. You can dislike Charlie Hedbo … But the fact that you dislike them has nothing to do with their right to speak.”
full article: theguardian.com