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The recent death of Salman Rushdie

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

Sir #SalmanRushdie has been recovering after the violent attack he suffered in western New York. The perpetrator, 24-year-old Hadi Matar from New Jersey, stabbed Rushdie roughly 10 times, extensively damaging at least his eye, arm, and liver. Audience members restrained the attacker, who continued with his murderous efforts and were able to ascertain that the author still had a pulse.⁣

After undergoing emergency surgery, Rushdie's agent Andrew Wylie informed that his client's condition was "not good," summarising that he "will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was stabbed and damaged."⁣

However, on Sunday 14th, the author's son Zafar Rushdie stated, "[t]hough his life-changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty and defiant sense of humor remains intact."⁣

Although officials have not yet revealed the motive behind this man's violent act, it is a well-known fact that Rushdie has endured decades of threats due to his writing—not the less serious of which was Iranian first supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa, effectively a death sentence, in 1989 after the publication of ‘The Satanic Verses’.⁣

Despite living in hiding for 10 years following Khomeini's fatwa, Rushdie reappeared in public, saying, "I wanted to prove to myself that I could absorb what has happened to me and transcend it. And now, at least, I feel that I have."⁣

Considered "a hated apostate" by the people whose history, identity, and trauma he writes and advocates, Rushdie has continued to defend freedom of expression, accountability, and the revisiting of history by the coloniser and the colonised alike.⁣

His second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), was awarded the Booker Prize the year of its publication and the "Booker of Bookers" Prize in 1993, which commemorated the award's 25th anniversary. The novel deals with the consequences of India's Independence from British rule and the concurring Partition that created the modern state of Pakistan.⁣

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