Imaginary homelands essa.., p.43

Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991, page 43

 

Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991
 



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  ‘Free speech is a non-starter,’ says one of my Islamic extremist opponents. No, sir, it is not. Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.

  That’s the end of my speech from this ailing balloon. Now it’s time to answer the question. What is my single life worth?

  Is it worth more or less than the fat contracts and political treaties that are in here with me? Is it worth more or less than good relations with a country which, in April 1991, gave 800 women seventy-four lashes each for not wearing a veil; in which the eighty-year-old writer Mariam Firouz is still in jail, and has been tortured; and whose Foreign Minister says, in response to criticism of his country’s lamentable human rights record, ‘International monitoring of the human rights situation in Iran should not continue indefinitely … Iran could not tolerate such monitoring for long’?

  You must decide what you think a friend is worth to his friends, what you think a son is worth to his mother, or a father to his son. You must decide what a man’s conscience and heart and soul are worth. You must decide what you think a writer is worth, what value you place on a maker of stories, and an arguer with the world.

  Ladies and gentlemen, the balloon is sinking into the abyss.

  1991

 


 

  Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991

  (Series: # )

 

 


 

 
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