Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie

A Line Had to be Defended

"It wasn't only about me. It was a moment, when a line had to be held when you could not concede the fight", says the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie, in this outtake from a longer interview about his life and work.

And Rushdie continues: "The reason why we managed to defend the book was that very widespread belief that it had to happen - not so much for the book itself, but for this old reason: the freedom of speech. People, whom I had never met, went to battle for me - booksellers, publishers, ordinary people, who bought the book as an act of support and solidarity. That was their way of saying: I am on your side."

"Mostly in those years, I was touched and impressed by the degree of solidarity, that there was. Mostly! There are always some people who fall short of what your expectation is. The great mass of writers and book-world-people understood, that something serious was at stake, in which they all were implicated. Politicans as often came very late to the party."

And Rushdie continues: "I feel very proud to be part of this resistance. Today people are much weaker. I wonder if such an act of collective solidarity would ever happen again. We have fallen a long way short of the strength that people collectively showed in the late 80's and early 90's."

Salman Rushdie (b. 1947) was born in Mumbay and is the author of worldwide bestellers like Midnight's Children and The Satanic Verses. The latter caused fierce protests in the Muslim world. Death threats were made against Rushdie, including a fatwa issued by the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini on 14 February 1989. In his latest autobiographical novel, Joseph Anton: A Memoir, Rushdie reflects upon his decade of hiding.

Salman Rushdie was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner.

Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014

Supported by Nordea Fonden

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