Criticism of the lack of safety at the festival where Salman Rushdie was stabbed

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The author of ‘The Satanic Verses’ remained intubated this Saturday and is in danger of losing an eye, according to his agent

After hours on the operating table, Salman Rushdie remained attached to a respirator this Saturday with serious injuries to his liver and one eye and cut nerves in his arm following a knife attack on Friday as he was about to give a literary lecture. . He suffered deep cuts to his neck and abdomen, and according to his agent Andrew Wylie, the British writer and essayist is likely to lose an eye as a result of this brutal attack in Chautauqua, a pre-eminently rural county in northwestern New York. the Canadian border.

The author of ‘The Satanic Verses’, 75 years old and living in the United States, was stabbed in the neck and stomach just before his conference at the prestigious literary festival for talking about freedom in artistic creation.

As the world reacted with surprise to the news of the attack, new reports indicate that event organizers rejected recommendations to take basic and customary security measures today at these types of public events, such as bag searches and metal detectors, fearing it would change the culture of the festival. Police reported that they assigned a state agent to Rushdie’s conference. He was the one who made the arrest. Still, many in attendance criticized the conference’s lack of tighter security measures, given the decades-long history of threats against the writer, adding to the special moment of racist attacks the United States is currently experiencing.

State police, the FBI and the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office, who are jointly involved in the investigation, have not yet confirmed what type of weapon the suspect used to stab Rushdie. The writer was attacked on the stage of the auditorium while being introduced before speaking at the conference. The attacker tackled Rushdie to the ground and stabbed him 10 to 15 times before being arrested. The moderator of the event, Henry Reese, 73, co-founder of the organization that offers housing to writers under persecution, who was also injured in the attack, suffered a facial injury for which he was treated and later released from the hospital. .

Reese and Rushdie had organized the conference to discuss the United States’ role as a refuge for writers and other artists in exile. The prestigious literary festival this year attracted some 2,500 people, including prominent figures of culture such as David Graves, of ‘The New York Times’, who attended the conference and watched the attacker climb on stage and the author of ‘ Midnight Children’ before being arrested by his assigned police and by members of the public and the organization.

The White House condemned the “terrible” attack on the writer, noting that all members of the Biden-Harris administration are praying for his speedy recovery. Kathy Hochul, governor of New York State, where the events took place, stated that it is important that people feel free to “speak and write the truth.”

Hochul emphasized the easily accessible criteria of the literary festival in Chautauqua, a sleepy rural community where notable figures like Rushdie often speak at summer conferences. The amphitheater where the event is held is a large open-air venue that has hosted cultural events since the late 1800s. Only a pass is required to access the site.

The Democratic governor highlighted the author’s figure as one who has spoken openly and fearlessly to power for decades, despite the threats to his life that have haunted him throughout his adult life.

The world of international culture reacted with shock to the events and praised the writer’s courage. Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN America, a literary organization dedicated to freedom of expression, of which Rushdie chaired for a time, expressed the shock of the literary collective, emphasizing that its “essential voice cannot be silenced.” Norwegian publisher William Nygaard, who was shot and seriously injured in 1993 after publishing ‘The Satanic Verses’, emphasized that the author “paid a very high price to write freely”. “He has done a lot for contemporary literature and had found a good life in the United States,” he added.

Renowned British novelist Ian McEwan described “his dear friend Salman” as a “defender and inspiration to persecuted writers and journalists around the world, a man of immense talent, ardent courage and a generous spirit who will not be deterred.” The long list of prominent writers who have responded to the attack includes Indian Amitav Ghosh, Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro; Indian author and environmentalist Arundhati Roy; and Taslima Nasreen, who was forced to leave Bangladesh after a court decision condemning her novel ‘Shame’ for hurting Muslim religious sentiment.

Source: La Verdad

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