Thursday 21 June 2007

Arise! Sir Satanic - Oops! Salman

Burn baby burn

Effigy burning season has started again in those cool Muslim cities where feeble sensibilities have been so hurt that civil unrest fills the streets far from the source of opprobrium.

Was it the cartoons in Denmark, the Pope's speech in Germany or now, a knighthood honour in Britain; there appears to be a pressure cooker about to explode or a tinder box about to be ignited, fires burn in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and any other Mohammedan conurbation - fuelled by unscrupulous leaders of the religion who advocate unacceptable uncivilised reactions to be carried out by illiterate people who are lead to believe there is reward in committing crimes in the name of religious honour, here and in the hereafter.

I really tire of the way people flock to a cause without reasoning why. It is doubtful that a majority of the people who take offence at the subject have bothered to leaf through the forbidden tome before some "so-called" scholar adopts an interpretation for discord.

Not for honour not to dishonour

However, back home where the Queen honours her subjects on her birthday in the Birthday Honours List, the honour is usually in the gift of the Queen or at the behest of her government but this is after vetting by an honours committee and the litmus test of government approval.

One can only consider it dereliction of duty, if not naivety, to have not realised that any honour awarded to Salman Rushdie would have excited the passions of many who cannot be persuaded to be objective to the point of causing a diplomatic row.

In literary circles, Mr. Rushdie has received many honours but not to the extent of bagging the Nobel Prize - this might be for so many reasons, like others who are more deserving and many more who have not used the pen to cause so much offence skirting the limits of civil responsibility by their insensitive exercise of the freedom of expression.

How that now becomes a service to literature escapes me, in fact, a knighthood in the services to football to David Beckham would have created a lot less controversy and probably adulation for those whose indolence affords them time to burn effigies. If this knighthood had been awarded after a Nobel honour, the shock might have been shared and absorbed.

Books amiss

This is a sorry state of affairs and to have attached this to the Queen's Birthday Honours list rather than the Prime Minister's retirement list is unfortunate, as it is causing a rumpus in Tony Blair's dying cabinet and unnecessarily perturbing the ground under her feet.

In my view, along with a profuse apology to the Muslims, even though there is really no one who speaks for Muslims as a whole and commiserations to Salman Rushdie, this knighthood should go into abeyance.

Like the cartoon on the front page of the business pages of the Daily Telegraph today indicates; this decision might have come about in the clichéd smoke-filled rooms, but with the ban on smoking coming into effect in July, fresh air might just be what these almost corrupt, probably insensitive, secret chamber freemason-like committees need to arrive at more commendable decisions about who is really deserving of honour.

Meanwhile, Midnight Children have heard too much from Satanic Verses, if there be no Shame, there is enough division between East-West, but let the Moor's last sigh be greeted with order being restored and inflammatory statements being curtailed.

Arise! Sir Satanic, just before the sword is swung swiftly in the horizontal plane and peace reigns on earth.


Blogs on Muslim unrest

In search of a humorous God

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