Should the Nobel Prize in Literature, the highest international award, be awarded to Salman Rushdie, who has just been the victim of an Islamist attack?
This is Bernard-Henri Lévy’s idea.
It’s a good idea because it would send a clear message to the fundamentalists: We honor the very ones you hate.
At the same time, it can be seen as a bad idea, since normally a literary prize should only be awarded based on literary quality criteria.
But are we really living in “normal times”?
I was very moved to read it JDD (Sunday newspaper) the platform of French philosopher BHL, who has defended Rushdie, his friend, for 33 years.
He advocates that Rushdie receive the Nobel Prize, which must be awarded in October, although it is known that the finalists have been selected since May.
“This writer, who was punished for writing free texts that make people free for thirty years, deserves redress,” writes Lévy.
Imagine the masterful message, the symbolic middle finger, the monumental snub it would represent as we give this supreme acknowledgment to Rushdie, the ‘death row’ man who has lived in ‘a prison without a wall’ for 33 years with great fanfare would.
Respond to a fatwa with “Hey you! responding to the knife with the pen, to the wave of hate with a wave of love, to violence with appreciation, that would be great!
At first I was torn about this BHL idea. After all, I don’t want a film to win an Oscar just because its director is a victim. Except that Rushdie’s case is the symbol of something bigger, affecting all creators, affecting all of us.
As Lévy says in his text: “This act of absolute terror, which, beyond his stabbed body and his books, is a terror to all the books and all the words in the world, requires a brilliant response”.
By attacking Rushdie, the fanatics attack all the writers in the world. By legitimizing violence against “inconvenient words,” we trivialize violence against all writers of “forbidden words.”
ALL CONDITIONED TO DEATH
After my Monday column on Salman Rushdie, I read some comments that suggested between the lines that the author of the satanic verses was looking for it a bit.
If Rushdie is attacked for his writings, can you explain to me why the Bataclan viewers were murdered? What had they done to piss off the fanatics?
We need to re-read what Salman Rushdie said in that Journal of Philosophy in 2017…
“The reality is that we all have a fatwa against us. We, who want to exercise freedom of speech, want the opportunity not to believe, to live a free life, to drink a glass of wine on a café terrace and listen to music; but also all the women who don’t want to wear a veil or live under the domination of men…” affirmed Salman Rushdie.
“We have all been sentenced to death by the fanatics.”
Does that last sentence send shivers down your spine?