Article raises memories of Satanic Verses
Re: “Rushdie deals an electioneering Joker,” Sept. 14. The article on Salman Rushdie’s The Golden House reminded me of that other Rushdie shaking of the literary tree, The Satanic Verses, circa 1988.
The fatwah had just been issued, I was part of PEN and the Writers Union, a week had passed and no protest of this abominable Iranian action had come from those bodies or the Canadian government. However, the Coles Books chain had refused to stock the novel because of fear that a store might be bombed. The local Victoria branch people did not have that fear.
In a Quixotic fit of pique, I decided to read the most theologically offensive passages of Satanic Verses aloud on the sidewalk outside the store at the corner of Yates and Douglas. I invited the local press to attend; your paper and local TV did, but the CBC declined, saying that the fatwah affair had already — after one week — had enough publicity.
My small stand did nothing, of course, but after, the Writers Union found the courage to speak up. And speaking of courage, while it didn’t take much then, I would not impose the risk of reprisal against my family in today’s climate. David Gurr Victoria