Writers, friends rally in support of Salman Rushdie, read from his works at New York Public Library solidarity event
Writers, friends rally in support of Salman Rushdie, read from his works at New York Public Library solidarity event

Writers, friends rally in support of Salman Rushdie, read from his works at New York Public Library solidarity event

The event was hosted exactly one week after Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and stomach on stage in front of a stunned audience by 24-year-old New Jersey man Hadi Matar.

People hold signs as they gather on the steps of the New York Public Library to show their support for Salman Rushdie on August 19, 2022 in New York City. New York’s literary community gathered at the New York Public Library in solidarity with Salman Rushdie, a week after he was attacked and stabbed multiple times while giving a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution. His attacker pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

By: Melvin Samuel

A week after author Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage at a literary event, writers and friends of the Mumbai-born author gathered here at the New York Public Library and read from his works in solidarity with him and relentless advocacy for free speech.

The literary and advocacy group PEN America, which Rushdie had led as president, his publisher Penguin Random House, the New York Public Library and the House of SpeakEasy hosted Stand With Salman: Defend the Freedom to Write,’ a special event on Friday of solidarity that brought together authors, activists and friends in support of Rushdie.

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Authors, writers, artists and members of the literary community including Tina Brown, Kiran Desai, Aasif Mandvi and Reginald Dwayne Betts read from some of Rushdie’s most famous works and wished the 75-year-old Booker Prize winner a quick recovery.

PEN said through the event that writers around the world stand in solidarity with Rushdie and “celebrate his tireless advocacy for freedom of expression and the plight of writers at risk around the globe.

The event was hosted exactly one week after Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and stomach on stage in front of a stunned audience by 24-year-old New Jersey man Hadi Matar, before The Satanic Verses author was about to speak at a Chautauqua event. Western New York institution.

Rushdie, the controversial Mumbai-born author who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing The Satanic Verses, was flown to a local trauma center and put on a ventilator and underwent several hours of surgery surgical.

When an alleged murderer plunged a knife into Salman Rushdie’s throat, it pierced more than the flesh of a renowned writer. He traversed time, shaking us all to recognize that the horror of the past haunts the present, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said at the event’s opening.

She said Rushdie was a constant and tireless champion of words and writers under attack for the alleged crime of their work. Today, we will celebrate Salman for what he endured, but more importantly, for what spawned the stories, characters, metaphors and images he gave the world.”

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Two days after the attack, his son Zafar Rushdie said in a statement that his family was extremely relieved that Rushdie had been taken off the ventilator and supplemental oxygen and was able to say a few words.

“Following the attack on Friday, my father remains in critical condition in hospital receiving extensive medical treatment, the statement said. Although his life-changing injuries are serious, his usual defiant and defiant sense of humor remains intact, he said.

Matar was arrested and charged with attempted murder and second-degree assault. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains in the Chautauqua County Jail.

PEN America said that in addition to the rally in Manhattan, public readings of Rushdie’s works were encouraged around the globe, as well as online, with the hashtag #StandWithSalman, to remind Rushdie of both the affection that writers and readers have for him, as well as their solidarity with the unceasing. belief in the right of writers to create without fear of reprisals.

Nossel said in a statement that Rushdie was both an author of unparalleled distinction and a relentless champion of free expression, using his voice to support at-risk writers and intellectuals around the globe for decades. We are shaken to the core by this serious assault, which reminds us all that our rights and freedoms are more precarious than we care to admit.

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The outpouring of support for Salman from leaders, friends, admirers and readers around the world has the potential to fuel a watershed moment for the freedom to write, a cause that is synonymous with Salman’s life and work. We gather as friends, associates and admirers to amplify Salman’s words and convey our warm wishes, but also to stand up for principles that will not be extinguished by violence.

Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, said in a statement that Rushdie’s voice and literary works are inextricably linked to the promotion of freedom of expression, and the attack on him is a horrific and unacceptable act of violence.

As publishers, we have a collective responsibility to support writers whose books and ideas ensure an open and ever-evolving society. It is our honor to publish Salman’s prolific works and to stand with him and the entire literary community as we remind the world of the power and necessity of the written word.

(PTI)