13 October 2006

Johann and Salman

Also in the Independent today is Johann Hari's fantastic interview with Salman Rushdie, discussing the Fatwah, Kashmir, Islamism and The Wests response.

Salman in unsurprisingly unstinting in his condemnation of Islamism and its apologists on the Left;

“What they want is to change the nature of human life on earth into the image of the Taliban. If you want the whole earth to look like Taliban Afghanistan, then you’re on the same side as them. If you don’t want that, you’re not. They do not represent the quest for human justice. That, I think, is one of the great mistakes of the left.”

What makes this interview interesting though, is how critical Rushdie is of the idea that America is any use whatsoever in the fight against Islamism;

“America, like all superpowers, uses only the criterion of self-interest. That’s the way in which a superpower operates. Whether it’s the Soviet Union or the United States. The criterion is what serves the interests of the power. When that coincides with what we call liberal democratic values then, yeah, it will be on that side. But superpowers of every stripe have a history of installing puppets which will serve their interests. Whether it’s in Nicaragua or the Shah of Iran. You can’t look to a superpower as a moral arbiter, because its job is not morality. Its job is the preservation of its sphere of influence.”

Criticism of both American foreign policy and the rise of Islamism isn't something we see very often from UK media pundits, Johann himself excepted of course. How refreshing.

There is also this great comment from Rushdie, which I'm happy to concede I'm including purely to provoke the inevitable offence;

“One of the great untold stories of Al Qaeda is that they are all these men who fuck little boys. They all have these disciples who they’re ostensibly training in the way of the warrior, but they’re also enjoying. For a while, then they go off – and they have their wives and families at home. It’s like Classical Greece.” Does he think Osama Bin Laden has done it? “I wouldn’t like to say,” he says tactfully. “He’s an Arab, he’s not an Afghan. But Mullah Omar, he’s another story…”

Write in and let us know if you have, Osama.

Read the whole interview on Johann's website here



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