For the sake of provocation
An item in the news this week contained the hype about a theatre in Potsdam, in the former East Germany, where racism continues to thrive, was staging the first stage play of Rushdie's Satanic Voices, the book that Roald Dahl considered unreadable. This was followed up by further news articles in the mainstream media that the play was performed without violent incident. Much to the regret of the theatre, I suppose, who had probably hoped to ride to fame on the controversy as Rushdie did aforetime.
On the trail of the republication of the Danish cartoons insulting the prophet Muhammad, the Dutch release of an anti-Islamic film and the Pope's very public baptism of an Egyptian anti-Islamic journalist in Italy one wonders whether there is a concerted effort to stir up troubles, and I am glad that Muslims have matured and did not respond as expected.
We indicated long ago in the book "Satanic Voices", our response to "Satanic Verses", that Rushdie was not acting alone but on the behest of "Satanic Presses" and "Satanic Purses". Islam is dangerous because in its opposition to lending money at interest it poses a challenge to the primacy of banks, a message becoming ever more potent during the current credit crisis.
These days poor writing and shabby expressions of hatred are elevated to art form when they malign the Muslim enemy. Anything to make Muslims look bad is good in the eyes of the media and politicians. However, their sword has become blunt.
The French author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery, best known in the UK for the story "The Little Prince", sums it up beautifully in his magnus opum "Citadel" (Wisdom of the Sands), doubtlessly inspired by his encounter with Islam:
"Whence I was led to reflect on those who consume more than they bestow. Thus it is with the lies of the rulers of a nation; for the efficacy and power of their words reside in men's belief in what they tell. True, much may be achieved by lies; yet when I lie I blunt my weapon in the using of it. And, though I may begin by besting my opponent, there comes a day when I must face him, weaponless.
A like case is that of the poet who makes his effects by playing traitor to the time-proved rules; for scandalizing, too, is a technique. But such a man is an ill-doer. He shatters for his personal ends a vase containing an age-old treasure, common to all. In order to express himself, he ruins the possibilities of expression for others; like one who, to light his path, should set fire to the forest, leaving nothing but ashes and charred embers for the rest of men. Moreover, when once grammatical mistakes have become the rule, I can no longer scandalize or startle. But also, by the same token, I am unable to express myself in the beauty of the oldtime style, for I have made havoc of its usages and ruled out the mutual understanding, the signs and symbols, the speaking glances that are a code built up from generation to generation and that enable me to transmit my thought down to its subtlest shades. I shall have expressed myself, perhaps - but at the cost of ruining my instrument, and others', too."
So all the supporters of Rushdie and Co. have done is to destroy the integrity of literature and art. Shocking Muslims into a response no longer works. And the day may well be near where the rulers' lies are no longer believed and they face their opponents weaponless.