Westport Welcomes Salman Rushdie

In 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini called for the assassination of Salman Rushdie. Iran’s supreme leader decreed that the British Indian author’s 4th novel — The Satanic Verses — blasphemed and mocked Islam.

Rushdie went into hiding, and received police protection. In 1998, President Mohammad Khatami’s government finally said it no longer supported Rushdie’s death — but the fatwa remains in place.

Things should be calm — but very interesting — on Thursday, October 22. Rushdie will be in the Staples High School auditorium at 7:30 that evening, delivering the Westport Library‘s annual Malloy Lecture in the Arts.

Salman Rushdie/© Beowulf Sheehan www.beowulfsheehan.com

Salman Rushdie/© Beowulf Sheehan http://www.beowulfsheehan.com

Rushdie has a lot to talk about. Known now as much for his human rights advocacy as for his writing, he holds honorary doctorates and fellowships from 12 European and American universities. He’s an honorary professor in the humanities at MIT, and distinguished writer-in-residence at Emory University.

Rushide is president of the PEN World Voices International Literary Festival, which he helped create, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. His books have been translated into over 40 languages.

The annual Malloy Lecture is made possible by a generous contribution from Westport artist Susan Malloy. This will be the library’s first since her death in April.

Admission is free. However, tickets are required. (Click here to register.) Copies of Rushdie’s latest novel — Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights, set for publication next month — are available for pre-purchase at a special price with registration. Books may be autographed after the lecture. 


55 responses to “Westport Welcomes Salman Rushdie

  1. Yep… an Ayatollah calls to have a man murdered for writing a novel and we think these same people should have nuclear capabilities… seems right doesn’t it?

    • Well, Bruce, a lot has happened in 27 years.

    • David Schaffer

      Dan is right, 80% of the population has been born since 1980 (the hostage crisis) and overwhelmingly they want moderation in their government and reconciliation with the rest of the world. Remember the huge demonstrations there in 2009?

  2. Adam Schwartz '75

    I have two questions; 1. How does someone with his looks get hitched to Padma Lakshmi and, 2. Why in the world did he let her go? What a Shame…

  3. Sharon Paulsen

    Wow. And … UGH!

    Aren’t we all kindof missing the point of this post? An opportunity to hear a point of view from someone who probably has a much broader scope than many, regarding the intricacies of Middle East recent history, and our relations.

    All those acknowledgements aren’t coming out of thin air.

    I thank Dan for posting this information – I becha there are many folks who don’t even know the half of it (including me, and I’m open to learning more).

    Mike: with all due respect, your statement just doesn’t sit well with me:

    Michael Petrino on August 4, 2015 at 8:51 pm
    “Not the issue. Iran is a sponsor of terrorism, and it is trying to build nuclear weapons.”

    This is so generalized. I’d like to hear your factual backups for this statement. (Not news-media spin versions). It may require an entire book – or ten, as many have done. Especially if you want to include Obama in this theory, based on fear, and so-called absolute agenda’s. (From either side of the equation).

    I’ve grown weary of war lingering hate and blame. It’s 2015, and I still feel that most humans have barely reached adulthood yet.

    If NO one, from any country, ever attempts to approach some semblance of negotiations and possible peaceful relations, at some level, then what do we have left for the overall human experience? (I know – big ‘ol philosophy and crunchy-granola Mother Theresa here, right? Can’t have ANY of THAT going on in a civilized society. Sorry, my bad – just Drink your Pepsi, take your Humera pills, go to work like a good-dog, and no matter what, avoid peanuts ’cause they’ll kill you … Then, it’s all good).

    And nope …
    I didn’t forget to take my meds today. Drug free here (including Big Pharma – they can suck it).

    Nope … I’m just a practicing alcoholic! Red or White? Shaken or stirred? Ugh – It’s a lot of work, let me tell ya. Bwahahahaha.

    Hat Tip to Nancy – I agree with your thoughts.

    And thanks Dan!

    • John Kerry testified before Congress that Iran was a sponsor of terrorism. This should not be news to anyone who has been paying attention .

      • Sharon Paulsen

        Okay, well, I will attempt to fact check this “statement” in terms of context, and conversational timing. If I find a credible source, I’ll repsond to you here.

        But in the interim, having said what you said, wasn’t it Kerry sitting front and center at the negotiating tables, in order to perhaps shift the tide?

        I’m kindof a Political junkie. I do listen, read, and watch, to a fault, the reports/spins, on both sides of the spectrum (know your enemies, so to speak), so while I’m always open (as a person should be), I’m also wary of limited knowledge, and the danger of taking too much of it at face value.

        FYI: my rant wasn’t focused entirely on your comment. I meant to differentiate my response to you from the rest of my commentary, so, apologies for that.

  4. Bart Shuldman

    This is a making of a great debate about the agreement with Iran. However, as our law makers are finding out, they cannot get access to some of the details. Not allowed as they are told they are confidential.

    This could either be the best decision or worst. The Middle East is a tinder box that could ignite at any time. No doubt the Israelis and Saudis are watching closely.

    But once again we are faced not knowing all the details. Tough to decide or argue if we don’t have all the facts.

    Very scary decision.

  5. Bart Shuldman


    Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the nuclear inspection organization is barred from revealing to the United States any details of deals it has inked with Tehran to inspect its contested nuclear program going forward, according to regional reports.

    Recent disclosures by Iran indicate that the recently inked nuclear accord includes a series of side deals on critical inspections regimes that are neither public nor subject to review by the United States.

    Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador and permanent envoy to the IAEA, stated over the weekend that no country is permitted to know the details of future inspections conducted by the IAEA. In addition, no U.S. inspectors will be permitted to enter Iran’s nuclear sites.

    • Sharon Paulsen

      Okay Bart, thanks for the input.
      Could you provide source of this statement please? And date?
      Timing and context is important – there’s a lot of pooh pooh out there that can stir up fear and discord.
      For instance, if Iran “recently disclosed” this information, and it’s true, then it’s no longer a “secret” to anyone, now is it? Wouldn’t it seem strange to you if you read this in an open news forum, available to the masses, to then think that our government wouldn’t have already taken this into consideration.
      I’m all for digging in to find out what’s going on with negotiations, but gotta take it all with grain of salt (watch out for conspiracy theories, for instance).

  6. Bart Shuldman

    Sharon. Thanks for your response. I will send the information next but thought it best to reply to your overall question.

    As we have watched for years now, many details of agreements are either not completed or not Available or hidden. In this case, during congressional hearings it has been announced that private side deals have been made that John Kerry has announced he had not read.

    I will gladly post more on this but I am
    Not surprised. The details of something this big are just coming to light and there are concerns. As there should be.

    Both the liberal and conservative press have been questioning this agreement. And agin, they should be. The punt of protests in Iran now, today, calling for the end of the USA AND ISRAEL is alarming.

    And by the way-why didn’t we negotiate the release of the 4 people in jail? Just a side question n

  7. Is it just me, or is it weird how locals (Republicans?) seem to criticize Democrats on a peculiar number of 06880 posts. Why not keep things on topic? I have looked at three posts this morning – Balducci’s, Nail Salons, and this, and each one has GOP sniping. Seriously?

    Oh, and here’s this for you, Bert:
    “There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is … advancing towards the development of nuclear weapons” and that “If you take out … Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.”
    — Benjamin Netanyahu, 2002

    Yeah, let’s listen to what Bibi has to say. And while were at it…
    Not Fit to Lead
    The Iran hearings have shown how the Republican Party

    If these folks are going to do it, I guess I can to. But wouldn’t it be better if people STFU about politics in threads that aren’t about politics?

    • Bart Shuldman

      Chris–from Newsweek–and there are mnay others–the side deal that does not include the US is worrisome–at least I think so:

      Iran Proclaims Ban on American Nuclear Inspectors

      By Jack Martinez7/30/15 at 4:49 PM
      Iran will not allow U.S. nuclear inspectors into the country, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, left, announced on state television Thursday.Brendan Smialowski/Pool/REUTERS

      Filed Under:World, Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran Deal, Iran Negotiations

      Iranian officials declared via state television on Thursday that the country will not allow U.S. and Canadian inspectors to visit its nuclear facilities, according to an AP report.

      “American and Canadian inspectors cannot be sent to Iran,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, according to the report. “It is mentioned in the deal that inspectors should be from countries that have diplomatic relations with [the] Islamic republic of Iran.” Iran has not had diplomatic relations with the U.S. since the Islamic revolution of 1979.

      Under the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear oversight group, would be responsible for verifying Iran’s activities in reducing its enrichment program. IAEA documents detailing investigative procedures have not been made fully available to the U.S. government, and international law does not require them to be handed over.

    • Bart Shuldman

      Chris just one more that comes from the AP:

      Jul 30, 1:07 PM EDT

      Iran says will ban US experts from UN nuclear inspections

      Latest Iran News

      TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will not allow American or Canadian inspectors working for the U.N. nuclear watchdog to visit its nuclear facilities, an official said in remarks broadcast by state TV on Thursday.

      Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Iran will only allow inspectors from countries that have diplomatic relations with it. The previously undisclosed remarks were made during a Sunday meeting with parliamentarians.

      “American and Canadian inspectors cannot be sent to Iran,” said Araghchi. “It is mentioned in the deal that inspectors should be from countries that have diplomatic relations with Islamic republic of Iran.”

      He also said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will not have access to “sensitive and military documents.”

      • So what? Seriously. European experts are perfectly fine.

        What is accomplished by NOT trying to normalize relations.

        Are you saying that we should take the same approach that Bibi said we should take with Iraq? Did that work?

        Leaders in two countries on the face of the earth act like Iran is the worlds bugaboo. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Do you think that people in Western and Northern Europe are sweating out Iran? Of course not.

  8. Bart Shuldman

    I am just adding to the conversation and asking myself and others is the Iran deal a good one? Are you saying just because you are affiliated with one party you accept whatever they tell you and just agree to support? I don’t care what party is proposing something, I will question and get as Many facts as possible and make my conclusion. I am more independent than just one party and like to question.

    • Sorry, Bart – but I hit three theads where Republicans were pissing and moaning with political comments, even though they weren’t political threads (even if this one is closer than the others).

      Anyone who hasn’t learned the mistakes from our “war first” policies needs to PLEASE think about what that strategy did to our country. We spent money, casualties, and the goodwill of the world.

      Last I heard Cuba was a terrorist supporting country, too. Guess what, the embargo didn’t work (how many people who supported the embargo actually know why it was instituted?) and normalization will.

  9. And anyone who thinks that Iran is the largest sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East is a complete moron.

    The irony, of course, os that the most destabilizing act in the region in a generation was the Iraq War. It created the vacuum that led to ISIS, etc.

    Now the same imbeciles who thought that it was a good idea to go there, wasting lives and fortune, oppose any sort of diplomatic solution with Iran.

    I don’t believe that the American people are that foolish, or needlessly hawkish.

    • Kerry said in Congressional testimony that Iran was the “foremost” sponsor of terrorism. I guess he’s a moron. You on the other hand….

      • No, Michael, I’m only calling you an idiot. You problably endorsed Bibi’s comment about Iraq, too (if you know the difference between Iraq and Iran, at least).

        If you want to embrace the tired and ineffective policies of the past, feel free. Fortunately Secretary Kerry is not.

        But why do you find it necessary to make unrelated threads about your political views? Your views on such matters are irrelevant, so why do you think they interest anyone reading a piece about a visiting author.

        The problem with so many wingnuts is that they have seen very little of the world and believe what they see on Fox News rather than actually traveling. When a dumb redneck flies a confederate flag while spewing hate, they will say “well they don’t represent us.” But, of course, if who knows who in another country shouts “death to America” that represents the whole country.

        Though, of course, given how the US destabilized the region with the Iraq War, one can understand how those in other countries wouldn’t exactly be pleased with the US.

      • And I am quoting Kerry. You are in denial. And I have made no comment about Bibi’s opinions, and that would make you a troll.

        • The only reason you are quoting Kerry is to try to assign your senseless position to a Democrat whom you can blame for your senseless position.

          Nice evasion. You are just being a gutless POS.

          • No, I am quoting Kerry. You can’t handle the truth.

            • Michael, you are repeating yourself. Do you ever think for yourself or just vomit out right-wing talking points? Because you never seem to answer any questions, just put the same points on repeat.

              • When you can muster a coherent question, I will answer it. Clearly you have a learning disability, along with a severe personality disorder; I cited Kerry. Is he a source of right-wing talking points? You are far behind the rest of the class, and no amount of remediation will bring you up to speed.

                • It is akin to when the birther claim came from the Clinton camp, which quickly quashed it. Then the GOP ran with it for six years and kept blaming the Clinton camp. It is completely insincere.

                  If you respect Kerry’s views so much, you should respect that he now thinks the time is right for a deal. But of course you don’t.

                  At least pretend to be a serious person, not a clown.

                  • Kerry offers inconsistent arguments and like a good minion you swallow them.

                    • So what you are saying is that you are only quoting Kerry for the sake of rhetoric – not because of any actual position that you have any courage to stand behind.

  10. Sharon Paulsen

    Chris, love your confederate flag comment! Laughing out loud here – good stuff!!

    Hey, anyone else scratching their head at the comment from a Lillian Lutterman earlier? Who is she talking to? Dan?


    • Thanks, Sharon!

      The way I figure it, we have to flush out the nuts.

      • Bart Shuldman

        Chris–I would caution against calling soemone ‘nuts’ just because they have a different opinion than you. There have been mnay in Washington including very senior officials in the military that have raised concerned regading the Iran deal. Its good to have the dialogue to hopefull fully vet the agreement and undersatnd the risks. If Obama is wrong, the consequences are extremely serious. Iran just yesterday had a rally regarding destroying both Israel and the US. And it is led by the religious leaders.

        But calling someone ‘nuts’ becuase they disagree with you is wrong. Plain and simple.

        • Bart, thanks but no need to caution me. Repeating the same foreign policy mistakes of the past IS nuts. What is the line about the definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? That is what we see here with opposition to the Iran deal.

          Largely, opposition has come from the GOP idiots who promoted the Iraq War. (Yes, people like Michael will say “Hillary supported it” as if the Democrats would have been buying had not Dubya been selling.) And be honest, they will argue with anything Obama proposes because their primary position is “oppose Obama no matter what he does.” These are the same kind of people who will bring up Obama in an 06880 post about nail salons. Read the Slate piece.

          Do you SERIOUSLY think Iran is planning to attack Israel? For what purpose? To what end? To assure the destruction of Iran?

          I know – some fringe people think that they’ll be sent to a heaven of virgins for killing Jews and Westerners. Well let me clue you in on something, the fringe evangelical conservatives that are harping about this also care about Israel because of it’s role in the “end days.” Is that any more logical?

          So let’s start dealing with other governments in rational ways – stop the needless sabre rattling. Stop being the ones that are destabilizing the middle east. And let’s start contributing positively, instead of passing the title of “leaders of the free world” to the Europeans, who deal with things more pragmatically.

          I would repeat the question that you haven’t answered and that Michael is too gutless to answer. You read Bibi’s words about Iraq, which reflect the anti-diplomacy attitude the GOP has adopted. Now he is saying the same thing about Iran. That was wrong then, why would you think that attitude is right now?

          • Ask Bibi. I never commented on his opinions, you are delusional.

            • Stop being such a coward, Michael. You are taking his position now. And it is the same position that he took regarding Iraq. You don’t think it worked with Iraq, do you? So why are you in favor of making the same mistake here? Why is it suddenly different?

              Why are you so afraid of questions? Does it hurt when your world view gets called into question, so you would rather just not scrutinize things?

              • Is that your idea of a coherent question? I am taking no one else’s position. You are a liar.

                • So you are once again afraid to answer a question.

                  What am I lying about, Michael? Enlighten me. Or is that just another deflection because you are afraid to answer questions?

                  Do you actually have a plan for the region, or is an actual plan not part of the talking points that you borrow?

                  Should we take military action? Would you be willing to have your taxes increase to pay for those actions? Or would you want us to reduce spending in areas that don’t help people named “Michael Petrino?” Maybe you think we should de-stabilize Iran like we did Iraq, so that radicals can fill the gap?

                  Because nowhere have you offered up one selection. Just one out of context claim and repeatedly saying “Kerry said it first!”

                  This caliber of thinking helps explain why the country needed bank bailouts.

                • You are once again incapable of asking a coherent question; it must be your learning disability. You have lied repeatedly, if you cannot recognize your lies as such, you are a sociopath.

                  • Looks pretty clear to me, but if you are afraid, you are afraid. (“What am I lying about?” “Do you have a plan for the region?” “Would you take military action?” Those really aren’t incoherent to anyone who has more than a middle-school eduction, for the most part.)

                    I don’t see any lies. (I don’t know what’s worth, “liar, liar, liar” or “Kerry, Kerry, Kerry.”)

                    Tell you what, for all of those other people who may need help, maybe you could point out all of those lies. Sociopath? Well that sounds like you are trying to defame me, Michael. You sure you want to go there?

  11. Nancy W Hunter

    Read JFK’s “Strategy of Peace”, from which Obama quoted today:
    “the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war, but we have no more urgent task.”

    • Indeed. But when you look at people like Michael, you know what you’re up against. The pursuit of peace also requires nuance, which isn’t always easy to come by.

      • More lies Chris. Where have I advocated against peace? Put up or shut up.

        • Michael, you haven’t advocated anything – you’ve just pissed and moaned. And you haven’t answered clear questions. I asked you if you had a plan for the region and you said that was an incoherent question.

          • I never addressed the issue of a plan for the region, that is your fantasy.

            • Let me try this again, Michael…

              My questions seem pretty clear (“What am I lying about?” “Do you have a plan for the region?” “Would you take military action?”), but if you are afraid to answer, you are afraid. You say those are not coherent. Really? How dim does one have to be to not understand those questions?

              I know you didn’t address a plan – you keep avoiding the question. Presumably you don’t have one or haven’t received the talking points that you slavishly repeat. But it is easier to just complain than to contribute.

              I don’t see any lies. (I don’t know what’s worse, “liar, liar, liar” or “Kerry, Kerry, Kerry.”) For all of those other people who may need your help, maybe you could point out all of those lies. Otherwise, you just sound like a bully who is getting smacked down and can do nothing more than say “is that all you have” from the spot where you are writhing on the ground.

              • You said I advocated the same approach as Bibi. That is not true. In fact, I never said I opposed Obama’s plan. I do oppose giving more money to a sponsor of terrorism. That part of the deal, significant contents of which Obama wants to remain secret, is a bad idea There is no plan for peace in the ME that is viable. I see no evidence that any nation in the ME wants peace. So your quest for peace in the ME is foolish. The best approach for the US is to just leave. Remove our assets, and leave. Let the countries of the ME knock each other around if they so choose.

                Your arguments as well as your questions are incoherent.

  12. Bart Shuldman

    There comes a point where you can agree to disagree. I have not decided if I am for the treaty or not. I am trying to educate myself as to the benefits and the danger

    You have made up your mind and are in attack mode. I get it.

  13. This discussion has run its course. It is no longer productive. Comments are now closed.