When the Satanic Verses was published in 1988, author Salmon Rushdie was greeted with violence and anger by Iran and Muslims. A bounty was put on his head, the book was banned, and 40 people died in various riots related to the book’s publication. He went into hiding and feared for his life.
34 years later, the crazies avenged the book’s
publication by nearly killing Rushdie just before he was to give a lecture. Not
only was a man attacked, but free speech and the exchange of ideas were stabbed
too. Words can’t kill when others show a lack of tolerance and acceptance of
This is not an isolated incident, though it has a long history. It is endemic of a decline in defending free speech in the nation that invented the concept.
Sure, not everyone is storming a stage or trying to physically assault those who speak their mind, but there is a growing movement to threaten others and to cancel those with alternative views. We cancel movies, books, speakers, and historical figures daily. We ban words and expunge the past as if it never happened.
Rushdie is America. We have been attacked, left exposed to the misguided virtues of a loud and violent mob. You may believe that what happened to Rushdie was horrible — while some may feel justice was served. We may not all agree on the same views or words, but we must all be united in defending free speech to our death. Others are willing to die and kill for suppressing free speech.
Which side are you on?
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum.