More than two months after being violently assaulted in the United States, Salman Rushdie has notably lost the use of one eye and one hand, his agent, Andrew Wylie, told the spanish daily El País. This is the first news since the British writer was hospitalized in mid-August.
“He lost sight in one eye. (…) He had three serious neck injuries. He is disabled in one hand because the nerves in his arm have been severed. And he has about fifteen other injuries to his chest and torso.”Mr. Wylie told El País in an interview published this weekend.
“His wounds were very deep. (…) It was a brutal attack. » ” [Mais] he will live”, he added, without specifying whether Mr. Rushdie was still in the hospital. On August 12, Salman Rushdie was about to speak at a conference in upstate New York when a man burst onto the stage and stabbed him multiple times, including in the neck and abdomen. Evacuated by helicopter to a hospital, the author of the satanic verses had to be put on a ventilator briefly before his condition improved.
The main suspect, Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old American of Lebanese origin, was arrested immediately after the incident. During his trial, which opened in mid-August in a court in Mayville, New York, he pleaded not guilty.
The attack was hailed by extremists from Muslim countries such as Iran and Pakistan. The novel The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it blasphemous. The following year, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution from 1979 to 1989, issued a fatwa (religious decree) on February 14, 1989, calling on all Muslims to kill the British author, thus compelling the latter to live in hiding and under police protection. A fatwa that Salman Rushdie said in 2005 had been a prelude to the September 11 attacks.
Salman Rushdie, born in 1947 in Bombay, India, two months before the country gained independence from the British Empire, was raised by a wealthy, progressive and cultured family of non-practicing Muslim intellectuals. The writer regrets being reduced to the scandal caused by the publication of satanic verses. “My problem is that people continue to see me through the sole prism of the ‘fatwa'”had declared, a few years ago, this free-thinker who wishes to be considered as a writer, and not as the symbol of the fight against religious obscurantism and for freedom of expression.
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