needless to say we all condemn the attack on salman rushdie. i would condemn the knifing of any human being, including clarence thomas and donald trump. i liked rushdie’s work back in the day when he wrote ‘midnight’s children’ and was friends with edward said. but his transformation over the years into an imperial mascot is problematic to say the least. he supported the invasion of iraq, denies the existence of islamophobia (it’s hard to miss in the west but also in his home country of india where violence against muslims is reaching genocidal levels), and wrote unoriginal, bigoted, ignorant opinions like this in the NYT: “yes, this is about islam. if terrorism is to be defeated, the world of islam must take on board the secularist-humanist principles on which the modern is based.” the modern? like school shootings and patriarchal control over women’s bodies in the US? or the ongoing killing of children in gaza by the modern, democratic state of israel? or the humanist invasions and occupations of a series of muslim majority countries? this is basic colonial nonsense, not intellectual or moral courage. at the same time that rushdie was being attacked, this was happening: layan musleh hamdi al-shaer, aged 10, died from injuries she sustained in an israeli strike on gaza on august 5th. she died alone in a hospital because israel wouldn’t allow anyone from her family to be with her. she was a 10-year old child with so much life ahead of her. why are we not all decrying the attacks on her body and publicly mourning her death? many will say it’s different. she wasn’t a writer. she wasn’t famous. she wasn’t a western mascot. but there’s the rub.