"6 March 1989"

by Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay in 1947. Rushdie is the author of five novels:
Grimus, Midnight's Children, Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories and The Moor's Last Sigh.
He has won the Booker Prize, Whitbread Prize, James Tait Black Prize, Writer's Guild Award and the
Booker of Bookers in 1993, when Midnight's Children was judged to be the best novel
to win a Booker in the first 25 years the prize was awarded.

Publication of The Satanic Verses prompted the Iranian government to issue a Fatwa,
or call for Rushdie's assasination for blasphemy against Islam. It has yet to be lifted.

"6 March 1989" first appeared in Granta in Fall, 1989 when the Fatwa had first been issued and Rushdie was in hiding.

Boy, yaar, they sure called me some good names of late:
e.g. opportunist (dangerous). E.g. full-of-hate,
self-aggrandizing, Satan, self-loathing and shrill,
the type it would clean up the planet to kill.
I justjust remember my own goodname still.

Damn, brother. You saw what they did to my face?
Poked out my eyes. Knocked teeth out of place,
stuck a dog's body under, hung same from a hook,
wrote what-all on my forehead! Wrote 'bastard'! Wrote 'crook'!
I justjust recall how my face used to look.

Now, misters and sisters, they've come for my voice.
If the Cat got my tongue, lok who-who would rejoice--
muftis, politicos, 'my own people', hacks.
Still, nameless-and-faceless or not, here's my choice:
not to shut up. To sing on, in spite of attacks,
to sing (while my dreams are being murdered by facts)
praises of butterflies broken on racks.

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