PRINT May 1989

At the Limits

The Power of the Text

SALMAN RUSHDIE HAS PUBLISHED, and he has been damned. To be damned now is to be handed a death sentence by a head of state and to have a million-dollar tag on your life. To be damned is to see your own people, Indians and Pakistanis, die in the streets. It is also a kind of damnation to find that your words are remembered only for their doubt and disbelief, and not for their faith and commitment to the cause of racial justice; to the world of the migrant and the exile; to the erasure of simplistic cultural boundaries between Self and Other, East and West, myth and modernity.

The Satanic Verses is losing its complex vision in the blind polarities that now seek to speak for or against a book that turns and twists, sprawls and writhes and will not be stilled in its movement or distilled in its meaning. And in the eye of the storm, it is the voices in medias res, the voices of cultural migration

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