The Midnight’s Children author reflects on life under fatwa, the Arab Spring, and his one-night stand with Twitter.
Foreign Policy Magazine: BENJAMIN PAUKER | SEPT/OCT 2012
Nearly 25 years after The Satanic Verses, the controversial novel that inspired an Iranian fatwa against his life and forced his family into a decade of hiding, Salman Rushdie seems at ease, even giddy. After all, he’s keeping busy: A movie version of his classic Midnight’s Children and a new memoir about his time in hiding are due out shortly — and he’s even tweeting. But the British-Indian novelist sees dark tidings in the Arab Spring and ruefully recalls better times in the Iran of his youth.
I was very optimistic about Egypt last year because the movement seemed to be genuinely secular, democratic, and not influenced by religious extremism. It seemed to suggest a way for Egypt and states like it to become genuinely modern nations. I think since then, obviously, that’s gone very wrong. One has to say that the Arab Spring is over. The young people who made the uprising were too politically innocent, perhaps. It’s genuinely disappointing that a revolution that had nothing to do with religion and was hostile to the autocratic military command of the state has been followed by a situation in which you still have an autocratic military command and a very religious element now as well. In a way, it’s the opposite of what people were fighting for.
Published: Aug 13, 2012
HOBOKEN, N.J. (AP) - Google is buying the Frommer’s brand of travel guides.
Google Inc., which bought the Zagat restaurant review service in September, plans to use Frommer’s guides to hotels and destinations around the world to complement the Zagat listings.
The New York Police Department is embracing online surveillance in a wide-eyed way. Representatives from Microsoft and the NYPD announced the launch of their new Domain Awareness System (DAS) at a lower Manhattan press conference today. Using DAS, police are able to monitor thousands of CCTV cameras around the five boroughs, scan license plates, find out the kind of radiation cars are emitting, and extrapolate info on criminal and terrorism suspects from dozens of criminal databases … all in near-real time.
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — The U.S. has finally started the prosecution of five Guantanamo Bay prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, but the trial won’t be starting anytime soon, and both sides said Sunday that the case could continue for years.
Defense lawyer James Connell said a tentative trial date of May 2013 is a “placeholder” until a true date can be set for the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the attacks, and his co-defendants.
“It’s going to take time,” said the chief prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, who said he expects to battle a barrage of defense motions before the case goes to trial.
“I am getting ready for hundreds of motions because we want them to shoot everything they can shoot at us,” he said.
Saturday’s arraignment lasted 13 hours, including meal and prayer breaks, as the accused appeared to make a concerted effort to stall the initial hearing, which didn’t end until almost 11 p.m.
“Everyone is frustrated by the delay,” Martins said on Sunday. He noted that the civilian trial of convicted Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui took four years, and he pleaded guilty in 2006 before being sentenced to life in prison.
In meetings in the capital, New Delhi, Clinton was expected to push for India to find alternative sources of oil on the international market.
Earlier Monday, she told a town hall meeting in the eastern city of Kolkata that there’s an adequate supply in the market for India to find other suppliers. Clinton noted India has taken some steps to reduce its imports from Iran but she says the U.S. wants to see more.
“If there weren’t an adequate supply … we would understand, but we believe that there is adequate supply,” she said.