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Salman vs. Germaine

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Apparently there is a freedom of expression debate revolving around a certain brick street in London.

The best selling novel Brick Lane by Monica Ali is being put to film and the actual residents of Brick Lane are not too excited about it. Abdus Salique, a local business leader, rallied other local community members to block filming on their lane. He would prefer the movie not be made at all. He has qualms with the way in which the author portrayed his community- "uneducated, illiterate, not clean."

Nevermind the specifics. It is more fun to talk about the "luminaries" who have chimed in, taking sides with opposite camps we have....

Germaine Greer and Salman Rushdie

Greer, according to the ever faithful Wikipedia online encyclopedia, is an Australian academic, writer, and broadcaster, who is widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of the 20th century.
Rushdie is is a British Indian essayist and author of fiction, most of which is set on the Indian subcontinent. He was also the author that spent over a decade in hiding after death threats stemming from a fatwa issued by Ruhollah Khomeini. The Iranian wasn't so keen on Rushdie's work, The Satanic Verses.

Greer was the first to set up camp writing an article to The Guardian in support of those defending Brick Lane:
"Writers are treacherous" she began. "Ali (the author of Brick Lane) did not concern herself with the possibility that her plot might seem outlandish to the people who created the particular culture of Brick Lane. As British people know little and care less about the Bangladeshi people in their midst, their first appearance as characters in an English novel had the force of a defining caricature." Take that Brick Lane author and movie producers.
Oh, but the Auzie isn't done yet. "Brick lane is a real place; there was no need for Monica Ali to invent it. In giving her novel such a familiar and specific name, Ali was able to build a marvelously creative elaboration on a pre-existing stereotype."
End point: "The community has the right to keep the filmmakers out."

Rushdie responds with a letter to The Guardian. He waists no time dismissing the above position as "pro-censorship twaddle" containing "ad-feminam sneers about Monica Ali herself."
An excerpt: "No, Germaine, people do not have the 'moral right' to prevent the making of a film simply because they have decided in advance that they will not like it."
Additionally he says, Greer's "support of the attack on this film is philistine, sanctimonious and disgraceful, but it is not unexpected." Not unexpected, referring to her refusing to support the anit-fatwa campaign in support of him. "'Writers are treacherous,' Greer says, and she should know."

The ballots are in and it's hands down to the man from Bombay...

1 point, Rushdie. 0 points, Greer.

*quotes, again, are from the International Herald Tribune. Article by Alan Cowell

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