Words can’t stop wars: Rushdie
“One of the first casualties of war is usually truth,” he said.
British-US author Salman Rushdie gives a speech as he is awarded with the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade at St Paul’s Church (Paulskirche) in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany on October 22, 2023. The international peace prize is awarded annually by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, which runs the Frankfurt Book Fair. (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH / POOL / AFP) (Photo by KAI PFAFFENBACH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
SALMAN RUSHDIE said that there are many things words can’t do, including “stopping wars.”
“One of the first casualties of war is usually truth because people start presenting their own propaganda version of events. And that’s very difficult when you can’t distinguish fact from fiction in a war zone,” Rushdie told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) when asked about the current conflict between Hamas and Israel.
The award-winning author said that writers need to “articulate the nature of the problem” during situations like this, and many of them are doing so right now.
“Writers try to articulate the incredible pain that many people are feeling right now and bring that to the world’s attention,” he said.
In a scathing critique of those in power, Rushdie noted that they often attempt to silence writers who don’t please them.
Writers have no armies, yet it is “strange” that dictators in many parts of the world fear poets. According to Rushdie, this fear stems from their apprehension of “alternative versions of the world.”
“One of the things about authoritarian rule is that it also imposes its own version of the world to the exclusion of all others. Of course, all writers have their own version of the world, and sometimes those versions don’t please those in power, so they try to silence them,” he told the broadcaster.