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Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 by Salman Rushdie
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Step Across This Line Quotes (showing 1-9 of 9)
“How do you defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorized.”
Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002
“The fundamentalist seeks to bring down a great deal more than buildings. Such people are against, to offer just a brief list, freedom of speech, a multi-party political system, universal adult suffrage, accountable government, Jews, homosexuals, women's rights, pluralism, secularism, short skirts, dancing, beardlessness, evolution theory, sex. There are tyrants, not Muslims.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that we should now define ourselves not only by what we are for but by what we are against. I would reverse that proposition, because in the present instance what we are against is a no brainer. Suicidist assassins ram wide-bodied aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and kill thousands of people: um, I'm against that. But what are we for? What will we risk our lives to defend? Can we unanimously concur that all the items in the preceding list -- yes, even the short skirts and the dancing -- are worth dying for?

The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing. In his world-view, he has his absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic indulgences. To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong. We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world's resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them.

How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.”
Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002
“So Oz finally became home; the imagined world became the actual world, as it does for us all, because the truth is that once we have left our childhood places and started out to make our own lives, armed only with what we have and are, we understand that the real secret of the ruby slippers is not that "there's no place like home," but rather that there is no longer such a place as home: except, of course, for the homes we make, or the homes that are made for us, in Oz, which is anywhere and everywhere, except the place from which we began.
In the place from which I began, after all, I watched the film from the child's - Dorothy's point of view. I experienced, with her, the frustration of being brushed aside by Uncle Henry and Auntie Em, busy with their dull grown-up counting. Like all adults, they couldn't focus on what was really important to Dorothy: namely, the threat to Toto. I ran away with Dorothy and then ran back. Even the shock of discovering that the Wizard was a humbug was a shock I felt as a child, a shock to the child's faith in adults. Perhaps, too, I felt something deeper, something I couldn't articulate; perhaps some half-formed suspicion about grown-ups was being confirmed.
Now, as I look at the movie again, I have become the fallible adult. Now I am a member of the tribe of imperfect parents who cannot listen to their children's voices. I, who no longer have a father, have become a father instead, and now it is my fate to be unable to satisfy the longings of a child. This is the last and most terrible lesson of the film: that there is one final, unexpected rite of passage. In the end, ceasing to be children, we all become magicians without magic, exposed conjurers, with only our simply humanity to get us through.
We are the humbugs now.”
Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002
“I want to suggest to you that citizens of free societies, democracies, do not preserve their freedom by pussyfooting around their fellow-citizen's opinions, even their most cherished beliefs. In free societies, you must have the free play of ideas. There must be argument, and it must be impassioned and untrammeled. A free society is not calm and eventless place - that is the kind of static, dead society dictators try to create. Free societies are dynamic, noisy, turbulent, and full of radical disagreements. Skepticism and freedom are indissolubly linked; and it is the skepticism of journalists, their show-me, prove-it unwillingness to be impressed, that is perhaps their most important contribution to the freedom of the free world. It is the disrespect of journalists-for power, for orthodoxies, for party lines, for ideologies, for vanity, for arrogance, for folly, for pretension, for corruption, for stupidity, maybe even for editors-that I would like to celebrate...and that I urge you all, in freedom's name, to preserve.”
Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002
“More seriously-and this is probably why there has been a lot of garbage talked about a lost generation-it was easy to see, all over the landscape of contemporary fiction, the devastating effect of the Thatcher years. So many of these writers wrote without hope. They had lost all ambition, all desire to to wrestle with the world. Their books dealt with tiny patches of the world, tiny pieces of human experience-a council estate, a mother, a father, a lost job. Very few writers had the courage or even the energy to bite off a big chunk of the universe and chew it over. Very few showed any linguistic or formal innovation. Many were dulled and therefore dull. (And then, even worse, there were the Hooray Henries and Sloanes who evidently thought that the day of the yuppie novel, and the Bellini-drinking, okay-yah fiction had dawned. Dukedoms and country-house bulimics abounded. It was plain that too may books were being published; that too many writers had found their way into print without any justification for it at all; that too many publishers had adopted a kind of random, scattergun policy of publishing for turnover and just hoping that something would strike a cord.
When the general picture is so disheartening, it is easy to miss the good stuff. I agreed to be a judge for "Best of Young British Novelists II" because I wanted to find out for myself if the good stuff really was there. In my view, it is...One of my old schoolmasters was fond of devising English versions of the epigrams of Martial. I remember only one, his version of Martial's message to a particularly backward-looking critic:
"You only praise the good old days
We young 'uns get no mention.
I don't see why I have to die
To gain your kind attention.”
Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002
“We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world's resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love.”
Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002
“Tragedy happens - "tragic mistakes" happen - when men act according to their flawed natures, in fulfillment of their preordained destinies. The tragedy of the four killers of Amadou Diallo is that their deeds were made possible by their general preconceptions about black people and poor neighborhoods; by a theory of policing that encourages them to be rigid and punitive toward petty offenders; and by a social context in which the possession and use of firearms is so normative as to be almost beyond discussion. The tragedy of the street vendor Amadou Diallo is that he came as an innocent to the slaughter, made vulnerable by poverty and by the color of his skin. And the tragedy of America is that a nation which sees itself as leading the world toward a global future in which the American values of freedom and justice will be available for everyone fails so frequently and so badly to guarantee that freedom and that justice for so many people within its own frontiers.”
Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002
“The ancient wisdoms are modern nonsenses. Live in your own time, use what we know, and as you grow up, perhaps the human race will finally grow up with you and put aside childish things.”
Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002
“For the point is to defend people but not their ideas. It is absolutely right that Muslims - that everyone - should enjoy freedom of religious belief in any free society. It is absolutely right that they should protest against discrimination whenever and wherever they experience it. It is absolutely wrong of them to demand that their belief-system - that any system of belief or thought - should be immunized against criticism, irreverence, satire, even scornful disparagement. This distinction between the individual and his creed is a foundation truth of democracy, and any community that seeks to blur it will not do itself any favours.”
Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002