Struggle Continues, Says Salman Rushdie 9 Months After Brutal Knife Attack

New York: Nine months after being attacked on stage while delivering a lecture, Salman Rushdie made his first public appearance.

In an emotional address, the award-winning British author said that the mission to protect free expression was never ‘more important’ at a time of book bans and censorship, and called for action.

“Terrorism must not terrorise us. Violence must not deter us. La lutte continue. La lutta continua. The struggle goes on,” Rushdie said at PEN America’s annual gala.

“If it had not been for these people, I most certainly would not be standing here today. I was the target that day, but they were the heroes. The courage, that day, was all theirs. I owe my life to them,” he added.

Rushdie, who received several death threats after the publication of his 1998 novel ‘The Satanic Verses’, was delivering a lecture at New York’s Chautauqua Institution on August 12, 2022, when a rushed to the stage, and stabbed and punched him several times. He lost sight in one eye and the use of one hand following the brutal, spending nearly two months in hospital.

His presence yesterday at the annual gala organised by PEN America — an organisation that supports literature and free speech — had not been announced officially and came as a surprise to most visitors.

The crowd at American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan cheered for Rushdie and gave him a standing ovation as he also received the Centenary Courage Award.

“It’s nice to be back – as opposed to not being back, which was also an option. I’m pretty glad the dice rolled this way,” he said.

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