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Rushdie and me: A Persian tale

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When elementary school teachers discuss authors, they usually talk about about those who write for children and teens. Salman Rushdie is not that kind of writer, but one perk of growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran was that I had already heard his name by the time I was in fourth grade. It was Quds Day (which is the last Friday of Ramadan, but since schools in Iran are closed Fridays, it was the last Thursday), and the principal gave a speech in which he talked about Salman Rushdie. In keeping with Islamic countries’ tradition of linking anyone you don’t like to Israel, he labeled Rushdie a “Zionist mercenary.”

Any kid in England is familiar with the name J.K. Rowling, even if he or she has never read Harry Potter. In Iran, Salman Rushdie has the same status, although he’s not a local writer and his books are banned.

In high school, finding and sharing banned books was a hobby for me and my friends. It wasn’t too hard and, especially today, the internet makes it easy to find this stuff. And, if reading PDF files is hard on your eyes, offset printing is always an option. Yuval Noah Harari was added to the list of banned writers in Iran almost three years........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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