Sunday, March 27. 2016
The Daoud Affair - How Western intellectuals turn themselves into the enemies of an entire class of liberal writers from Muslim backgrounds
The Western intellectuals accuse the liberal from the Muslim world of being a racist against Muslims, or an Islamophobe, or a “native informant” and a tool of imperialism. Sometimes they accuse the liberal from the Muslim world of stupidity, too, or lack of talent. This was Salman Rushdie’s experience in the years after he came out with The Satanic Verses, back in 1988, which he has described in his memoir Joseph Anton. The experience of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, originally from Somalia, offers probably the most widely discussed example after Rushdie’s. But the pattern of Western condemnation can be observed in many other cases as well, directed at liberal writers of different kinds and views—the authors of political essays, memoirs, literary criticism, journalism, and novels, from backgrounds in countries as diverse as Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Kamel Daoud’s Algerian colleague, the novelist Boualem Sansal, last year’s winner of a prize from the French Academy, has come under this kind of condemnation. And now the pattern has reemerged in regard to Daoud himself.