Read below for Heeral Gudka’s (Convergent’s founder) thoughts on some of the reactions to the attack on Salman Rushdie.
Over the weekend, author Salman Rushdie was violently attacked. And many many people have been rightly condemning the actions of the perpetrator.
But… a lot of those are the same people who often have no qualms about ‘cancelling’ those with views they don’t agree with. (We don’t need to search far to find examples of people being put to task for wrong-think or wrong-speak in 2022.)
What we now call ‘cancel culture’ here, is a well-established way of being in many authoritarian parts of the world, where obedience to an absolute truth is demanded, while critical thinking and the asking of questions is punishable. In some countries by death, in our culture by ‘cancellation’.
Since when did we decide that it’s better to shut down ideas we don’t like which pushes them into the shadows, than creating spaces where they can be picked apart?
So where people are expressing outrage over what has happened to Salman Rushdie, as he begins his recovery from life-changing injuries, perhaps we should also pay close attention to how those same people behave on social media when someone says something they disagree with.
There aren’t as many steps as we would think between performative hate and outrage on Twitter, and the violent expression of that same hate and outrage in real life.
I wish Salman Rushdie a speedy recovery.