Sunday, December 26, 2004

UK: Salaman Rushdie condemns the way the UK government has reacted to the forced closing of the play "Behzti" by Sikhs earlier this week, especially by the MP Mactaggart, whose voting area has a large Sikh population. " Ms Mactaggart, whose constituency of Slough has a large Sikh population, refused to condemn the mob and told Radio Four's Today programme on Tuesday that the play would be helped by the closure. "I think that when people are moved by theatre to protest, in a way that is a sign of the free speech which is so much part of the British tradition. I think that it is a great thing that people care enough about a performance to protest," she said. Mr Rushdie said that Ms Mactaggart had failed to grasp the arguments involved, and should be defending the rights of artists to express themselves. "If being upset is the only requirement to banning something, there will be nothing on in the theatres," he warned. "Should we ban Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice for being anti-Semitic? Where do you stop?" Mr Rushdie, who was born in India, said that the Sikh protestors had adopted the violent tactics used by Hindu nationalists on the sub-Continent. "This seems to be a trend that has come from India, where extremists have attacked a number of artistic and cultural events, with very little control. Works by some of India's most revered artists have been attacked by Shiv Sena [an extremist Hindu grouping], and now the Sikh community here are travelling down a similar path," he said. " UK: UK police will no longer use the term black or Asian to describe blacks and Asians, they will now be known as "visible minority ethnics." Also, Irish and Greeks are to be known as "invisible." A case of political correctness in Britain gone mad or someone who hates P.C. terms deciding to just go to the extreme to tick people off like me!

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