Salman Rushdie says he’s grateful, ‘can’t regret’ life after stabbing
Salman Rushdie said he feels extremely grateful and eager to continue writing, saying ‘you can’t regret your life’, in his first interview since surviving the brutal stabbing attack of last summer.
“I’m lucky. What I really mean is that my main overwhelming feeling is gratitude,” he told The New Yorker as he continued to recover, both physically and mentally, after being stabbed more than a dozen times at a literary event in western New York.
“There have been nightmares – not exactly the incident, but just scary. Those seem to be diminishing,” he said. “When I say I’m fine, I mean there are parts of my body that need constant checks. It was a colossal attack.
The attack left him hospitalized for six weeks. He lost 40 pounds and the vision in his right eye. He also suffered nerve damage to his left hand, he said.
He also suggested having post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the ordeal and said he struggled to write.
“I found it very, very difficult to write. I sit down to write and nothing happens. I write, but it’s a mixture of emptiness and bric-a-brac, stuff that I write and erase the next day. I haven’t come out of this forest yet, really,” he said.
The violence, which also injured another event presenter, follows decades of threats after Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Rushdie’s death in 1989 following the publication of Rushdie’s novel ‘The Verses Satanic”. The book was considered blasphemous by some Muslims.
For a decade after the declaration of this edict, called a fatwa, Rushdie said he lived underground in London for his own safety, fully believing he was a dead man. He became less cautious after moving to New York in 2000, where he said he decided to live his life in the open, leaving many around him nervous.
Rushdie said the only person he can blame for what happened last summer is the person responsible, although he admitted he wondered if it was a mistake to lower his guard.
“Three quarters of my life as a writer have passed since the fatwa. In a way, you can’t regret your life,” he said.
Hadi Matar, who faces attempted murder and assault charges for the attack, told the New York Post in a brief prison interview last August that he had only read a few pages of “The Satanic Verses” but that he didn’t like Rushdie. He said he was surprised that Rushdie survived his injuries.
“He was someone who attacked Islam, he attacked their beliefs, the belief systems,” he said of the author.
Rushdie’s latest novel, “Victory City,” which he finished writing shortly before the attack, is due out on Tuesday.
The Huffington Gt