Edward Said: Plurality and Unity
“The Satanic Verses, thus, is a self representation—that everyone should be able to read the novel, interpret, understand accept or finally reject it and more to the point it should be possible to both accept the brilliance of Rushdie’s work and and also to know its transgressive apostasy. If this peculiar paradox is also an emblem of the fate of hybrids and immigrants, that too is part of this contemporary world. For the point is that their is no pure, unsullied ,unmixed essence to which some of us can return, whether that essence is pure Islam, pure Christianity, pure Judaism, Easternism, Americanism, Westernism.”
In this 1989 reading in support and defense of Salman Rushdie, Edward Said speaks to the role of pluralism in a contemporary, hybrid society. Said deftly highlights the complex narrative that informs the often misaligned understanding between the West and the East with characteristic intellectual sensitivity, while also insisting on the necessary component of free expression that serves and facilitates critical discourse.