ZP Dala attacked for Rushdie support

2015-03-22 07:47

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Writer Zainub Dala is receiving treatment after being assaulted by three men in Durban on Friday, following an appearance at the Time of the Writer Festival.

Dala sustained a severe injury to her face after being hit with a brick, and having a knife held to her throat.

It is believed Dala was targetted after praising the work of controversial author Salman Rushdie. Several disgruntled audience members left the session after Dala spoke about Rushdie, and it is believed that opposition to her comments is the cause of the assault.

Dala was at the Festival to launch her book What About Meera yesterday. The launch has since been postponed.

Project Manager for Time of The Writer, Tiny Mungwe said the assault on Dala contravened the goals of the festival, and undermined the right to free speech.

“Time of the Writer festival is fully behind writers’ right to freedom of expression, whether they are participating in the festival or not. It is ironic that this assault took place during a festival themed ‘Writing for your Life’,” she said.

Dala was attacked after the three attackers forced her to pull over. During the assault, she was repeatedly referred to as “Rushdie’s bitch”.

Sharlene Versfeld, one of the organisers of the Festival, said: “She is very shaken up and in a lot of pain. She has sought treatment, and opened a case with the police as well. She’s focused on getting better and being with her family now.”

Fellow writers spoke out against the attack, calling it “horrific” and “deplorable”. Eusebius McKaiser said it was especially horrid considering it was Human Rights Day.

Rushdie reached out to Dala on Twitter, sending his apologies and good wishes for her recovery.

He remains a controversial figure in the writing world. In 1989, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a Fatwa against him and his work, and those who support Khamanei’s position have in other incidents, retaliated against those who publicly support Rushdie.

“We completely deplore the violent attack on Ms Dala and the harassment she has been subjected to,”said Mungwe.

Time of the Writer celebrated its 18th run this year. This is the first time an incident of this kind has occurred.

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