The interviewer who was on the stage with Salman Rushdie when the controversial author was attacked by a knife-wielding man has broken his silence and revealed the injuries he suffered while trying to defend Rushdie.
Speaking to the BBC, Henry Reese revealed deep bruising around his right eye as well as several stitches around his right eyebrow where he was gashed by 24-year-old New Jersey man Hadi Matar after he repeatedly stabbed Rushdie at the Chautauqua Institution near Buffalo, New York.
Speaking from his home in Pittsburgh Tuesday, Reese said he was recovering but was much more concerned with the condition of Rushdie, who may lose an eye and had been placed on a ventilator over the weekend.
“Our concern is for Salman,” Reese said.
The City of Asylum founder said he would not be intimidated and that the attack was an example of how important it is to support persecuted writers.
“Our mission is to protect writers who are in sanctuary. And to see Salman Rushdie assaulted for his life is unimaginably … it’s hard to describe what it is to see that happen in front of you,” Reese said.
“The only defense we have as an organization and as a society is to continue,” Reese told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We will not be intimidated. ... If anything we’re inspired to do more.”
Rushdie has long been the subject of death threats following the 1988 publication of “The Satanic Verses,” which was deemed blasphemous by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who declared a fatwa against Rushdie.
Iran has denied any involvement in the attack.
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