Why is only Salman Rushdie speaking out on behalf of Ms. Dala, who has been committed to a mental hospital, drugged until she "can barely walk," beaten with a brick to the face, and harassed "into submission?"
Where are the voices of the women of America? Where is NOW (the National Organization of Women)? Now that we mention it, NOW activists are too busy advocating for equal pay for women in America -- which they already have but refuse to acknowledge it -- to jump in and voice outrage over the beating and drugging of a woman in South Africa.
And they are too busy advocating for unlimited abortion-on-demand rights for women, which must be funded by the taxpayers, to speak up for free speech rights for women overseas.
And they are too busy pushing lesbianism on their members and advocating a man-hating agenda to actually help real women in need.
The bottom line on the NOW shrews is that Ms. Dala's ordeal doesn't fit neatly into NOW's agenda.
"I’ve been … drugged till I can barely walk … and broken down into a submission where I will follow the straight path."
By David Smith
A South African author who was violently attacked for expressing admiration for Salman Rushdie has been admitted to a mental health institution, allegedly under intense pressure from the local Islamic community.
Zainub Priya Dala claims she has been “harangued to withdraw, dissect, explain and renounce my admiration of [Rushdie’s] works”, but is determined to resist. “I could just as easily burn my Oscar Wilde collection because some homophobes came calling,” she says.
Booker prize winner Rushdie has intervened, calling for South African authorities to protect Dala and her right to express literary opinions to be defended. The writers’ association PEN International has also condemned her treatment.
Dala is a psychologist and a physiotherapist who recently published her first novel, What About Meera. During a literary festival last month in Durban, she said she admired the writing of Arundhati Roy and Rushdie, whose book The Satanic Verses resulted in the issuing of a fatwa and death warrant in 1989. Some audience members walked out.
A day later, three men forced her car off the road, put a knife to her throat and hit her face with a brick, breaking her cheekbone. They called her “Rushdie’s bitch” and, had a minibus taxi not appeared at that moment, she says, she is certain she “would’ve been stabbed”.
According to PEN, Dala is married into a family whose elders are important figures in Durban’s Muslim religious and business community. She has been told to recant, repent and say prayers, often in late-night phone calls. Her husband agrees that she should accept what the religious leaders say “and be done with it”, the charity added.
Dala initially consented to be admitted to Life St Joseph’s mental healthcare facility in Durban because of post-traumatic stress but, in a statement released via PEN, explained: “My husband consulted with a holy older person who felt it’s best I be put into St Joseph’s till I can think right and accept Islam. But I am vehemently refusing. Which lands me here in a mental hospital for who knows how long. Come right means … become a good Muslim woman, stay covered and silent. This is not right.”
She continued: “I’ve been … drugged till I can barely walk … and basically broken down into a submission where I will follow the straight path (if there is one). I feel that the far-reaching damage to my kids will be severe as they attend schools that are 90% Muslim. And I refuse to educate them with fire and brimstone stories about how they may go to heaven but their beloved grandmother will burn in hellfire.
“That’s what they are teaching the kids now anyway. I have also been harangued to withdraw, dissect, explain and renounce my admiration of [Rushdie’s] works. I could just as easily burn my Oscar Wilde collection because some homophobes came calling. I can’t turn back now and pretend I never admired his writing. I would look like a fool.”
Dala has expressed a desire to return home to her husband and two children but said her doctor has gone on leave. “The reality is that I’m going to have to stay here until my psychiatrist comes back, and that is like torture.”
Alarmed by the reports from South Africa, British author Rushdie has joined PEN’s efforts to support Dala. In an email to the Guardian on Sunday, he said: “What remains plain is that Z P Dala has been placed under unbearable psychological pressure for simply saying she liked my ‘literary style’.
“I hope she can be released soon, that the South African authorities can provide her with proper protection to avoid a repetition of the horrific physical attack of some weeks ago, and that she can be helped to resume her life wherever and however she wishes.”
He added: “It’s also important that her right to express literary opinions be defended. She has been subjected to appalling pressure from her own community for an entirely innocent passing remark made at a literary event.”
Salman Rushdie has been living under a death sentence from Islamists worldwide since his book, "The Satanic Verses," inflamed Muslims for what they believed was criticism of the prophet Mohammad.
Jo Glanville, director of English PEN, said: “The repercussions of her public statement of support for Salman Rushdie should appal anyone who cares about freedom of expression in South Africa. That this assault has been followed by pressure from Dala’s own community, leading to her detention in a mental institution, is not treatment that any of us would expect to see in an open society.”
The Islamic Council of South Africa was unavailable for comment.