"Nell’America che ha eletto Donald Trump nuovo Presidente degli Stati Uniti c’è chi si batte per la difesa del diritto costituzionale e al porto delle armi da fuoco. Ma le conseguenze ce la racconta la cronaca con il lungo elenco di delitti o di incidenti per l’uso domestico di pistole e fucili. Come se fossimo in un moderno Saloon del Far West Donald Trump è, per i costruttori, il simbolo di tutto ciò."
(Carnevale di Viareggio, 2017)
"We have long been familiar with the power of the Chinese to balance colours, but we were not so well acquainted with their power of treating purely ornamental or conventional forms ; and in the chapter in the Grammar of Ornament on Chinese Ornament I was led, from my then knowledge, to express the opinion that the Chinese had not the power of dealing with conventional ornamental form : but it now appears that there has been a period in which a School of Art existed in China of a very important kind. We are led to think that this art must in some way have had a foreign origin; it so nearly resembles in all its principles the art of the Mohammedan races, that we may presume it was derived from them. It would be no difficult task to take a work of ornament of this class, and, by simply varying the colouring and correcting the drawing, convert it into an Indian or Persian composition. There is of course, in all these works, something essentially Chinese in the mode of rendering the idea, but the original idea is evidently Mohammedan. The Moors of the present day decorate their pottery under the same instinct, and follow the same laws as the Chinese obeyed in their beautiful enamelled vases. The Moorish artist takes a rudely–fashioned pot or other object, and by a marvellous instinct divides the surface of the object, 'by spots of colour, into triangles of proportionate area, according to the form and size of the object; these triangles are then crossed by others."
(Owen Jones, 1867)
Owen Jones (1867). "Examples of Chinese Ornament Selected from Objects in the South Kensington Museum and Other Collections: By Owen Jones. One Hundred Plates", S. & T. Gilbert, 4 Copthall Buildings, E.C. Back of the Bank of England.
"I envisioned This Land Is Mine as the last scene of my potential–possible–maybe– feature film, Seder–Masochism, but it's the first (and so far only) scene I've animated. As the Bible says, 'So the last will be first, and the first will be last.'"
Fig.1 Nina Paley (2012) "This Land Is Mine".
"The history of modern Iran provides a dramatic illustration of the fallacy represented by the modern jingoism of 'better our imperialism than theirs'. For the two forms of imperialism are actually intimately related. By forcefully imposing Western values on Muslim states we are merely creating the ideal conditions for the very form of Islamic imperialism we most fear. At the same time, by maintaining an attitude of almost complete insensitivity in relation to The Satanic Verses we are feeding the cruel fundamentalism we seek to oppose. For the continued prestige of the novel in the West is itself a source of cultural humiliation for countless thousands of Muslims both in this country and elsewhere.
Most ironically of all, by persisting in their intransigent support for Rushdie's novel, Western liberals are demonstrating not their strength but their weakness. For it is by having the courage to correct mistakes and misjudgments that cultures ultimately demonstrate their strength.
In this respect Salman Rushdie's reflections on his own possible fallibility are highly significant. In his essay 'In Good Faith', he writes: 'Would I have written differently if I had known what would happen? Truthfully, I don't know. Would I change any of the text now? I would not. It's too late. As Friedrich Dürrenmatt wrote in The Physicists: 'What has once been thought cannot be unthought.' '
The flaw in this argument is that the quotation from Dürrenmatt addresses a quite different problem from that which is at issue. It is quite true that 'what has once been thought cannot be unthought' but thoughts are not words. They are essentially private and the fact that we cannot 'unthink' them is irrelevant to the Rushdie affair. For it is one of the conditions of human freedom that we can choose whether or not to voice in public the thoughts that we have in private. And having once chosen to commit our thoughts to speech or to writing we remain free to have 'second thoughts' – to revise, change or even completely repudiate what we have already said.
It is, indeed, almost a precondition of successful human relationships that we should remain free to withdraw or apologise for remarks which have proved hurtful, to 'unsay' things which we have already said and to put right mistakes or misjudgments. To place ourselves in a position where we are unable to do this is a sign not of liberty but of rigidity. Indeed, when Rushdie claims that he cannot alter or withdraw what he has written, he appears to invest himself with the infallibility which traditional religious believers normally ascribe to their gods and their divinely inspired prophets. It is just such delusions which lead to the monolithic and terrible certainties of scripture. By implicitly applying a scriptural doctrine of inerrancy to his own secular writing Rushdie has come close to making a novel – a human fable – into something as rigid and dangerous as scripture itself."
(Richard Webster, 1992)
"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non–believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace."