The American based Free Internet Press on 15 June summed it up. (The piece was repeated the next day in The Guardian )
“A knighthood from The Queen is one of the most prized honours,” wrote correspondent Esther Addley about the honour conferred on Salman Rushdie. As one Canadian noted in this column on 12 February 2006, had the Australian actress Nicole Kidman had been made a dame, rather than receive the AC, the world would have sat up and noticed.
“The heading “Literary World Applauds Salman Rushdie Knighthood” reflected the fact that the news of the knighthood flashed around the world and was reported prominently by the world’s leading newspapers and broadcasters,” Ms Addley continued.
“Salman Rushdie has amassed for himself a fair number of distinctions over the years,” Ms. Addley noted,” among them the Booker of Bookers prize, the Whitbread novel award (twice), the James Tait Black memorial prize, and a fatwa from the Ayatollah Khomeini calling for his immediate assassination.
”Friday, however, came the big one: a knighthood recognizing the services to literature of one of the world’s most lauded – and most divisive – literary grandees. "I am thrilled and humbled to receive this great honor, and am very grateful that my work has been recognized in this way," the newly-minted Sir Salman said in a statement.”
Professor John Sutherland, a former Booker prize judge, suggested the award might represent a tacit olive branch from those who perhaps had failed to support Sir Salman as he might have hoped.
"It’s astonishing that Tony Blair, among others, has been so reluctant to be seen shaking Rushdie’s hand, and here he is getting a knighthood from the Queen," said the emeritus professor of literature.
"Public figures have been very, very reluctant to support Rushdie, particularly when he was under direct threat of assassination. It’s a brave and entirely commendable decision by the people who advise the Queen – I would be curious to know if the recommendation came directly from Downing Street, though."
"It does set the mind speculating what went through his mind when he accepted [the knighthood]," said Professor Sutherland. "He is a nomad. He has a supra-national, post-colonial style, so that it is very hard to say who owns him. And now he has pledged himself in the personal service of the monarch! For the writer of "The Satanic Verses", which was extremely rude about England, it’s certainly unusual."
”He is not the only nominee extended a generosity of spirit in the Queen’s list,” Ms. Addley continued. “Cricketer Ian Botham becomes a knight, quietly overlooking the 1980s suspension from the game for cannabis possession.
”Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty and one of the British government’s most vocal critics on human rights, said she was astonished to get a CBE. "No one was more surprised than me, particularly when it must have been recommended by this government that I have fought so hard," she said. "This is an official royal invitation to do more, and I will take that invitation on behalf of people punished without trial and barred from protest in Parliament Square."
“If it is possible, too, to detect a hint of relish in honouring an author who affronted Iran, Vladimir Putin is equally unlikely to appreciate the award given Oleg Gordievsky "for services to the security of the United Kingdom"; the Russian former double agent becomes a CMG, the same gong given his fictional cold war colleague James Bond,” noted Ms. Addley.
“I certainly agree that Mr. Rushie’s writings have more than earned him this special recognition and my congratulations to those of others,” she concluded. “Since I am an American, however, and not a Briton, I feel I would be remiss if I failed to add: Way to go, Dude! “
And according to the ABCTV 730 Report, 19 June,2007, the Leader of HM’s Australian Opposition, Mr Kevin Rudd, told the Labor Caucus that Salman Rushdie "fully deserved his knighthood." We agree and hope that the Australian Labor Party will also allow deserving Australians to be knighted by their Queen. In the meantime, the foreign governments who have the impertinence to tell the UK to withdraw this knighthood should concentrate on governing their own countries well, rather than interfering in the internal affiairs of the UK.
And now,there is nothing more is there to say than, “Arise, Sir Salman.”