The Koran appears in the sky above me and fries me ...
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 96 10:23:04 -0700
Subject: The Koran appears in the sky above me and fries me ...
[I just HATE when that happens! -psl]
Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: email@example.com (Lawrence Kesteloot)
I've had movies censored, and I realize that I could never
second-guess a censor. I don't know how they think because
they'll want to cut something out of my movie that I would never
imagine they would.
I had the strange experience of becoming a subject of a movie --
this appalling movie made in Pakistan called "International
Guerrillas." It's about the freedom fighters of Islam searching
for me, trying to kill me. I'm the villain of the movie. There is
a character called my name who is the author of The Satanic Verses
who wears a series of appalling safari suits. And every time this
guy arrives on camera there's a sort of satanic "dahh dahh." And
the cameraman always looks to his feet. And there's a slow "pan"
C: That's a "tilt." It's a very common mistake and I get very
R: No, I appreciate it. I would make the same pedantic correction
about writing. And this guy, me, lives in what appears to be an
island in the Philippines, protected by what appears to be the
Israeli army. And various members of these Islamic radicals were
arrested by these Jewish soldiers and are brought to the "me"
character who tortures them, has them tied up and cut about with
swords. And at the end of the film I actually get killed by the
Holy Book itself. The Koran appears in the sky above me and fries
me with lightning.
This dreadful film is so badly made that it's actually difficult
to take it too seriously, but it came to England and was banned.
And I found myself in the strangest position. I'm fighting an
anti-censorship fight and here's somebody banning a film which is
brought about by me. It ended up with me writing to the censors
here, guaranteeing that I would not take legal action against
them. And telling them that I do not wish to be protected in this
It's a wonderful parable about how censorship doesn't work. If
that film had been banned, it would have become the hottest video
in town. Everybody would have seen it. Instead, it was unbanned
at my request and the producers booked the biggest cinema in
Bradford, which is the largest Muslim community, and nobody came.
They lost a fortune, and the film just died overnight.
© 1996 Peter Langston