Today at Yahoo News:
At Barcelona Forum Salman Rushdie vehemently denounces closing-down of ‘Egunkaria’
At the opening event of the International PEN Club Josep Bargallo, the Chief Councillor of the Catalan Government, also referred to what happened to the Basque-language daily
Gurutze Jauregi –BARCELONA
Condemnation of the closing down of Egunkaria reached writers and journalists all over the world yesterday and the day before yesterday during the conference organised by the International Pen Club as part of the Barcelona Forum. The day before yesterday during the opening event of the conference The Value of the Word both Josep Bargallo, the Conseller en cap or Chief Councillor of the Catalan Government, and the writer Salman Rushdie recalled the closing down of the Basque-language newspaper. And in a press conference yesterday with Martxelo Otamendi, Egukaria’s former Chief Editor, Salman Rushdie himself condemned what had happened to Egunkaria even more vehemently.
When asked about the closing down of Egunkaria, Salman Rushdie said it was “appalling”. The author of “The Satanic Verses” is the Chairman of the American PEN Club and spoke on behalf of the association: “On behalf of the PEN Club of the United States I can say that we are outraged by attacks of this nature.” At the same time he regarded Otamendi’s torture experience as extremely serious in view of his position as a newspaper editor. “If they do things like that to an editor who has a good opportunity in numerous places to talk about what he was subjected to, what will they not do to someone who doesn’t have this possibility?” he asked.
The press conference Salman Rushdie gave with Otamendi created the highest expectation among all the events organised by the International PEN Club yesterday. The author, who has lived under a death threat for many years, spoke about the difficulties and dangers that freedom of expression is facing. Among other things he denounced the efforts made by today’s governments to restrict the bounds of public debate. He also spoke of the power conflict in the world. “The true power struggle today is being concealed. The secret services of Governments and terrorists want to keep it under wraps. Our task is to publish what is going on.”
The opening event the day before yesterday aroused intense curiosity particularly because of the protagonists. Salman Rushdie, the Chairman of the American PEN Club, Josep Bargallo, the Chief Councillor of the Catalan Government, and Carles Torner of the PEN club of Catalonia were among those present.
Rushdie praised the value of the word. “Those who kill writers and journalists will never be able to put an end to their writings,” he said. Rushdie, like Josep Bargallo, referred to the closing down of Egunkaria and expressed solidarity with those who had been arrested. The Chief Councillor of the Catalan Government recalled the dark years endured under the Aznar government and referred to the Egunkaria case as one of the infringements of liberty that had taken place.
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