“Rushdie, the only worthy writer” – Maud Tabachnik, fight writer. By Edith Ochs – Jewish Tribune

Salman Rushdie. Photo JOEL SAGET / AFP. 2018

Maud Tabachnik is a combat author, who places the fight against anti-Semitism and homophobia, against machismo and racism high. With her, the survivors do not lay down their arms, they take revenge.

Her work includes crime novels, such as the investigations of Lieutenant Sam Goodman and lesbian journalist Sandra Khan, and historical detective novels, including The Star of the Templewhich takes place in the Jewish communities of Troyes during the time of the Templars.

Rushdie the only worthy writer Maud Tabachnik fight writer
Maud Tabachnik at the Rendez-Vous de l’Histoire in Blois. October 8, 2022. Photo Bernard Nantet
1665483053 391 Rushdie the only worthy writer Maud Tabachnik fight writer

Last weekend, she presented her two most recent books at the “Rendez-vous de l’Histoire” in Blois: The Beams of Fearwhich is set in Italy under Mussolini, and fool’s gamesa thriller.

It starts with a quarter turn and goes straight to the point. “The Nobel to Annie Ernaux, what do you think? she calls out to me, and she adds, indignantly: You had to attribute it to Rushdie, he’s the only worthy writer!”

It’s true.

Salman Rushdie was the great author designated for this Nobel 2022. Rushdie, an immense writer full of humor, love, fun and fantasy, whose imagination gave birth to a universe that will endure, whose magic pen allows all fantasies, whose culture is universal, the kindness legendary.

The writer was seriously injured with a knife on August 12, in Chautauqua, New York, hit four times in the face, struck in the liver and in the arm. “The road to recovery has begun, announced his agent two days later in The Guardian, but the recovery will be long because the injuries are serious”. Rushdie, symbol of freedom of expression, whose life hangs by a thread since 1989. A writer with global reach and “sentenced to death” for his ideas by criminals, Khomeini and his henchmen, who exploit a religion to poison minds.

Our time can be proud to have a major writer, who embodies in his flesh the fight for freedoms, the Enlightenment, and against the crimes of totalitarian regimes. The Nobel Prize would have been honored to distinguish it, to raise it to the pinnacle, to engrave its name on the pediment of its buildings.

A historic failure

Why didn’t the Nobel Committee crown Salman Rushdie? “He’s been on the Nobel list for a long time,” a source told me. However, the Swedish MeToo not being finished, Annie Ernaux had to correspond to this current. She is certainly the choice of new members of the Academy”.

Its “new members”? In Sweden, MeToo is always on the move. But we must remember who are these famous “new members of the Academy” who overturned the table in 2018. The movement, like a tidal wave, notably pushed the director of the Opera to suicide that year. from Stockholm Benny Fredriksson, accused of sexual harassment according to the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. The media carried out, under the pen of the neo-feminists of Stockholm, a merciless press campaign against “white men over 50”. The hatred was so violent that no one dared to oppose the accusers, all the dikes gave way.

In a sense, the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, which took aim at Roman Polanski, replayed the sequence.

Since then, Svenska Dagbladet admitted to having been “misinformed”.

drunk on power

Unity is strength.

Ill-informed or not, the Stockholm press had conducted a very effective press campaign, with headline photos and posters. As a result, thanks to the support of journalists drunk on their power, the movement brutally ejected some of its members from the Nobel committee. Their main target was the great poetess Katarina Frostenson, unanimously celebrated by all Swedes for the purity of her language and the clarity of her verses. Nevertheless, Ms. Frostenson had two faults, in the eyes of feminists: she did not defend the “cause” enough, and she was married to a Frenchman, Jean-Claude Arnaud, creator and director of the Forum, a very fashionable cultural space in Stockholm.

Dance, music, poetry, the place was, it is said, essential.

As a result, Arnaud was accused – without proof – of rape by a woman writer, author of two “light” novels, it is said. Although the victim acknowledged that she had consented, she complained that the report was too long and too… cumbersome. This “bad way”, certainly regrettable, earned Arnaud a 2.5 year prison sentence with rehabilitation, which he carried out half behind bars, half with an electronic bracelet.

A 3e Frostenson’s fault is, to tell the truth: his coldness under attack — “an icicle”. It’s true, she didn’t scream or cry. In this, Sandrine Rousseau could have given him some advice.

The criteria that take precedence, and the others

But not easy to distinguish an author, a work of world literature? “The Swedish Academy receives proposals from everywhere, the members read the authors for years, concentrating each summer on a group of five, from which the future Nobel Prize will emerge”, specifies my observer. There are language barriers (the author must be accessible in Swedish or English), culture, and political requirements. In 2019, the Swedish Academy emerging from the crisis announced that it was passing its turn, but would award two prizes the following year. Therefore, you have to balance genres — and “genres” here has nothing to do with literary genres such as poetry and romance.

In 2018 the Cannes Film Festival, very committed as we know, awarded the Palme d’Or “for all of his work” to Jean-Luc Godard. Yet we have always emphasized the cruelty of Godard the anti-Semite towards his actresses.

A smile in her gray eyes and clenched fists, Maud Tabachnik said to me: “I never give up anything. I started to fight in 45, in the schoolyard, against insults. You mustn’t give in… We’re living in funny times,” she adds.

“That’s what I’m talking about here,” she adds, pointing to her historical novel.

Two women stop in front of the stand. One of them takes a copy of Dupe Games. The smile has returned, and Maud picks up her pen.

© Edith Ochs

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“Rushdie, the only worthy writer” – Maud Tabachnik, fight writer. By Edith Ochs – Jewish Tribune