Ronan Bennett sobre Amis
El escritor irlandés Ronan Bennett, autor de la novela Zugzwang, no ha querido pasar por alto el tema de la pelea Amis vs. Eagleton y ha escrito un extenso comentario al respecto en The Guardian. Bennett contextualiza las opiniones de Amis y advierte dos peligros: lo que Amis opinó sobre el Islam es la punta del iceberg, un síntoma de una hostil opinión generalizada en Inglaterra sobre el Islam; y que en un ambiente literario tan despolitizado como el británico, esas opiniones podrían haber pasado por alto si no fuera por Eagleton. El debate no se ha cerrado aunque dudo que Martin Amis vuelva a participar.
Dice: "Amis’s views are symptomatic of a much wider and deeper hostility to Islam and intolerance of otherness. Only last week, the London Evening Standard felt able to sponsor a debate entitled: Is Islam good for London? Do another substitution here and imagine the reaction had Judaism been the subject. As Rabbi Pete Tobias noted on Comment is Free, the so-called debate was sinisterly reminiscent of the paper’s campaign a century ago to alert its readers to the “problem of the alien”, namely the eastern European Jews fleeing persecution who had found refuge in the capital. In this context, Rod Liddle’s contribution to proceedings - “Islamophobia? Count me in” - sounds neither brave, brash nor provocatively outrageous, merely racist. Those who claim that Islamophobia can’t be racist, because Islam is a religion not a race, are fooling themselves: religion is not only about faith but also about identity, background and culture, and Muslims are overwhelmingly non-white. Islamophobia is racist, and so is antisemitism.And it is different for another reason. The views quoted by Eagleton first appeared last year, in an interview Amis gave to Ginny Dougary of the Times. That they passed with virtually no comment at the time says a great deal about the depoliticised state of intellectual debate in Britain.(...)As a novelist, Amis is free to do whatever he wants with his characters, but the hijackers' steps on the road to 9/11 repay investigation. Reducing the motivation of the enemy to bloodlust leads nowhere, as the experience of the British in Ireland proved. The result will be wrong and it will be cliche. It may be, given Amis's spectacular powers, flamboyant, but that will only make it flamboyant cliche. Horrorism. Death cult. Thanatoid. Striking words but poor substitutes for understanding, reason and real knowledge. Go back to the start of this article. Look at the substitutions and then ask yourself what you are reading. An important question from a leading literary figure? A brave revenge fantasy? No. A major cultural and literary figure endorsing prejudice against Muslims. Why did writers not start writing? There is Eagleton and there is the Indian novelist and essayist Pankaj Mishra, who took apart Amis's strange and chaotic essay on the sixth anniversary of 9/11. But where are the others? Four days after the Pentagon and the twin towers were attacked, the novelist Ian McEwan wrote on these pages: "Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality." As an expression of outraged, anguished humanism, McEwan's formulation was truthful, moving and humbling, and can hardly be bettered. But it seems to me the compassion is flowing in one direction, the anger in another. I can't help feeling that Amis's remarks, his defence of them, and the reaction to them were a test. They were a test of our commitment to a society in which imaginative sympathy applies not just to those like us but to those whose lives and beliefs run along different lines. And I can't help feeling we failed that test. Amis got away with it. He got away with as odious an outburst of racist sentiment as any public figure has made in this country for a very long time. Shame on him for saying it, and shame on us for tolerating it."