It has been almost three months since the British-American writer and faculty member of NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage during a literary event in New York by Hadi Matar at the Chautauqua Institution. On October 14th, 2022, I virtually joined an event, An Evening for Salman Rushdie, organized by PEN International at the British Library to celebrate his strength and dedication as a writer and a champion of free expression. In a way, it was also an evening of reflection. As horrifying as the assault on Rushdie was, it was 33 years in the making. Upon the Satanic Verses publication, protests broke out in India, the novel was banned, and footage of book burnings was widely broadcast around the world. Above all, a fatwa was issued against Rushdie by the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini which sent him into hiding.
Posts published by “Jay Sophalkalyan”
Jay Sophalkalyan was born and raised in Cambodia, so he experiences firsthand of what it is like when free speech is restricted. He came to the United States at 19 for college, mainly because he wanted a challenging education and a social milieu that valued pluralistic thinking and the free exchange of ideas since he knew it was the only way he could grow intellectually and cultivate emotional resiliency. He did his undergraduate studies at Springfield College, where he majored in English with a double minor in Creative Writing and Social Justice. Throughout the years, Jay has worked as an editor-in-chief for a magazine, a contributing writer for a newspaper, and a creative writing teacher at a high school. In 2020, he was chosen to present his critical essay titled, “The Falsity of the American Dream in A Raisin in Sun” at Sigma Tau Delta’s annual international convention. Currently, he is a graduate student at NYU’s XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement. His academic interests include journalism, creative writing, global digital culture, and media studies.
What does it mean to be Chinese? Am I Chinese? With my recent move to New York City, I am surprised at how often I am asked this question: Are you Chinese? I struggle to respond every time because the word “Chinese” can mean a lot of things – a nationality, an ethnicity, a language, and even a culture. And it requires much more than a simple yes or no to answer.
On September 16, I watched as Hong Kongers lined up for hours outside the British Consulate in Admiralty, the city’s eastern central business district, to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. A colossal bed of flowers and pictures of the queen were gradually built up against the consulate walls—it may have been one of the greatest displays of affection for the late monarch witnessed outside the UK.