31 October, 2020

Joseph Anton

It was Valentine’s Day and he was not getting along with his wife, Marianne. He had several wives and faced the same problem.

Illustration by Sorit
Joseph Anton
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

All this happened years back so why mention it in a secret diary now? In 1989, the world exploded around Joseph Anton when he learnt he had been sentenced to death by Ayatollah Khomeini. It was Valentine’s Day and he was not getting along with his wife, Marianne. He had several wives and faced the same problem. After recording a live show with CBS, he told a journalist he wished he had written a more critical book. Not on Islam, he clarified, but its religious leaders. Anton was always careful about what he said. Wherever he went, he was followed by journalists. One of them, everything in gray, insisted on an interview because he was from Daily Telegraph and had been to public school. A tall friend who was in the car asked him to “f*** off”. He made arrangements to meet his son, Zafar, and moaned the fate of writers who had to face rulers with assassins at their service. Not the US presidents and their CIA, of course!

His mind went back to his Cambridge years where Arthur Hibbert, a medieval history genius, advised him, “You must never...

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