Moorishgirl In India

Over at the Business Standard, Nilanjana Roy has a nice Op-Ed about OFAC, titled: The fatwa that almost was:

Over the last few months, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, an offshoot of the US Treasury Department, almost succeeded in doing what only the most stringently-controlled dictatorships have managed. They came close to shutting down free speech and crippling the right of writers to be heard.

Their weapon of choice was red tape rather than the religious fatwa, but if OFAC’s amendments to the regulations had gone through, it would have had just as chilling an effect on dissident writing. (…) Dissident writers cannot afford to lose the chance to be heard in the US; it took a battle to ensure that they didn’t lose this chance, but hey, the righteous won.

But too many of us are conscious of how close this could have been. It took the combined efforts of half-a-dozen influential US publishers, eminent academic institutions, a writers’ movement and a Nobel Peace Prizewinner’s lawsuit to get OFAC’s laws overturned.

Roy is also kind enough to mention Moorishgirl and my own take on the bloody mess.