According to AFP, Saad al-Anzi, who heads the fair, said the information ministry had banned 948 books from among those screened for the fair.
"The higher court reversed the previous death-sentence ruling and replaced it with eight years, eight hundred lashes, and public repentance. "
"[T]he recent surge in the prosecution of opinion makers comes in conjunction with a fierce security campaign launched by security bodies against freedom of opinion and expression, with the aim of narrowing the overall climate of freedom of opinion and expression."
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information yesterday condemned the detention of Omani poet and TV producer Nasser Al-Badri.
One possible harbinger of ongoing state censorship is the caretaker government's Minister of Culture, Mohamed al-Sawy. His appointment has not been met with enthusiasm from most artists and writers. Novelist Gamal al-Ghitani, for instance, told Ahram Online that al-Sawy's appointment was "a disaster that defaces Egyptian culture."
...the present kind of censorship by say, religious conservatives, is much more damaging and much more frightening for the writer because you don’t know exactly who you are offending, where the threat is coming from or what the possible punishment might be. When the state was exercising censorship, you knew: the book would be banned and you’d be stopped from writing for a while--maybe even go to prison for a little while if it was really bad. All this is awful, of course, but at least it's calculable.
Organizers of the Arabic Booker can put an extra feather in their caps today. Not only has the prize raised the profile of Arabic literature worldwide, but it has also given one writer a renewed feeling of social reponsibility.
Thanks to translator Barbara Benini for this tip. (Benini is the Italian translator of Ahmed Nagi's Rogers.) Metro, a graphic novel penned by blogger/artist Magdy al-Shafee, is not available here in Cairo after having been yanked from shelves in 2009. The Qasr el Nil Court of Misdemeanors upheld the book's ban in November of last … Continue reading Magdy El-Shafee’s /Metro/ Not Available in Arabic, or English, But You Will Find It in…Italian
Gamal al-Ghitani is interviewed in this week's Qantara, mostly on the topic of the latest legal wrangling over 1,001 Nights. With all due respect to a greater literary mind, I must disagree with al-Ghitani's statement that there is no government censorship of media (newspapers can, for instance, criticize Hosni now?). However, I certainly agree that … Continue reading Gamal al-Ghitani on the 1,001 Nights and the Egyptian Cultural Scene
A new English version of The Arabian Nights, translated by Malcolm and Ursula Lyons, is making its way around the English-speaking world. It's apparently quite beautifully done, and also quite expensive. The version that recently came out in Cairo was edited by renowned novelist Gamal al-Ghitani, and part of a low-priced, state-sponsored series. Although also, … Continue reading Well, This Isn’t Going to Help Us Read Arabic: The Kerfuffle Over /Arabian Nights/
Now isn't that a touching image? A recent hesba case against Yousef Ziedan's "Arabic Booker"-winning Azazeel apparently has brought together book banners from both Christian and Muslim camps. According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) , "Christian lawyers have joined the neo actio popularis team in Egypt and demanded a five year … Continue reading Christian and Muslim Lawyers Join Hands in Seeking to Ban Books
All right, the dean of Arabic literature died in 1973, so I couldn't have asked his opinion on the matter. And no, Taha Hussein did not appear to me in a dream, a vision, or a puff of smoke in order to weigh in on the proposed ban of this literary classic. But there is … Continue reading Taha Hussein on the Debate over Banning 1,001 Nights