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Dubai - International Festival of Literature - "The Gulf Between Us" book is banned.

Well they have been busy repressive theocratic thugs in Dubai, now for a state that tries to portray itself as liberal and tolerant they are not doing very well.

Now much like the Germans under Hitler these repressed folk have a problem with books. 

The following is from Infidels Are Cool:

A book festival in the Middle East that claims to celebrate the “world of books in all its infinite variety” has banned a British author because her novel contains references to homosexuality.

The first International Festival of Literature in Dubai has attracted dozens of world-class authors, including Margaret Atwood and Louis de Bernières, with promises that it will be relaxed, vibrant and diverse. One author has found otherwise.

Geraldine Bedell’s book The Gulf Between Us was greeted with enthusiasm by organisers because of its setting in the Middle East, but the mood changed swiftly when they discovered a gay character.

Isobel Abulhoul, director of the festival, wrote to Ms Bedell to tell her that she was not invited. “I do not want our festival remembered for the launch of a controversial book,” she wrote. “If we launched the book and a journalist happened to read it, then you could imagine the political fallout that would follow.”

She explained that the book was unsuitable because one of the characters was a gay sheikh with an English boyfriend and the plot was set against the background of the Iraq War which “could be a minefield for us”.

Ms Bedell, who has lived in the Gulf, told The Times that the book has since been banned from sale in Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates.

“It is incredibly affectionate towards the Gulf. I feel very warmly towards it, except when things like this happen. It calls into question the whole notion of whether the Emirates and other Gulf states really want to be part of the contemporary cultural world … You can’t ban books and expect your literary festival to be taken seriously.”

She said that the gay sheikh was a minor character.

Authors due to attend the festival, which begins on February 26, include Kate Adie, Jung Chang, Carol Ann Duffy, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Anthony Horowitz, Frank McCourt, Sir Mark Tully and Wilbur Smith.

One author contacted by The Times privately condemned the censorship: “One always hopes that these sorts of literary festivals open people’s minds to other people’s cultures, but this doesn’t seem to be the case here.”

Giles Foden, who also plans to attend, said: “I’ve never heard of this happening at other literary festivals, though there is an interesting comparison with that Dutch MP not being allowed to come here, which shows that Britain is not above barring entry to people because of what they say or write.”

Sir Ranulph Fiennes said the festival organisers were merely being practical. “I think that if anybody out there wants to establish a festival of some sort, they would be rather stupid to offend the locals in any way.”

Juliet Annan, Ms Bedell’s publisher, said the censorship system was opaque but was known to discriminate against references to homosexuality, drugs and the theory of evolution. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was banned throughout the Middle East, she said.

Jonathan Heawood, director of English PEN, the writers’ association, said: “Great literary festivals, like great literature, provide amazing opportunities for cultural exchange, which we need now more than ever.

“A literary festival which bars books because of their gay or religious content is neither literary, nor a festival. I hope that the organisers will reconsider.”

Full article.

Moderates Islam having a problem with freedom of speech? Well I am shocked, who knows where this might end. Maybe next these moderate moslems will be banning cartoons oh hang on bad example that. Maybe holding a western woman hostage over a Teddy Bear called Mohammed, oops another bad example.

No doubt someone in Dubai will claim they have free speech and that it was an ecumenical matter or some such religious speak.

Still (tongue inserted firmly in cheek here) at least we can boast to the world that freedom of speech is something we will fight to the death to preseve. That people are welcome no matter what they have to say, after all we would never ban someone called Geert Wilders, oppress their rights of free expression and allow his film to be shown to peers; hold a mature debate about his claims that Islam was a repressive force and being incompatible with a free democracy.

Nope Jackboot Jacqui Smith makes with the banning order...

Still hats off to the mad mullahs in Dubai for giving this novel a shed load of free publicity, no doubt some of which will translate into extra sales...(although not in Dubai obviously)


2 people have spoken:

Oldrightie said...

The UAE have bought Gordon Brown, we'll all be Arab nannies soon.

Fidothedog said...

Gordon has sold out the nation along with his morals and if Lord Levy was right with the tales he may well have sold his own arsehole on occasions.