If you really want to honor Banned Book Week

by Rachel Baker on September 24, 2014

Its really easy here in the US to talk about banned book week and talk about all the ridiculous bannings there have been because people get their panties in a wad about the contents of a book.

Here’s a fantastic article by Alexia Underwood about six books that are banned in the Middle East that all of us should read if we really want to honor banned book week.

Read about it here:Six Banned Middle Eastern Books You Should Read

Since the dawn of the written word, governments and leaders across the world have worked both openly and subversively to keep the views and opinions of writers in check. In the Middle East, an incredibly diverse region with a clamor of languages, dialects, and opinions, authors who clash with the prevailing rhetoric often have to work within narrow constraints in order to have their voices heard.

Writing can be a dangerous, even lethal profession in the region. Examples abound: The blind Iraqi-Persian poet Bashar Ibn Bourd—famed for both his ugliness and his number of lovers—was beaten and thrown into the Tigris river for his licentious poetry in 784. British author Salman Rushdie’s book The Satanic Verses famously inspired Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa calling for his murder; the book’s Japanese translator was subsequently stabbed to death. In the political tumult of the Arab uprisings, censorship of the written word has continued; in the Persian Gulf, for example, Bahraini poet and student Ayat al-Qormezi was imprisoned and tortured for reading a poem that she had written mocking the Bahraini regime during the protests in 2011. Some formerly banned books have found their way back to shelves in Tunisia and Egypt, but censorship still persists. In June, an Egyptian court sentenced author Karam Saber to five years in prison for his collection of short stories Where is God? Even in the age of the Internet, it’s clear that the printed word retains the power to titillate and infuriate.

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to Become a Patron or to follow on Twitter.

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