18 February 2009

Dubai Festival of Censorship

Author Margaret Atwood has decided to withdraw from participating in the first Emirates Airlines International Festival of Literature. She is withdrawing in protest of the Festival banning the book "The Gulf Between Us," by Geraldine Bedell. It seems one of the characters in Ms. Bedell's fictional novel is a gay sheikh in an unidentified Gulf Kingdom. The organizer of the Festival, Isobel Abulhoul, felt that the work "could offend certain cultural sensitivities."

According to the Festival's website, they claim the following list of values:
  • Literacy is the key to all knowledge
  • Literature is a unique and exciting mode of cross-cultural communication
  • Imagination, innovation, and talent should be nurtured
  • Education should be universal, stimulating and relevant
  • A wider awareness of Arabic language and culture will contribute to the future development of the region

Several other authors are now reconsidering their participation in the light of the censorship.

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