By Randa Darwish
After the Kuwaiti authorities imposed a ban on large number of books that were supposed to be part of the International Book Fair 2018, Kuwaitis took to social media to express dismay at the government’s decision.
Images of books were shared using hashtags ممنوع في الكويت which literally translates to “Banned in Kuwait” and صور كتاب ممنوع في مكتبتك “Share a photo for a banned book in your library”. People shared photos for the books they own and were listed banned by authorities.
Most of the books were originally Arabic and some are translated from other languages; including Turkish and English books. The noticeable note was that many of the books are old and considered great works around the world, just like books for Gabriel García Márquez, Paulo Coelho and other books on Sufism and religions.
Translation: “It is a really shameful act to ban Arabic and international books considered from the most important books around the world just because we have an uneducated monitor.”
Bothayna AlEssa, a Kuwaiti writer and author also jumped to the hashtags to share an image of a banned book she owns. It is “Men In the Sun”, a novel about Palestinian men were smuggled into Kuwait to find better lives after Nakba.
Translation: “It is a shame.”
Translation: “The great book of Márquez who won a Nobel prize in 1982, 100 Years of Solitude.”
Recently-released reports in Kuwait also indicated that in the last five years, there were more than 4,000 books banned in Kuwait.
Unfortunately, it was confirmed by the Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Mohammad Al-Jabri
Some people went to bring out the irony in the authorities decision, by sharing images for the books banned in their country yet allowed in Saudi Arabia, the country that is known for its strict censorship laws on books and magazines.
Translation: “Books allowed in Saudi Arabia and banned in Kuwait.”