From Orwell to ‘Little Mermaid,’ Kuwait steps up book banning
(From the New York Times. Link to the complete article given below)
No book, it seems, is too substantive or too insignificant to be banned in Kuwait. Recent targets of the government’s literary censors include an encyclopedia with a picture of Michelangelo’s David and a Disney version of “The Little Mermaid.”
David had no fig leaf, and the mermaid, alas, wore half a bikini.
“There are no hijab-wearing mermaids,” said Shamayel al-Sharikh, a Kuwaiti women’s activist. “The powers that be thought her dress was promiscuous. It’s humiliating.”
Kuwaitis like to think of their country as an enclave of intellectual freedom in the conservative Persian Gulf, a haven that once welcomed exiled Arab writers. But that self-image is becoming harder to sustain.
Responding to the demands of a growing conservative bloc in Parliament, the government is increasingly banning books.
In August, the government acknowledged that it had banned 4,390 books since 2014, hundreds of them this year, including many works of literature that had once been considered untouchable, setting off street demonstrations and online protests.