Thursday, March 15, 2007

Arabs for book burning

We mentioned last week about a Palestinian Arab folktale book that was being banned and destroyed by the PalArab Education Ministry, because of some fairly subtle sexual imagery (it also had scatological references, but those were not controversial from what I can tell.)

After this hit the international press, the ministry reversed its decision.

Ma'an News Agency has a poll on its English website asking:

Was the decision to destroy the folk story collection 'Speak Bird, Speak Again'

...sensible to avoid corrupting the youth?5 %5 %5 % 5.56% (5)
...indicative of a necessity for censorship?1 %1 %1 % 1.11% (1)
...a "bad omen" for free speech?93 %93 %93 % 93.33% (84)

Not a huge number of replies, but their English speaking readers are solidly against censorship.

But the question they ask on their Arabic website, and their answers, are a bit different:

Do you support the destruction of the book 'Speak Bird, Speak Again'؟

Yesه48 %48 %48 % 48.52% (7093)
Noافه43 %43 %43 % 43.89% (6416)
Don't knowف7 %7 %7 % 7.59% (1110)

Total votes : 14619
Now, this is obviously not a scientific poll, but on the other hand the only people who can participate are those who have access to the Internet and read the most "moderate" Palestinian Arabic news source. And still a plurality of these more modern Arabic speakers support not only the censorship but the actual destruction of the book!