Iranian Literature – Afarin Rahmanifar Fri, 23 Sep 2022 15:24:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Iranian Literature – Afarin Rahmanifar 32 32 A collection of African folk tales touches the hearts of South African children Fri, 23 Sep 2022 13:36:22 +0000

Ethnikids, in partnership with Wimpy, has launched a collection of African folk storybooks in the 11 official languages, which school psychologist Seago Maapola says speak to South African children.

Maapola said it was shocking that literacy levels in the country were “much lower than they should be”, with nearly 80% of 4th graders unable to read in their native language.

“Research has shown that if a child is unable to read at age 13, they will drop out of school and not be able to go to high school because they lack the basic skills they need to succeed. high school.”

Maapola praised the founders of Ethnikids and the authors who have created various reading materials with “multicultural multilingual contents and tales that represent the crucible of the rainbow nation”.

Chicharito author Sihle Nontshokweni said mother tongue books were not mainstream and not readily available, but she was happy to be part of an initiative that will officially change that. narrative.

READ ALSO: Why African stories matter more than ever

Nontshokweni said the most important part of this project was seeing the children emotionally and mentally relate to the characters she and her colleagues created.

A relative, Comfort Tshabalala, said coming from a village to Johannesburg was a culture shock for her and her family. Her son often felt left out when they visited his family because he had become used to speaking only English.

“Every time we come home and he has to mingle with his cousins ​​and other kids, he feels like he’s from another planet, and so these books help him to better learn their mother tongue,” she added.

Ethnikids co-founder Khumo Tapfumaneyi said everyone has the right to use the language and participate in the cultural life of their choice.

Studies also show that linguistic diversity in literature creates smarter, happier children who are more likely to succeed later in life.

She noted that 78% of children were unable to understand what they read by the age of 10 and that only 2% of children’s books in South Africa were in African languages, even though 80% of the mother tongue of South Africans was not English.

Tapfumaneyi also said it was important for children’s self-image to relate to what they read, but also to spark a love of reading.

The citizen

Gender and Sexual Diversity in Islamic Art Thu, 15 Sep 2022 13:34:36 +0000 The common medieval tradition of gender and sexual diversity within Muslim and Arab societies proves how heterogeneous and tolerant practices can thrive.

No artistic discipline is more neglected in Islamic civilization than its figurative art, which involves the depiction of humans and animals on any surface.

While the Jewish ban on this art form has influenced Islamic doctrines and cultures until today; As Islamic civilization expanded into cultural centers outside the Arabian Peninsula, new Muslim nations continued to create images consistent with their inherited local artistic traditions, with varieties in quality, quantity, styles, storage conditions and rules followed to determine what is authorized or authorized. not.

Thus, what is called “Islamic art” does not necessarily reflect religion or religious views, but it surely reflects the Muslim cultures that have shaped the production of these arts.

“Unlike modern Muslim societies where heterosexuality is seen as the default ‘norm’, medieval Muslim societies saw bisexuality as the norm for men, at least in terms of attraction and desires”

Yet the subject most modern Muslims would not expect to find in the artwork of their ancestors is the depiction of love affairs and sexuality.

Although such depictions are rare compared to images made of other subjects, the surviving erotic images are stunning and breathtaking.

These works were painted for different reasons in books or on objects intended to belong generally to educated and privileged people, since painting was – in general – an expensive art form.

In this article, we have a general view of the representation of gender and sexual diversity in classical Islamic art, providing some examples from different eras and areas, and taking into account that the images selected are more conservative than those not shared.

Mughal emperor Jahangir in 18th century Nepal

Among the earliest surviving figurative art in Islamic history are the murals of the Amra bathhouse in Jordan, which belonged to the Umayyad Caliph Alwalid bin Yazid in the 8th century.

Here we can see depictions of naked women bathing and topless dancers and men wrestling in their underwear, but there are also heterosexual love and sex scenes.

At that time, most local artists were still influenced by Greco-Roman artistic traditions, belonging to a very sensual culture. Moreover, historical records show that Alwalid bin Yazid was a very secular libertine ruler, keen on visual arts.

This explains the existence of such images in his public baths. In fact, the tradition of decorating the walls of public baths continued to be widespread throughout the Islamic world.

In his book The Ring of the Dovethe Andalusian polymath and jurist Imam Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi reproaches his friend for having fallen in love with an imaginary girl whom he saw in his dream, and he says to him: “I would excuse you if you fell in love with a picture of those in the bathhouse.“But what would be the images at the public baths?

Couple from Reza Abbasi, Iran 17th century

Unfortunately, apart from the Amra bathhouse, we don’t have many bathhouse frescoes from the medieval Islamic period.

Yet the use of the gender-neutral phrase “loving images” is known in ancient Arabic literature to mean falling in love with male or female characters, whether depicted in paintings or as actual human beings.

Unlike modern Muslim societies where heterosexuality is seen as the default “norm”, medieval Muslim societies saw bisexuality as the norm for men, at least in terms of attraction and desires.

Thus, the depiction of beautiful young people would be as beautiful and erotic as the depiction of girls, whether in the form of murals in the homoerotic atmosphere of public baths, or anywhere else.

In fact, from at least the Safavid dynasty (from 1500), it is difficult to distinguish between young men and women in Persian art because beardless boys look gentle and feminine, while that girls are somehow masculine.

They both wear jewelry and a similar fashion style. Only the breast may be the key to distinguishing between the two sexes, but even this characteristic is not obvious in many cases. This reflects not only the beauty standards of the time, but also the sexual preference in the Islamic world in general, and in Persian societies in particular.

This eerie atmosphere can be extended to Turkish/Ottoman miniatures, where boys would replace women by cross-dressing while performing and dancing at public events. Indeed, it was not acceptable for women “to humiliate their honor” in the presence of strangers, while the sexual reputation of boys “can be replenished” once they reach adulthood.

Couple, Amra Omayyad Public Baths, Jordan 8th Century
Shah abbas with his cupbearer by Mohd Qasim, Iran 17th century

In general, although the Arabs were the nation most open to the production of erotic literature in medieval times, their surviving figurative arts are more conservative than the works of non-Arab Muslims.

Nudity in Arabic imagery was mostly time-limited and justified by context, while even intimate scenes were usually portrayed in subtle ways. It seems that the Arabs believed that what is allowed to be spoken or written is not necessarily acceptable to be represented visually.

This belief is persistent until today, and this view extends to their conservative stance on the depiction of the prophets, whereas non-Arab Muslims found no problem in any subject.

For example, Mughal art which flourished in South Asia under Islamic rule (from 1600) – can be considered the most erotic school among all Islamic art schools. This school was heavily influenced by a Hindu culture already filled with erotic sculptures and paintings.

Therefore, Mughal artists from all walks of life saw no problem in depicting erotic scenes, including not only heterosexual couples, but also other sexual forms and practices, including lesbian romance, orgies, and even bestiality.

As Westernization swept through the Islamic world during the colonization of the first half of the 20th century, Muslims borrowed and adopted conservative sexual norms at the time, mixed with ignored religious views, which strongly influenced the arts and local literature.

Women in Zenana, 17th century Mughal India

This led to the banning or censorship of certain ancient works classified as violating public taste and led to the complete disappearance of homoeroticism in Islamic art.

Many modern Iranian artists still draw inspiration from ancient Persian romantic miniatures, but they avoid the depiction of nudity and handsome boys, in keeping with the homophobic norms imposed by the modern regime and society.

Ironically, these standards do not resemble the standards of ancient Muslim societies, but rather those of Victorian morality.

Jamal Bakeer is a Jordanian/Lebanese writer, multiplatform storyteller, and heritage and civilization researcher.

Follow him on Twitter: @JamalBakir

Launch of a virtual school for Iranian students abroad Sun, 11 Sep 2022 14:48:13 +0000

TEHRAN – The Ministry of Education will launch a virtual school for Iranian students residing in other countries, IRNA reported on Sunday.

Some Iranians live in areas where there are no schools for them, said Mehdi Fayyazi, head of the Ministry of Education’s center for international affairs and students residing abroad.

Benefiting from this virtual system, students can pursue their educational programs both online and offline, he added.

Some 8,500 Iranian students are currently studying in 76 schools in other countries, he said, noting that 1,006 teachers work in the schools.

university students

Some 108,000 students from 117 countries have enrolled in Iranian universities for the current academic year (as of September 23), said Mohammad Mohammadi Masoudi, an official with the Ministry of Science.

According to unofficial statistics, more than 300,000 Iranian students are studying abroad, each of them an opportunity for the country, he said.

According to official statistics, more than 95,000 Iranians are studying in various countries, with the largest number studying in the United States, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Canada, Malaysia, England, Russia, Australia, Hungary, Cyprus and France, respectively.

Iran is among 15 countries that have successfully attracted international students, according to Mohammad Javad Salmanpour, the Organization’s deputy director for student affairs.

Some 8,500 Iranian students are currently studying at 76 schools in other countries.

The education of foreign students in Iran has increased significantly compared to previous years, even last year it doubled, he said.

However, he is far from the desired position; Because Iranian universities have superior capabilities in all respects than universities in regional or European countries, he noted.

Iran has the capacity and capacity to have over 250,000 foreign students by 2026, he said.

Currently, nearly 100,000 foreign nationals are studying in Iran, of which more than 90% come from Iraq and Afghanistan and the rest come from other countries.

These students study in different fields of science, research and technology, health and medical education, as well as in the fields of humanities, Islamic sciences, Persian language and literature, law, the fundamental principles of Islamic law, the fields of management, economics, psychology, social. sciences, as well as engineering, agricultural sciences, animal sciences and basic sciences.

Currently, foreign nationals constitute 1.64 percent of the country’s student population, about 0.14 percent above the target set by the sixth five-year national development plan (2016-2021), Salmanpour said in April.

Twenty-five percent of foreign students studying at Iranian universities are Afghan nationals, he added.

Afghan students attend Iranian universities in three ways; some enter university by taking Iran’s national entrance exam, and others are admitted by universities that have non-Iranian student licenses. The third group also attended universities across the country on scholarships, he said.

Health insurance coverage, longer residency, shorter visa processing time and the award of exemplary students are among the conditions provided for foreign nationals studying in Iran.


Pronouncing children’s names correctly is important. Here’s how to do it right. Fri, 09 Sep 2022 16:56:11 +0000

For some students, returning to school with new teachers and classmates can be especially difficult. “As a black kid, I had this experience of people mispronouncing my name,” says author and educator Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow. She has everything from Jamal to Jamalia to Janelle. A teacher called him Jamil. “I always remember going, ‘Oh. Just add a ah.’ Meanwhile, she thought, “My name is literally three syllables.

When she became a high school teacher, Thompkins-Bigelow watched as other teachers, especially white educators, “dismissed the importance of” naming names well. A student at her school had an unusual “musical” name. “You could tell it was very carefully crafted,” she says. But few educators took the time to learn the student’s name, or they tried once and gave up, using a nickname instead.

Thompkins-Bigelow recalled how “Jamil” felt. “I knew it had to be fixed,” she says, noting that her brother’s name was also “terribly butchered” when he was young.

His book your name is a song was born. In this tale, Thompkins-Bigelow’s protagonist, Kora-Jalimuso, describes how her teacher mispronounces her name. “It got stuck in his mouth,” she told her mother.

your name is a song is one of many children’s picture books and chapters that celebrate and affirm names. And during the start of the school year, it is especially important that educators learn to name all children correctly.

While mispronouncing a student’s name may seem minor to some adults, it can have a significant impact, says Christine Yeh, a professor at the University of San Francisco’s School of Education.

“It sends the message that they are ‘different’ or don’t belong in this society,” Yeh says. Later feelings of invisibility, anxiety, resentment, shame and humiliation can lead to social and educational disengagement, she adds.

There is a better message to send. Adults who work with children can make them feel like “valued members of the community” by getting the right names, Yeh says. They can sign the My Name, My Identity pledge and learn tips for remembering and pronouncing student names.

For example, adults may say, “I really want to be able to pronounce your name the way you want to hear it” or “I’d like to say your name the way your family says it.” Can you help me learn to say it?

And they can go further, using name books to create an atmosphere where everyone’s name is valued. Yeh says all types of educators, at all levels, are in a unique position to send children the message that they matter “and that their stories matter.”

An unjust burden

In his book My name is an addressEkuwah Mends Moses, the child of an African American mother and an immigrant father from Ghana, explores his name and family history along the way.

“Did you know that a name includes history, geography and migration? ” she writes. “Language, culture and heritage are also linked to a person’s name.” The Bottom Line: Every name tells a story, and everyone’s story is worth telling, even though children often get a different message.

Sheetal Sheth has been an actor since the 1990s, “before brown was cool,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many people have suggested or strongly recommended that I change my name.” Sheth, who is Native American, has seen this happen to other aspiring actors of color and Jews as well. Sheth kept her name and thinks she lost roles as a result.

When she went to a bookstore to start building her first baby’s bookcase, she realized, “Oh my god. These are the same books I had when I was growing up. The handful of new ones that offered more representation “felt very symbolic,” she says. “It ends up being like, I have the Diwali book, I have the Eid book, I have the Lunar New Year book.”

It prompted her to write Always Anjali, the story of a seven-year-old girl who plays instruments and plays sports, has dinner with her parents and goes to school. Protagonist Anjali can’t spot her name in the middle of a souvenir license plate, and when a classmate sings a mocking song about her name, she considers changing it.

Editing has changed a bit since Sheth was shopping Always Anjalireleased in 2018. But some of the notes she got from editors on her pitch”[were] either whitewashing the story or they’d be like, “Well, that doesn’t sound Indian enough.”

Sheth says she wanted to produce a slice-of-life story where “the culture is not the narrative”. She wondered, “Why can’t you do a story about the children, when the family is just Indian? The dominant white culture manages to do that.

Ekuwah mends Moses

Now when she reads Always Anjali in schools, Sheth asks students to raise their hands if they’ve ever had someone mispronounce their name, misspell their name, or give them a nickname they don’t like.

Almost all hands go up. “It’s universal,” she says.

At the same time, the kids who take the time to approach her afterwards and share that their teachers and friends mispronounce their name are often kids of color. “It shouldn’t be up to them” to correct and guide teachers, Sheth says. But at the same time, they must be equipped to face the world in which they live. [feel like you] I can’t fix it anymore,” Sheth says, but she encourages the kids not to give up. She will tell them: “You absolutely can. Let’s do it now.

Sheth walks a familiar line to those who think deeply about this question: how to help children stand up for their names without placing the burden on them of addressing the bias behind others’ reluctance to try to master certain names.

Educators can relieve students of this burden. Thompkins-Bigelow says, “When that name gets stuck in your mouth as a teacher, you just have to say it—’I don’t quite understand your name’—and not in a joking way, like, ‘That’s funny, I can’t do it.” She recommends saying, “Could you repeat that or break up?” and includes an important addition: the word sorry. Otherwise, Thompkins-Bigelow says, you’re asking kids to do all the emotional work, to take the discomfort on themselves.

In your name is a songthe teacher ends up showing initiative by asking, “Can we hear your [name] song again? Then she chants Kora-Jalimuso’s name.

“It’s important to tell kids, ‘You may have to stand up for yourself, but at the same time, that’s not fair,'” Thompkins-Bigelow says. She advises educators to say, “I’m sorry to make this difficult for you, but I want to do the extra work so that the rest of the year you don’t always feel bored or belittled. one way or another. “Because that’s what she saw in the teenagers she taught whose names were mispronounced: irritation on one side, and a defeated acceptance on the other.

When a fictional character like Kora-Jalimuso engages in the process of insisting on respecting their name, it helps young people feel more comfortable clarifying their own pronunciation, sometimes multiple times.

Juana Martinez-Neal wrote Alma and how she got her name to tell the story of his relatives and how they passed on their names. But she also wrote it thinking of her childhood in Peru with “a harsh, old-fashioned name” that others have perpetually replaced with nicknames.

“Everyone thought it was too big and too loud for this tiny little thing,” she says. When her class graduated from high school, the students received a necklace bearing their name. She remembers filling in the boxes on the form with Juana, full stop. A well-meaning volunteer parent changed it to “Juanita”.

Sheet sheath

Now a parent in Connecticut, Martinez-Neal found a way to make it right with her daughter’s teachers. “Every year we send out a recording of how to pronounce his name, because we’re ahead of the game.”

Martinez-Neal repeats and states her own name so often in the United States that when she traveled to Peru, “They asked for my name and I said in Spanish, ‘Juana, Juana.’ And the girl looked at me like, ‘Why are you telling me that?'”

Possibility of empowerment

Yangsook Choi points to this phenomenon as a key experience of early immigration for many people: names that seem ordinary in one place stand out in another. In his book The name jar, Protagonist Unhei realizes, “Oh, I have a strange-sounding name.” Choi recalls her own arrival in the United States as an international student at age 24: “English is the biggest monster I have ever encountered,” she says. “Even to this day, it makes me sweat, shake and freeze at times.” She remembers places with different smells, foods that taste different. There are so many different things for a young newcomer, she says, that it can be tempting not to want your name to be an additional difference.

This is partly why Choi wrote The name jar, although his childhood also informed him. In Korean, “‘Yang’ is sweet, and ‘sook’ is pure or clean in spirit,” she says. But in practice, his name also sounds a bit like the word bucket. “People were literally calling me, ‘Hey, bucket, the ceiling is leaking. “”She knew they were joking, but it still felt like a downgrade from something special to just an object.

In The name Jar, protagonist Unhei has allies, including a classmate and her grandmother, who support her in choosing to call herself by her own name again. This type of plot offers a unique opportunity to discuss “both helpful and hurtful responses to a name that is unfamiliar to most members of a school community,” says Judy Viertel, school librarian at the Marshall San Francisco Elementary School. “Teachers and librarians can use this book to promote meaningful conversations about respectful responses,” she says. For example, fourth-grade readers can consider what the adult characters in some of these books could have done to ensure that less of a burden fell on the protagonist. And they can explain why incidental diversity in literature is so important.

Chicago-based literacy scholar Nawal Qarooni recounts the experiences of the characters in many of these books.

“As an Iranian and Arab-American who grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a predominantly white school with a single name, I felt my whole life as if I was extremely different,” says Qarooni. The name books are important so “kids can see each other,” she says, and even just “to show that not all names are Annie and Sara.”

She calls having naming books and accompanying activities like asking children to ask their caregivers about their own naming stories, “essential and empowering.” A PTA or school library would do well to purchase name books as part of a larger equity initiative, she says, “regardless of teacher training or school population.”

Qarooni adds that she sees her son Ehsan’s opportunity to learn the history of her name as “a superpower”. With the right approach, she adds, “teachers can design their classrooms and communities to support that power.”

Gail Cornwall is a freelance writer based in San Francisco.

Turkish scholar Ali Temizel awarded Iranian Shahriar Medal Sun, 04 Sep 2022 13:48:53 +0000

TEHRAN — Turkish scholar Ali Temizel has been awarded the Shahriar Medal, a decoration Iran awards to foreign scholars who have made outstanding contributions to the study of the Persian language.

Director of the Mevlana Research Institute of Selcuk University Temizel received the medal from Iranian Ambassador to Ankara Mohammad Farazmand during a special ceremony at the Iranian Embassy , the Sadi Foundation, a Tehran-based organization that promotes the Persian language abroad, announced on Sunday.

In a short speech, Temizel expressed his thanks for the medal and spoke about the strong influence of the Persian language in Turkey.

He also underlined Turkish students’ desire for their country’s history and culture and noted that it is difficult to learn about the issues without knowing the Persian language.

The Turkish expert on Persian literature expressed his hope that an expansion of academic ties between Iran and Turkey would help improve Persian language learning in Turkey.

For his part, Farazmand said: “The Persian language is a key part of Turkish culture, which has spread to Anatolia over the centuries, and learning Farsi has turned into a growing movement. flourishing”.

Alireza Danesh, Iranian cultural attaché in Turkey, was also present at the ceremony.

He expressed his appreciation for Temizel’s hard work in promoting Iranian poet Mohammad-Hossein Behjat, better known by his pseudonym Shahriar, in Turkey and said, “The awarding of this cultural medal to Professor Temizel should be seen as an appreciation of his long service in spreading the Persian language and culture in Anatolia.

Yakup Safak, a professor at Kirikkale University, also received an award for his contributions to Persian literature studies in Turkey.

In his recent studies, Safak has focused on the Persian mystic and poetess Molana Jalal ad-Din Rumi and has published several books and articles in this area.

So far, twelve Turkish scholars have been decorated by Iran with Shahriar medals.

The decoration is named after the poet Shahriar, the most important figure in contemporary Persian literature.

He was mainly influenced by the poetry of Hafez, a Persian poet writing in the 14th century.

Shahriar, who also composed works in Azerbaijani, published his first book of poems in 1929 with prefaces by Persian literature scholars Mohammad-Taqi Bahar, Saeid Nafisi and Pejman Bakhtiari.

“Heidar Babaya Salam” is Shahriar’s most famous collection of Azerbaijani poetry, which highlights his birthplace, the village of Heidar Baba.

Pictured: Turkish scholar Ali Temizel (left) holds the Shahriar Medal after receiving the decoration from Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Farazmand (right) at the Iranian Embassy in Ankara.


International conference on Rumi starts today at DU Fri, 02 Sep 2022 19:20:00 +0000

A three-day international conference titled “Rumi-2022 International Conference” on the theme “Rumi’s Philosophy for a Society of Love, Peace and Humanity” will start today at the University of Dhaka.

Minister of Education Dipu Moni will inaugurate the conference as the chief guest today at Senate Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury of Bhaban University on campus, chaired by UD Vice Chancellor Md Akhtaruzzaman.

A total of 28 scholars from 7 countries will present on Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet, at eight academic sessions of the international conference.

The President of Persian Language and Literature and also a member of the organizing committee of the conference, Professor Mohammad Bahauddin revealed the information on Friday during a press conference held at the office of the Journalists Association of Dhaka University.

Pro-VC DU (administration) Mohammad Samad, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami, Iranian Ambassador Mansour Chavoshi and Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Osman Turan will address the inaugural session as special guests while the conference organizer KM Saiful Islam Khan will give the vote of Thanks.

DU Persian Language and Literature and Allama Rumi Bangladesh Society jointly organized the conference on the occasion of the centenary celebration of Persian Language and Literature Department and the 11th anniversary of the death of Syed Ahmadul Haq, known as Banglar Rumi.

Scholars and researchers from seven countries (India, Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh) will attend the conference in eight different locations.

Rumi Society Treasurer Mohammad Abdul Majid, Prof. Muhsin Uddin Mia and Prof. Tariqe Ziaur Rahman Siraji were also present at the press conference.

3-month Persian language course begins at Punjabi University in Patiala : The Tribune India Thu, 01 Sep 2022 02:36:50 +0000

Tribune press service

Patiala, August 31

In order to give students the opportunity to learn the Persian language, Punjabi University has taken a new initiative. A visiting professor from Iran, Laila Chaman Khan, who works in the United States, will now take Persian lessons at the Bhai Veer Singh Chair on the university campus.

The university also has the department of Urdu and Persian. Officials said the department does not have a professor who can teach Persian to students. They said that the classes of the course, which would be held under the banner “Aao farsi sikhiye” (Let’s learn Persian), would continue for three months. Students would receive entry-level coaching in these courses free of charge, they added.

Professor Laila Chaman Khan has held interviews and written about Zafarnama, a letter written by the tenth Sikh Master Guru Gobind Singh, among others. Addressing students in an introductory class, she said: “Persian has been the language of literature and administration. I hope all the students will be successful. »

The university’s vice-chancellor, Professor Arvind, said that the Punjabi and Persian languages ​​have a lot in common. He said that the grammar of Punjabi was similar to that of Urdu and Sanskrit, while Urdu was closely related to Persian. He said: “The two cultures of Persian and Punjabi speakers have been intermingling for a long time. As such, reading their literature is vitally important.

Professor Arvind further said that the university wants to strengthen the Persian and Urdu department.

Professor Harjodh Singh of the Bhai Veer Singh Chair said that more than 70 students from various departments including Punjabi, economics, fine arts, IT and others have registered for the Persian course. .

Banned Books: ‘The Satanic Verses’ and 6 Other Titles Some People Didn’t Want You to Read Tue, 30 Aug 2022 09:53:33 +0000

The brutal attack on author Salman Rushdie in New York on August 12 has reignited discussions around censorship in literature.

Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses,” an ambitious work of magical realism, received one of the strongest and longest-lasting backlashes in literary history for its treatment of Islamic tradition. Its release in 1988 was met with protests, riots and bans in Muslim-majority countries. Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa, or religious edict, in 1989 calling for the death of the author and all those who worked on the book, after which an Italian translator of the novel was stabbed, a translator Japanese “Satanic Verses” assassinated, and a Norwegian publisher shot and wounded. Rushdie was forced into hiding for years; the book is still banned in more than a dozen countries, including Iran, India and Kenya.
The motive for this month’s attack on Rushdie remains unclear, but the incident “shows that the suppression and censorship of books has been going on for centuries and is still happening today,” it said. Pom Harrington, director of the upcoming Firsts: London Rare Book Fair. , which revolves around the theme of forbidden books.
The fair, which features more than 120 exhibitors and runs from September 15-18 at London’s Saatchi Gallery, encompasses a wide range of censored titles spanning history and geography. It will include books banned for obscenity, blasphemy and security reasons, including Copernicus’ Discoveries and an edition of “Dr. Zhivago” secretly published by the CIA to undermine the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The event commemorates the 100th anniversary of James Joyce’s epic ‘Ulysses’, which was banned in the US and UK upon its initial release; a first autographed edition of the “Satanic Verses” will also be presented.

A common theme of book bans throughout history is that censorship tends to backfire and make its targets more popular, Harrington said citing the case of ‘Spycatcher,’ an autobiography by a former officer. from MI5 which became a bestseller after it was banned in 1987.

“The more you suppress, the more people fight it,” he added.

The fair’s collection of censored works includes a number of titles, including those below, which are considered classics in some jurisdictions and bootleg in others.

“Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)

courtesy of Shapero Rare Books

Nabokov’s story about a pedophile’s infatuation with a young girl fell foul of censorship in the UK, so French publisher Maurice Girodias – a champion of banned works specializing in erotica – took it to court. published the first copies. English novelist Graham Greene campaigned for the novel’s release in Europe, arguing that “Lolita” was a metaphor for the corruption of the old world (Europe) by the new (the United States). Bans in several countries were overturned by the time Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation was released in 1962, and the book became a hit. But it remains at the top of the list of the most banned and contested texts in American schools and libraries, according to the American Library Association.

“Animal Farm” by George Orwell (1945)

Courtesy of PY Rare Books

American and British publishers dismissed Orwell’s satire on the dangers of Stalin’s repression during World War II, when they feared the news would undermine their alliance with the Soviet Union against Hitler, but then rushed to embrace it when the Soviets became the enemy in the Cold War. . “Animal Farm” was banned in the Eastern Bloc until the fall of the USSR, then the UAE banned it for its depiction of pigs as the main characters, which some considered to be at odds with the Islamic values.

“Tropic of Cancer” by Henry Miller (1934)

courtesy of Jonkers Rare Books

“I’m not sure it would be published today,” said Tom Ayling of Jonkers Rare Books, which sells limited editions of Miller’s semi-autobiographical novel about the life of a struggling writer in Paris. The prevalence of violent sex scenes and misogynistic language would be a tough sell for modern audiences, he argued. Only Obelisk Press, a medium best known for distributing pornography, would publish “Tropic of Cancer” in 1934. US Customs banned the book the same year, but it circulated on the black market until the Supreme Court declared it non-obscene in 1964. Turkey banned the novel as recently as 1986.

“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by DH Lawrence (1928)

courtesy of Jonkers Rare Books

Lawrence’s agent informed the author that his risque tale could not be published in the UK, due both to its sexually explicit content and its depiction of then-taboo relationships between members of different social classes. The author eventually secured a limited print run in English through an Italian publisher. ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ was not published in the UK until 1960, where it was the subject of a landmark obscenity trial by publisher Penguin Books against the state. Penguin won, and on the first day the novel became available, 200,000 copies were sold. The book was later banned in China in 1987 on the grounds that it would “corrupt the minds of young people and is also contrary to Chinese tradition”, although it is unclear whether the ban is still enforced.

“Ulysses” by James Joyce (1922)

courtesy of Peter Harrington Boo

American magazine The Little Review originally serialized Joyce’s magnum opus, but the work’s sexual passages—particularly a masturbation scene—resulted in an obscenity lawsuit, and the series was discontinued. The UK also banned “Ulysses”, but Joyce found a publisher in Paris to print the work in its entirety for the first time in 1922; the book quickly became a hit on the black market even as copies were seized and burned by the US Postal Service and at British ports. But in 1933, an American judge ruled that the book was not obscene, and it began to circulate widely. “Ulysses” has since become one of the masterpieces of modernist literature. In defiance of Iranian censors, the book was recently translated into Persian for illegal distribution in the country.

The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade (1904)

courtesy of Voewood Rare Books

Written in the Bastille during the French Revolution, the author was cut short when the prison was stormed by insurgents and never finished the story. But “120 Days” remains one of the most notorious works of literature, featuring depraved fetishes, bloody orgies, torture and pedophilia. The book was first published in Germany in 1904, then banned throughout Europe for much of the 20th century. A 1975 film adaptation by Pier Paolo Pasolini was also banned in several countries. South Korea has banned the book twice this century, and now it can only be sold there in a sealed plastic cover to adults 19 or older.

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‘There’s nothing left’: In flood-ravaged southern Pakistan, residents are desperate for help

QUETTA: Hussain Bakhsh, displaced from his village in the southwest district of Jaffarabad in Pakistan after his house was washed away by floods, has been living with 20 relatives in makeshift accommodation on a highway for more than a week.

Bakhsh is one of more than 30 million people in Pakistan left homeless by this year’s monsoon rains, killing more than 930 people. The southwestern province of Balochistan and Sindh in the south of the country have been hardest hit by the rains and floods.

The country’s climate change minister on Thursday called the situation a “climate-induced humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions”.

“I have been living with my children for eight days in a small camp, which has a plastic roof,” Bakhsh, 70, told Arab News. “I don’t have a tent or food for my family.

“There’s been so much flooding and we’ve been lying on the roads for eight days,” he said.

“The government did nothing at all and we got no relief. We are poor and we are starving.

Indeed, Balochistan, the country’s poorest province, has suffered the most from the recent rains, with much of its territory submerged in water and major roads and highways cut off from the rest of the country. The rains have claimed at least 230 lives in the province since mid-June.

Funding and reconstruction efforts will be a challenge for cash-strapped Pakistan, which must cut spending to ensure the International Monetary Fund approves the release of much-needed bailout funds.

The National Disaster Management Authority said in a report that in the past 24 hours, 150 km of roads were damaged across the country and more than 82,000 homes damaged.

Since mid-June, when the monsoon began, more than 3,000 km of road, 130 bridges and 495,000 houses have been damaged, according to the latest situation report from the NDMA.

Major districts in Balochistan including Jaffarabad, Naseerabad and Sibi were flooded and residents sat in the open near highways with their belongings and livestock.

Muhammad Suleman, 37, who lost his home, crops and livestock in the Murad Colony neighborhood of Dera Allah Yar, said the floods had completely destroyed his village.

“The government left us to die under the sky,” he told Arab News. “We are surrounded by water because it has been raining for three days. Our children are getting sick and there is a risk of a major outbreak in the entire Naseerabad division.

“One hundred percent of our villages are destroyed. The cattle died. The wheat broth is finished. The rice fields are destroyed. The houses are damaged. Nothing is left.”

Another resident, Amanullah, said more than five feet of water entered his home last week and his family had no choice but to leave and find a safer place.

“We waited 24 hours, but not a single government representative came to see our fate. Now we are heading to the bypass to seek shelter,” the 18-year-old said, pointing to the main thoroughfare.

Jaffarabad Deputy Commissioner Abdul Razzaq Khajak said around half a million people in the district had been affected by the floods but the administration was doing its best to provide relief.

“Jaffarabad is not the only district affected by the floods, but the whole province is drowned,” he told Arab News. “The Provincial Disaster Management Authority has provided us with 800 tents and we have distributed them to our people, but the scale of the floods is huge and it will take time for us to deliver relief to every corner of the district.”

Baluchistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo told reporters the government would provide compensation.

“We are going to build houses for all these people. Whoever has lost his cattle, we will give him animals. Anyone who has lost their farmland, we will help bring it back to life,” he said. “Whatever damage occurred, we will provide the compensation.”

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‘Live the life you have’: The rise, fall and rebirth of hip-hop group Outlandish

LONDON: Five years after their decision to disband so they could focus on finding the ‘right sound’, multi-platinum and gold hip-hop group Outlandish are back with a new single and album slated for release in autumn .

Having had a big impact on the international charts over the past two decades, the Denmark-based band “love to take a stand on social and political issues that exist and affect us as human beings”, and try to reflect that in their songs, Lenny Martinez told Arab News during an exclusive interview with him and bandmate Waqas Qadri.

A good example is “Paperchase”, which was released on June 24 and is the first single from the upcoming album “The Cornershop Carnival”. Martinez explained that it’s a materialistic mentality – going to work to get paid to buy the things we want – that controls many people in an “unhealthy way”, including the way they think, act and treat others, as opposed to doing something because they like it and are content with what they have.

Hip-hop group Outlandish released “Paperchase” on June 24 as the lead single from their upcoming album “The Cornershop Carnival.” (Provided/Outlandish)

“’Paperchase’ is about changing that mentality…and not making material things the main thing in your life, and not waking up just to make money; wake up to live life,” said Martinez, who left Cuba for Denmark when he was 14.

The video for the single, which was written and produced by the band and filmed in Pakistan, depicts the struggles of a young boy waking up to go to work to support his family. He is seen dancing while listening to music on headphones as he tries to turn the negatives of his daily life into positives.

Outlandish was formed in Denmark in 1997 by Honduran-born Martinez, Danish-born Pakistani-born Qadri and Danish-born Moroccan-born Isam Bachiri. They disbanded in 2017 and when they reformed two years later, Bachiri chose not to return and instead focus on his solo career.

They have sold over a million singles and over 300,000 albums worldwide. Their best-known hits include an English version of “Aicha”, “Guantanamo”, “Callin’ U” and “Walou” by Algerian singer Cheb Khaled.

“Our music is about our everyday lifestyle and all that goes with it; our roots, our friends, where we grew up, which was a very cultural place where we have friends from all over,” said Martinez, 45, who has a 6-month-old daughter.

He added that the band, which is on a five-month summer tour that includes concerts in Denmark, Romania, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, draws musical inspiration from many sources, including the Middle East.

Outlandish member Lenny Martinez was born in Honduras and moved to Denmark from Cuba when he was 14 years old. (Weird)

Particularly highlighting the single “Look Into My Eyes,” which explores the Palestinian conflict, Martinez said the band often incorporates Arabic music and sounds, and even “the social issues unfolding in the Middle East, which affect also Europe, by far.”

Outlandish is known for the multi-faith nature of its members; Martinez is Catholic while the other two founding members are Muslim. Martinez said religion connects them and their different faiths are their strength.

“In the beginning, the media was always focused on (the fact) that we were Muslims and Christians, and we didn’t really think about it – we were joking and making music,” he said.

Outlandish disbanded in 2017 and when they reformed two years later, band member Isam Bachiri chose not to return and instead focus on his solo career. (Getty Images)

“But of course, growing up, you know those things are important, because I think when you meet, the magic happens when you’re different. If everyone was the same, there would be no magic.

The three founding members lived in the same neighborhood when they were teenagers. They used to meet at a local youth club after school, where they started playing with music and dancing. Bachiri’s decision not to return when the band reformed three years ago has forced the others to readjust.

“If you remove one limb and there are two left, the body has to adapt,” Qadri said. “We spent a lot of time trying to get the heart of how the dynamic between me and Lenny will work and always be extravagant.”

He said the couple had reached a good place where they were “thriving” but managed to retain their “essence” and it was “a beautiful feeling” to be able to continue their legacy by creating songs and performing again. together.

“We were childhood friends, so you can never replace one person with another… but first of all, no one can take Isam’s place for what he did, and second, this n It’s not weird if we have a (new) third member,” added Qadri, a 46-year-old father of two whose kids appear in some of the group’s music videos.

Turning his attention to the upcoming new album, he said it reflected where he and Martinez were now in their lives, as adults, fathers and citizens of a changing world, while remaining deeply rooted in the “extravagant DNA” their fans know well. .

“It’s very colorful, it’s very warm, it takes elements from a lot of different cultures and blends them beautifully with the music,” Qadri said.

The band members said that when they started in the music business they were 17 years old and their main priorities were to “make their first album” and “conquer the world”. However, as they get older they say they have changed and evolved and now see things a little differently.

Outlandish member Waqas Qadri, 46, father of two, was born in Denmark and is of Pakistani descent. (Weird)

“We’re happy that people can still identify with our songs, and young people can, but we also know that we’re not 16 or 17 anymore,” Qadri said. “We just play our age and talk about things that are dear to us.”

The music industry has changed dramatically over the past two decades, he added, and the process of creating an album is now more “open and dynamic”, with no set format. Even after an album is released, additional tracks can easily be added, which was not the case with CDs or vinyl of yesteryear.

“‘The Cornershop Carnival’ is slated for a fall release and we’ll probably keep adding tracks to it because we have such a good stream of songs right now,” Qadri said. “And that’s a really cool thing, that you can keep adding tracks to an album for as long as you want, basically.”

The Denmark-based band have had a massive impact on the international charts over the past two decades. (Weird)

He added that the group intends to be very productive and active in terms of releasing new music over the next two years.

“I think we were (originally) just a product of our times and we will be too, because we don’t follow the music, the music follows us,” Qadri said.

“We are citizens of this world and we see what is happening and how it changes, so the music just adapts to that.”