Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Fair Controversy?: thanks to Rummy for spelling it out for people

OPNO: Dear Readers, I am sorry. All of us OPNO girls have way too much going on. I'd love to do an eye-candy post to be all cheery and what not but not even blogger is working right for us these days. However, I am still distracting myself with the internet from the mess in my head and life, and I was like, woah, how can the book fair be controversial? when I read Rummy's post. Here's a repost [and the link to the actual original post http://rummy-m-town.blogspot.com/2015/03/literacy-and-literature-are-two.html ]:
Literacy and literature are two separate entities altogether. Being literate means that you can read and understand but to be into literature means that you not only understand but taste and feel the words shared. I find that our society mix these two things together. We are not the best people when it comes to appreciating art or literature for that matter. We tend to turn a shut eye to things that seem to be complex to read or comprehend. And this example is always evident during the book fair season when Omanis suddenly become literature seekers when the majority of them aren't. Most of them just end up flipping through novels to find something outrageous to make a big deal of. Last year it was a book called ‘Melh’, which translates to ‘Salt’, that had some of its story scraps talk about something too obscene according to our culture but really relates to something that is reality and the case in many relationship stories you hear; non-marital intimacy. This year it’s a novel called Al Rola which despite the message and the story, the focus is on a few sentences of the book that describes a rape scene of an innocent boy and what he has to go through in his mind to come to terms with what happened to him. The uproar every year reaches to a point that at the beginning of March of every year Majlis Al Shura calls on the interrogation of the Minister of Information to hold him accountable on the books he allows the censorship board to pass to the Omani market. And every single year it is the same response of apologizing and making sure that the board will get punished for what they allowed to be spread like dirty laundry.

‘Most writers and poets are agnostic’ they say and that is the justification given on why they can write about these things without thinking about the consequences and repercussions it may have on our society. The argument is that with this type of literature, we are encouraging more and more of our youth to read such 'pornography' even if it is a few sentences in hopes of sending out a larger message. Errrm hello have you heard of 50 Shades of Grey? Have you seen the fascination of waiting for the clear version to be available on torrent for download? If that’s what you fear, then ban the internet because the influences of the World Wide Web are way bigger than a few sentences in a book. Why can’t we talk about these issues and preach to have the messages expressed in the books addressed? The number of child sexual abuse cases in Oman is simply hidden. Families conceal these facts because society would judge them had they known that their daughter is no longer a virgin because she was abused as a child, or their son is no longer 'a man' because he was raped by someone the age of his father. Why? It's high-time we stop hitting around the bush and either read a book in its entirety to get the gist of why that passage was even mentioned, or just stop making a scene altogether and giving something bigger publicity than it deserves if you want people to shut up about it.
OPNO: Oh my gosh my beloved Omani society, grow up. Aknowledge truth (however unpleasant) whereever you find it. Only then can you make the society better. Writers aren't all agnostics etc... And Muslims should be able to understand agnostics, atheists, polytheists, or we make ourselves more ignorant and backwards... Truly is the dark ages for Islam when we get mad about a book about the rape of a boy with a point when this actually is a very dark and true part of our society in OMAN.
{ends today's rant---sorry I am just ranting these days}

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