Kuwait: We Are Not Orwellian . . . We Banned Orwell

504px-Coat_of_Arms_of_Kuwait-2.svg1984-Big-BrotherKuwait has continued to remind the world that, despite its advances in the modern world, it remains a religiously orthodox government imposing medieval values on its population.  That fact was on display this week as the government banned such works as “The Little Mermaid” and Michelangelo’s David as unIslamic or indecent.  Sounds Orwellian? Perhaps but Kuwaiti’s would not know it . . .  Orwell’s masterpiece “1984” was also banned.

Kuwait finds mermaids and Michelangelo statues unacceptably because they are not covered up. As such, the Disney image could corrupt the nation by exposing people to a half-fish, half-girl creature without a barnacle burka.

One positive element is that Kuwaitis, who have always viewed their country as more free than other Islamic governments, have publicly posted the ban.  The problem is that a more conservative Islamic majority had taken hold of the nation and, as we have seen in other Islamic countries, these religious groups have immediately sought bans and crackdowns.  It has now banned 4,390 books since 2014. This year alone has seen hundreds of works added to the list by the 12-member censor committee.

The works include Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” by the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. The latter was banned because of a single scene in which a wife sees her husband naked.

 

It is heartening to see intellectual Kuwaiti’s bravely fighting for the future of their nation as a modern and educated people.  It is disheartening to see how Islamic parties and conservatives immediately seek to curtail the freedoms and choices of citizens when they come into power.  There is no reason — as these Muslim protesters attest — for Islam to be based on the repression of citizens and the denial of free expression. Ultimately, all religions must survive by convincing not coercing its population.  That starts with allowing people to watch “The Little Mermaid.”

As after some characters and messages might resonate with modern Kuwaitis who are rapidly losing their voices to religious orthodoxy:

 

 

 

37 thoughts on “Kuwait: We Are Not Orwellian . . . We Banned Orwell”

    1. Squeeky – taste in poetry, just as it is in everything, is personal. 😉 As a classicist it is difficult for me to accept that two words make a poem. And somewhere, I am sure, some post-modern 3rd Wave Feminist has turned in the poem of silence, only to get an invisible grade.

  1. When we look at red state books banned and texts altered to wipe out horrendous acts of slavery and America’s own Holocaust starting with indigenous people, African slaves, Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian indigenous people and now kidnapping children from immigrants, this seems like the US writers getting on their high horse to coverup for what is happening here.

    The reason Marcus Garvey’s efforts for freedom for African Americans wanting to go back to Africa failed: this government never thought so many would rather go back to a country they didn’t know! They couldn’t tolerate that. Who would be left to do their work for free and abuse? They had to demolish that plan. Some did get through though and hence the country of Liberia.

    This country,for years, have told African Americans that life is the best for them here. Yet many still leave while others drink the Kool-Aid. The mosques in African American neighborhoods offer a way out for young men and women. They have a place to go after school and get tutoring in STEM classes—yes, even the girls. That’s why they don’t want the mosques and try to convince white Americans they are subversive. Also middle easterners from oil rich countries and their counterparts from Africa, men and women, have their tuition paid by their countries. They share in the wealth of their countries. Do American companies share their wealth, or are they greedy and want to keep it all to themselves? Tell me about the homeless and slums of Kuwait in comparison to the United States.

    I personally don’t see what this story has to do with freedom except if you’re trying to claim every country is doing it! They are making massive changes in textbooks (here) in red states to exclude or gentrify American History! Deal with this first and then I might be interested in another country’s book banning/text banning policies.

    I realize you have to fill your column but please don’t make it sublime.

    1. When we look at red state books banned and texts altered

      We don’t look at them because they don’t exist outside your imagination.

      to wipe out horrendous acts of slavery and America’s own Holocaust starting with indigenous people, African slaves, Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian indigenous people and now kidnapping children from immigrants, this seems like the US writers getting on their high horse to coverup for what is happening here.

      There was no holocaust of ‘indigenous peoples’ and children are not being ‘kidnapped’.

      The reason Marcus Garvey’s efforts for freedom for African Americans wanting to go back to Africa failed: this government never thought so many would rather go back to a country they didn’t know! They couldn’t tolerate that. Who would be left to do their work for free and abuse? They had to demolish that plan. Some did get through though and hence the country of Liberia.

      Marcus Garvey is a historical curio and that’s all. His plan ‘failed’ because it was hopelessly impractical even in the hands of someone with excellent organizational skills, of which Garvey had little. Liberia was founded more than 60 years before Marcus Garvey was ever on this Earth, and it’s never been anyone’s idea of a shining example of human accomplishment. Blacks never worked ‘for free’ at any time during Marcus Garvey’s life, nor do they now. They’ve never had any economic incentive to migrate to Africa. Among black Americans, the entrepreneurial class is comparatively small. African wage scales are a pittance and black Americans haven’t any particular affinity for any latter-day West African ethnos.

      This country,for years, have told African Americans that life is the best for them here. Yet many still leave while others drink the Kool-Aid. The mosques in African American neighborhoods offer a way out for young men and women. They have a place to go after school and get tutoring in STEM classes—yes, even the girls. That’s why they don’t want the mosques and try to convince white Americans they are subversive. Also middle easterners from oil rich countries and their counterparts from Africa, men and women, have their tuition paid by their countries. They share in the wealth of their countries. Do American companies share their wealth, or are they greedy and want to keep it all to themselves? Tell me about the homeless and slums of Kuwait in comparison to the United States.

      Real personal income per capita among American blacks exceeds the population mean in all but about two dozen of the world’s 190-odd countries. Black Americans are the most affluent negroid population in the world of any size. The closest competitors would be West Indians living in Britain or in Canada, populations 1/30 th the size of the Black American population. The most troubling problem blacks face in America is exposure to street crime, a problem to which the opinion-leader element in the black population is indifferent.

      You know nothing, but blather on at wearying length.

  2. Here in a student dining hall I saw a freshman reading something by J.J.R. Tolkien. It was Tolkien’s translation of Beowulf, required for his class about Classical and Christian Europe.

    1. David Benson is the King of Making Stuff Up and owes me twelve citations (one from the OED) and the source of a quotation, after nineteen weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – where you unaware of Tolkien’s important contribution to the field? Well, it is not your area. You are forgiven your ignorance.

    2. Tolkien’s lecture on Beowulf, The Monsters and the Critics in 1936(?) is what propelled it into widespread respectability and popularity among the professorial class.

      Here is a pdf of the lecture:

      http://producer.csi.edu/cdraney/2011/278/resources/Tolkien%20-%20The%20Monsters%20and%20the%20Critics.pdf

      FWIW, his Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, is imminently readable. Probably the BEST I have ever read.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

  3. Has anyone on this board ever read “The Little Mermaid” — the story by Hans Christian Anderson not the cutesy Disnification? Most of Anderson’s stories (like most of Grimms’ Fairy Tales) are not suitable for children, unless the goal is to terrify them into obedience (the actual goal of such stories in the nineteenth century in grimly Lutheran northern Europe). “Den lille Havfrue” did not live happily ever after; she died, but she did get to go to heaven in an act of divine grace.

    I’m not in favor of book-banning, but I am in favor of not reading those books to children.

    Many years ago, I bought a copy of Grimms’ Fairy Tales to read to my daughters, never having read them myself. I was quite surprised at the gruesome nature of the stories. I have read Bruno Bettelheim’s “Uses of Enchantment” but it did not convince me that these stories are even close to the best way for children to process the uncertainties of life.

    1. Which one was the story where the girl had to cut off her own finger and peel the flesh from the bone so she could use it to pick the lock of her prison? I cannot remember if that was one of the Brothers Grimm or a Hans Christian Anderson tale, but it’s in my collection of illustrated stories.

      Yep, ancient children’s tales are completely unsuitable for modern children. Life was brutal and short back then. Children received capital punishment for things like theft, they served in armies, and they went off to sea as midshipmen at an extremely tender age. https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/bitstream/handle/10036/109573/CavellS.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

      The above article is interesting not only for its view on sending kids to sea as midshipmen, but for the influence of politics and money into the Royal Navy around the late 1700s to early 1800s. Coincidentally around the same time as when the British spectacularly lost their colony in the Americas, their Royal Navy was suffering from an excess of well connected, corrupt, or inept dandies in command. High social standing in society and political connections got well bred midshipmen promoted to lieutenant, and once you were promoted an officer, mere seniority was what propelled you up the ranks. There was no meritocracy in advancement. Just converting CO2 to O2 was all it took to advance. This is apropos of today’s politics. The well connected politician keep getting elected, and they are still incompetent. Inexplicably, their incompetence is not a detriment. San Francisco has decayed from a bright cultural center to worse than a third world, littered with infectious needles and human waste, with drug addicts shooting up and passing out on the street and bedlam on the sidewalk, as insane people defecate in the potted shrubbery in front of restaurants and get into impassioned arguments with themselves. But the politicians who brought on dystopia just keep on getting re-elected. Same for Detroit, Chicago, and all the other bombed out hell holes in America. Meanwhile, anyone fiscally responsible is poo pooed as being a kill joy at best or a racist at worst.

  4. Turley criticizes the Kuwaiti government for controlling what its citizens read and watch, but here at home, have you seen the news reports about the fat clown meeting with a deputy of Jeff Sessions preparatory to firing Sessions? The main qualification for the deputy is that he will stop the Mueller investigation from looking into Fatso’s finances. Rosenstein is on his way out, too, but Kellyanne has connived that if these firings happen prior to the November election, it will make look Fatso look bad because then even Trumpsters won’t be able to deny what’s really going on, and that there’s really no witch hunt. This may hurt Republicans running in the election, so they’re waiting. Essentially, what Fatso’s administration is doing is taking all necessary steps to prevent Fatso and his family from being brought to justice by shoving through Kavanaugh’s appointment, so he’ll be there to help quash subpoenas, and also getting a replacement FBI director and Attorney General who will do his bidding and either fire Mueller or rein him in. The proposed replacement authored a piece that if Mueller goes into Fatso’s finances, this would exceed his authority. That is his main qualification for being Attorney General. This abuse of power and blurring of the lines between the branches of government is going on here in America, and Turley is worried that Kuwaitis can’t watch “The Little Mermaid” because its government is abusing power?

    1. Natacha, special prosecutor investigations (when they’re initiated and conducted according to spec, i.e. not this one) have circumscribed mandates and commence with the understanding that there’s reason to believe a crime has been committed. Mueller doesn’t (or wouldn’t, if Rosenstein actually were supervising him) have a roving mandate to run a dumpster dive into anything and anyone he cares to; no prosecutor does.

      1. So says Hannity. Why shouldn’t Mueller take his investigation where the evidence leads him? In fact, according to Rosenstein, that is what his mandate is, and Rosenstein further states that Mueller has not exceeded the limits. Where do you get off claiming that Rosenstein isn’t properly monitoring Mueller? More Faux News propaganda masquerading as fact? Rosenstein has to go because he won’t handcuff Mueller. The closer Mueller comes to Trump’s finances, the antsier Fatso becomes. How can Mueller investigate the extent of the influence of the Russians in producing “the victory” without following the money? Everyone knows, including you, that Trump and his family are tax cheaters. Do you really think his tax returns are still under audit more than 2 years running now? This entire charade of Kavanaugh getting shoved onto the SCOTUS is all part of maintaining the vainglory tour and to prevent Trump from being brought to justice.

        1. Why shouldn’t Mueller take his investigation where the evidence leads him?

          1. ‘The evidence’ isn’t taking him into the Trump Oraganization’s business, however much you want him to go there.

          2. We employ these people called ‘U.S. Attorneys. As a ‘lawyer’, you should know that.

  5. Been there and to many of the former UAR States. Extremes in all directions. In Dubai it’s the dividing line known as The Creek. One side luke warm in the religion with a sort of pro forma adherence. On the other hot and cold running everything. By the time you get to Gutter (how it’s pronounced) it’s half modernity and half full on adherence.

    Go the other way from Dubai around the Peninsula is Fujahrah. The oil fleets major anchorage and if you need a phone number just ask the taxi. IF you are not local

    Down the coast and around it’s all Saudi influenced. There are 80 different types of Muslim beliefs far less than the 300 plus in the USA but for them its a death sentence if iyou pronounce one word wrong or look cross eyed.

    One really needs to take a visit to the world to get rid of the insular attitudes and you know what same applies to our own country.

  6. Kuwait refused to stop stealing oil that belonged to Iraq – and that led to first Bush illegal war on Iraq. Kuwait is ruled by pedophile emirs
    who believe it’s okay to marry a 12 year old girl for 24 hours.

    The U.S. should have destroyed Kuwait, not Iraq.

        1. SInce your practical epistemology is such that nothing is ever ‘proved wrong’ if it conflicts with the latest crackpot nonsense you’ve landed on, of course I cannot prove you wrong per your addled head. I’m not interested. Now, other people in the dayroom want to use the computer.

            1. Tabby seems well-versed in the terminology of mental health units. From what side has he seen them, one must wonder. Mocking people in this way (refer to Tabby’s comment) is simply bad form, as is your laughter.

  7. Yup, when you have Trump using Hitlerian tactics to fire up mobs frothing at their mouths, it’s always a good idea to divert attention to other backward nations. Trump admires strong leadership.

    1. In the past two years, a Democrat volunteer on Bernie Sanders presidential campaign engaged in a mass assassination attempt of a baseball field full of Republicans. A Democrat voter in CA recently tried to stab a GOP candidate. Presumably a Democrat voter sought to terrorize Senator Cruz’s family sending them white powder in the mail. A mob of presumably Democrat voters formed a mob to harass him and his wife in restaurant. A Democrat recently sent poison to President Trump, Mattis, and other Pentagon officials in another mass assassination attempt.

      Democrats have torn down public statues, when they are not busy burning down buildings and terrorizing citizens in Ferguson and Baltimore.

      Now Hillary Clinton urges Democrats to be even more uncivil. And the highest ranking law enforcement official in the last administration, Eric Holder, urges Democrats to assault Republicans by kicking them.

      You’re a buffoon.

      1. No, Trump is the Buffoon. He’s already using Hitler as a paradigm. There is no shortage of idiots, like Hillary, on the Democrat’s side, but nothing compared to the President, McConnell, Grassley, etc. White Supremacists, just about everyone who shows up at a Trump dog and pony show rally to watch him do his schtick: demeaning disabled people, women who have been subjected to sexual abuse, immediately taking the side of the guy, etc. Trump is the head buffoon, the head of all the little buffoons.

        1. Trump persuaded China to release 3 black college basketball players from Chinese prisons. He named the first black woman to be a general in the Marines. He pardoned a deceased black boxer convicted of a crime that is unjust by today’s norms. He commuted the sentence of a black female drug dealer who’d spent 22 years in prison. It’s been reported his administration is working on a criminal justice reform plan, which presumably will disproportionately benefit black Americans most. That’s the guy your side pretends is a secret white supremacist.

          Trump has engaged in an economic agenda that reduces state power and increases individual economic liberty by removing regulations and lowering tax rates. I always thought neo-Nazi, Hitlerian authoritarians want greater bureaucratic/state control of the economy.

          Yes, Trump rails against the media. I think he overdoes it. But it’s only words. I’m not aware that the Trump administration has prosecuted ANY journalists. Obama’s DOJ prosecuted nine journalists. That’s 3x the number of journalists prosecuted by ALL the administrations in the history of the republic before Obama. That sounds fascistic/Hitlerian to me. But for some reason you didn’t call him a Hitler wannabe.
          https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/30/opinion/sunday/if-donald-trump-targets-journalists-thank-obama.html

          I’m also not aware that the intelligence apparatus of the Trump administration has been weaponized to spy on the AP and other journalists the way it was in the Obama administration. More actual behavior we’d associate with an authoritarian. But you didn’t call him a Hitler wannabe.
          https://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/opinion/spying-on-the-associated-press.html

          Trump has not openly bragged about usurping Congressional authority to impose his policy preferences using only his “pen and his phone” the way Obama did. More actual authoritarianism. But instead of calling him a Hitler wannabe, your side slapped its hands together like trained seals in approval.

          You seem to actually believe the utter nonsense that the cable TV wing of your party spews.

      2. Do not confuse Isaac with facts. He lives inside his own head. For him, it isn’t 2018, but some earlier time, maybe the FDR years, or something. Maybe even The Wobblies Era. Who knows? I am not even sure if he lives on Planet Earth at all.

        At any rate, do not poke sticks at the inmates. You might accidentally poke a hole in the padded wall.

        Thank you!

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

    2. Isaac,…
      I don’t know what level of knowledge immigrants have about American and world history, and I won’t generalize that all immigrants are as abysmally ignorant in those areas as you.
      You may want to study the history of Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945.
      You might learn some things, and that knowledge might save you the trouble and embarrassment of making idiotic and hyperbolic comparisons about “Hitlerian tactics”.

  8. Many school districts in the U.S. have banned Tom Sawyer and other great works of literature as not being politically correct; many colleges have made a concerted effort to remove classics authored by “dead white European males.” So let Islam be Islam and worry instead about the increasing trend towards censorship in Europe and the U.S.

  9. When Christian Dominionists in this country whine about “culture”, it’s the same theocratic pursuit: which Sessions, Cruz, and Pence, among others, seek to enact: to use the government as a vehicle for their pious nonsense.

    1. There is no such thing as a ‘dominionist’. Liberals fancy themselves the ‘brights’, but the boogie-man takes up a great deal of rent-free space in their heads.

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