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Egyptian sensationalism

Reader comment on item: Cairene Book Covers

Submitted by Rebecca Moulds (United States), Aug 1, 2008 at 10:32

It is interesting to note that the books involved in this recent study are all in Arabic, obviously aimed at the local population in Cairo, or to the foreigner who reads Arabic.

In my years in Cairo, I also visited many bookstores, but found that there was a definite absence of really provocative publications in languages other than Arabic, as far as politics was concerned. Cairo is and always was a paradox, not typically Middle Eastern but not Western either.

On the surface it might appear very Muslim but digging around, one could find another world. Most stores seemed to carry the same type of books, many in English and other foreign languages, travel books, children's books, history books, romance novels; the eroticism, and the occasional non-fiction best-sellers found in the States and other Western countries often seemed incongruous in such an environment.

If one can't read Arabic, then any books in that language are overlooked, and I doubt if the books displayed in this article might be translated into other languages. Therefore, they remain a mystery for most, a quite frightening indication that there is an anti-Western, underground political movement of unknown proportions sweeping through the cities of the Middle East, Cairo included.

I remember seeing many Arabic DVD's with photos of various Muslim political and religious leaders on the covers, but because they were in Arabic I didn't see much point in purchasing them, and that's where the danger of not understanding a foreign language makes one feel at a great disadvantage. It makes me wonder if I should have paid more attention to what was being sold in book stores such as Volume One in Ma'adi, or the Diwan bookstore in Zamalek?


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (19) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Anti Semitic books in Cairo [78 words]Doris GuttentagOct 27, 2008 16:03141157
Anti US and Antisemetic books in Egypt [94 words]TazeenAug 19, 2008 04:01137002
I've got a problem with articles like this... [471 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Kevin MorrowAug 11, 2008 16:22136591
freedom of press [14 words]Emad MuhiydeenovichAug 10, 2008 17:19136547
No, it's called hypocrisy!!! [78 words]JaladhiAug 14, 2008 11:45136547
Egyptians and books in modern classical Arabic [468 words]dhimmi no moreAug 2, 2008 07:40136112
The role of books in Muslim countries [118 words]UgriAug 2, 2008 06:07136109
Egyptian sensationalism [285 words]Rebecca MouldsAug 1, 2008 10:32136057
Ever read the Guardian, Kos, Move on, Counterpunch etcetera? [47 words]Nick GoodAug 1, 2008 07:09136049
The non-political books are also revealing [135 words]JJAug 1, 2008 02:22136035
You Can Buy Looney Books in Any Country [17 words]C.Jul 31, 2008 18:24136016
You Can Buy Looney Books in Any Country? [64 words]KristaAug 1, 2008 20:34136016
Here's a really looney book [98 words]onlytruthAug 9, 2008 12:42136016
So Much for the Camp David "Peace" in 1979. [149 words]YnnatchkahJul 31, 2008 14:55136007
Books and Propaganda [300 words]SammishJul 31, 2008 11:36135970
getting the other viewpoint [118 words]G.VishvasAug 1, 2008 07:31135970
what other viewpoint? [112 words]SammishAug 4, 2008 15:43135970
why read books when you have the internet? [35 words]CandideAug 5, 2008 02:44135970
let the criticised have a say too [118 words]G.VishvasAug 6, 2008 04:40135970

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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