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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?

Submitting....

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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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