Egypt’s ‘Metro’ graphic novel to be published
http://bikyamasr.com , 9 فروردين 1390 9:06
After years of waiting, arrests and a court case against Magdy el-Shafie, his ‘Metro’ graphic novel will finally see widespread publishing in his home country after the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak and the regime that cracked down on the cartoonist.
IBNA: According to neww, Shafie’s ‘Metro’ was originally written in 2008, but was quickly banned by the regime and the author was convicted of “offending public decency” after a lengthy trial.
It was also reported that the graphic novel will try and get hold of the interest the English-speaking world has of events unfolding in Egypt and across the region by publishing an English version next year.
It has been published in Italian and a number of Arabic versions are available in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, reports indicate.
The controversy started in April 2008, when police broke into the publishing house and confiscated all copies of the book. They then went to all bookstores and took the novel from the shelves, without warrant.
The police conducting the raid came from the Vice Squad, or discipline police.
The discipline police were not usually dealing in such affairs as censorship, Mohamed Youssri, head of Tadamon (Solidarity) NGO, an umbrella organization that works to bring together like-minded NGOs in the country, said last year.
The discipline police are a sector of the ministry of interior who deal “œwith prostitution mainly and a few other things,” so it was shocking to Youssri that they were responsible for the seizure of the text.
The novel deals with politically sensitive issues and what may have sparked government interest is the limited sexual content of the book. For many, it came as no surprise that the government was using this as a scapegoat to keep politics from reaching a wider audience.
Three human rights organizations condemned the court ruling, including ANHRI and the Hisham Mubarak Law Center in a joint statement. The rights groups at the time called on all those concerned with freedom of expression and creativity to show “solidarity with the author and publisher of the novel, especially as the novel was the first Egyptian graphic novel and received many awards and certificates of appreciation from specialist critics.” They argued that the criticism of literary works should not be in the courtroom.
Shafie expressed deep regret over the court’s ruling, saying it would “not be the last round,” adding that “there are degrees of other litigation,” in a sign that he will continue to appeal the verdict.
Of course, he is vindicated, as a revolution has toppled the regime that had been attempting to stifle his voice.
The graphic novel featured at the Cairo International Book Fair in January 2008.
In Egypt, books that are censored by the government become instant best sellers. Take “The DaVinci Code,” which was banned by Cairo after the film was canceled. Street vendors noted at the time that English and Arabic versions of the novel sold so rapidly that it was difficult to keep up with buyers.
“I need to get a lot of copies of ‘Metro’ now that it has been taken,” said Mahmoud, a street book seller after the graphic novel was officially banned. “People will want to buy it because the government has told them that they can’t. Typical Egyptians, we do the opposite of what the government says in private.”
Gamal Eid, the head of the ANHRI, had been leading the charge against the government. He said that the constant clamping down on what is a person’s right is leaving the country without a future “if people are not allowed to have debate in the country.”
Topic url: http://www.ibna.ir/vdcezo8o.jh8onik1bj.html