Friday, March 06, 2009

Dubai Debate

You have to be careful with language. Old war horses like me hear the word 'ban' and creak out with our rusty swords to ... rally around a flag that wasn't really there ...
said Margaret Atwood, talking about her cancellation at the Dubai Festival before learning the facts of the Geraldine Bedell "banned book" case. (See here and here.)

I react in exactly the same manner to the word (though thereafter any resemblance to Ms Atwood sadly disappears!) and must remind myself to gather up all facts first before humphing in outrage.

Sometimes that's hard to do as the press does so love to sensationalise stories. (Bloggers - inc. myself - are just as bad but at least we have the excuse that we have less access to the sources.)

It's also interesting how the initial shock-horror story travels so widely, but not the more accurate report that comes later ...

It's such a shame that it was a blare of negative publicity that brought the festival to public attention. Kathy Guest in The Independent writes about the event, where :
... for an all-too-fleeting four days last week, the InterContinental hotel in Dubai, Festival City, became an oasis of cultivation in the otherwise featureless landscape of designer labels and oil billionaires.
The debate on censorship went on, with Atwood appearing by video link (top left) and the discussion is reported here by Ed Lake of The Nation.

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