Paris Book Fair Controversy

Came across this bit of news on BBC News today.

A book fair in Paris has become the subject of controversy with several Muslim countries announcing boycotts because the guest of honour is Israel.

Saudi Arabia has become the latest to withdraw, following Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Isesco) has also urged its 50 members to pull out from the fair, which starts on 14 March.


The organisers of the book fair have said their aim is to honour literature and promote dialogue between cultures.

… the Paris book fair is honouring 39 writers from Israel including well-known figures like David Grossman and Amos Oz.

What do you think?

Personally, I think boundaries and conflicts don’t apply to literature or art in general, they transcend origin, nationality, race, conflicts and everything to another level where we connect and appreciate each other and our works on the human level.

Still, I understand how it is viewed in another way especially when the organizers themselves add the origin factor into it all, and that the origin is Israel, in a time such as this, with tensions and problems at their highest, and peace at its farthest.

If it were up to me, I think it’s a time to be present rather than a time to boycott; in every situation: you can’t present your side of the story and defend it if you’re not there in the first place.
The problem is that we Muslims and Arabs are passive in the exact times we should be more present and proactive.