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Sex, Religion, Politics- a prohibited Trinity for Iraqi writers

By Jay Gory, thecheers.org    2008-03-24 07:14:22    

Baghdad, Mar 24, (VOI)- Despite the absence of official censorship in Iraq over the last five years, "new censors appeared from within," as writers say.
Baghdad, Mar 24, (VOI)- Despite the absence of official censorship in Iraq over the last five years, "new censors appeared from within," as writers say.

Inas al-Badran, a short story writer, believes that today "there is no censorship practiced by the government, but political parties, movements and armed groups indirectly exercise more rigorous control over writers' works."

She told Aswat al-Iraq- Voices of Iraq-(VOI) "Censorship may be officially absent but it apparently exists in one form or another, and current creative pens in the country see many conditions that have affected their performance and works."

"The absence of the law rule and the emergence of some extremist movements have restricted to a great extent what a writer would produce," al-Badran explained.

During 35 years of the Baath regime rule in Iraq, ended with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the government used to practice a strict censorship on all media and cultural activities.

Though Iraq so far has no Media and Copy Rights Act, many political parties and militias impose their own terms on all aspects of life, including culture and media.
The Iraqi "writer is now besieged by many Nos. He is like the one who walks amid a minefield for any violations of these Nos may mean a bullet to his/her head," al-Badran said.

The short story writer added "there is now what is described by writers as the banned trinity that includes sex, religion and politics, and such a prohibition means empty the writer's mind of tools."

Badran believes that the recourse to Puns for the delivery of ideas by the writer has led to a "feeling of alienation and intellectual isolation from society, which gave a kind of ambiguity and darkness on his writings."

Salah Zanganah, an Iraqi writer, acknowledged the emergence of what he termed "the blind censorship, a new censorship practiced nowadays by religious parties and extremists.

"The new censorship," according to Zanganah, "is much harder than the police censorship exercised by the government under Saddam."

Zanganah who complained of many sites on the internet hosting mean kinds of writings nowadays as a sort of freedom of speech, called for an intellectual censorship based on literary and aesthetic standards so as to "sort out the distinguished works from the poor or low ones."

"Whether we admitted the existence of a censorship or not, it can be felt by all writers and readers," Zanganah concluded.
Jay Gory, The Cheers News

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