Stories from Afar & Up Close

Mission Colonialism : Accomplished


So you’re an Arab in an Arabic country, and you’re going to a bookstore to find something to read. Because you are in an Arabic country, you might expect to find authors like Naguib Mahfouz, Rashid el Daif, Taha Hussein, Tayeb Saleh, and Abdelrahman Munif under the header of literature. This expectation, however, is wrong.

In the ‘literature’ section, you will find James Joyce, Kafka and Mark Twain. Your literature, by local writers who write in your language, is tucked away in a corner under the header ‘Arabic / Ethnic literature.’ Because, you know, Western is always the default.