In the lead-up to Kuwait’s annual book fair, activists took to the streets of Kuwait City in September to protest government censorship that has blacklisted more than 4,300 books in the last five years.
What’s on the list? One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, George Orwell’s 1984 and a Disney version of The Little Mermaid, according to The New York Times.
“There are no hijab-wearing mermaids,” Kuwaiti women’s activist Shamayel al-Sharikh told The New York Times. “The powers that be thought her dress was promiscuous. It’s humiliating.”
The Ministry of Information recently confirmed it had banned 4,390 books since 2014.
All books on display at the country’s international book fair in mid-November will be screened by a censorship committee, reported AFP. Publishers of literature and journalism must work within bounds of the 2006 law on “press and publications”, which lists punishable offences such as insulting Islam or Kuwait’s judiciary, threatening national security, “inciting unrest” and committing “immoral” acts.