A comeback for banned books in Tunisia

After chasing out former president Ben Ali and his family, Tunisians can’t stop reading about them

A comeback for banned books

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

After chasing out former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his family, it seems Tunisians can’t stop reading about them. Long-banned books about the deposed leader, his children and much-detested wife, Leila Trabelsi, are turning up on bookshop shelves in the country, along with other once-prohibited volumes delving into corruption, Islamism and political repression under the regime. A sign reading “Livres interdits” (“forbidden books”) on display in the window of a prominent bookstore in the capital, Tunis, attracted crowds of passersby, writes the Irish Times.

Across Tunisia, taboo titles surfacing to the public realm include La Regente de Carthage, an unflattering portrayal of the former first lady, and writings by journalist Toaufik Ben Brik, a notorious critic of the president, according to the Guardian newspaper. Gone, it seems—hopefully for good—are the days when importing a book required obtaining a visa for it from the interior ministry, and keeping track of an ever-changing official list of prohibited foreign tomes.




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A comeback for banned books in Tunisia

  1. That's good news… often, the biggest problem in the Arab World is their lackluster access to the great books. It's sad to say, but in many countries, Hitler's book is much more popular than Hamlet. They're French, what about studying Molière and Voltaire, it couldn't hurt.

    • the aim on prohibiting some books is to show to world that every thing is ok inside the country , our dictator has no ideology , he want only to spent more time on the head of state, using the method of "drying the source " even in culture unfortunately he cannot understand what is in hamlet , molière , voltaire and in kalila and demna persion book of ibn el mokafaa

  2. Tunisians are very educated! Moliere and Voltaire books are part of the curriculum in high schools! The government of Ben Ali banned all books critical of the regime.

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