Thursday, September 14, 2006

It ain't THAT bad ...

We all have our gripes with the state of publishing in this country, but things could be worse. A lot worse.

Ever heard of a Turkish novelist by the name of Elif Shafak? I hadn't 'til yesterday when I read a short article about her in the Independent. Apparently she's written a book about the Aremenian genocide, but that's not why she's in the news.

Next week, she goes on trial - accused of 'insulting Turkishness' in her book. As she says, it will be the first time the words of fictional characters will be judged in court!

Now I have no idea about the content of her book, and not much more, I'm embarassed to admit, about the events she depicts.

But I know one thing ... if the equivalent situation happened here, I'd be one of the first up against the wall. But I'd be in good company ...

10 comments:

Minx said...

This is an extremely frightening concept and yes, when you start thinking about it, how many of our writers would be in court if this went global.
Goblins and dragons for all then!

Sharon J said...

Bloody hell!

Caroline said...

And yet again, you've made me think.

Yes I came back - you're on my daily route now :)

Many thanks for the link.

Caroline x

Atyllah said...

I read about this and it's horrific, but no more horrific than what happens in plenty of other countries with oppressive regimes. China, in particular comes to mind.
Freedom of expression is a sadly fragile thing and all too easily abused.

Debi said...

It gets worse! I've just read that she's pregnant! Her first child is due a few days after the trial date.

If found guilty she could face up to 3 yrs in prison!!!

Saaleha said...

You know what, that's just plain rediculous. And totally stupid to boot, Makes me want to aaargh.... Okay, I'm off for some fresh air.

Debi said...

Hi Saaleha and welcome. Good to see you here. I hope the fresh air helped - though I doubt it.

Mind you, I bet your air tastes sweeter than ours here in the London smoke ...

The Wandering Author said...

Debi; that's outrageous, stupid, and, yes, just the sort of thing that happens in repressive countries... If that attitude spreads, the only authors who won't be in trouble are the ones not worth reading!

By the way, during World War I, the Ottoman Empire, then the government over Turkey and much of the Middle East and beyond, decided the Armenian Christians were potentially "disloyal". So they starved them, deliberately. It was official policy to wipe out as many as possible.

Which is, presumably, what the book's about. In other words, those who would be insulted by such a tragedy being exposed are those who richly deserve insult. Gee, am I in trouble in Turkey, now?

Debi said...

Hi WA and welcome!

The good news is that Elif Shafak was acquitted. The bad news is that she had to go through all this in the first place.

ISLAND MONKEY said...

I read an article in the Financial Times about this last week which was incisive. A character in her novel The Bastard Of Istanbul uses the term 'genocide' in a way that upset the authorities.

She was tried under a law against people insulting Turkishness.

Cases like this damage Turkey's reputation and the chances of entry into the EU. Which in turn appears to be creating a vicious cycle whereby such nationalist sentiments and Turkey's isolation are likely to be increased.