Saturday, April 5, 2014

Censorship Runs Amock in Lebanon

Censors there are, if you can believe it, even more capricious and nutty than Canada's "human rights" censors were (that is until parliament struck down Section 13, the censorship component of the federal "human rights" code):
BEIRUT, LEBANON—At the entrance to the Beirut office of the March organization, there is a well-stocked bookshelf. Its contents include notables such as Of Mice and Men, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Da Vinci Code, Sophie’s Choice and the slightly less classy Little Book of Big Penis.
Crack the covers and you’ll realize this isn’t any ordinary book collection. The pages are all blank. The Lebanese government has banned them. The reasons range from homosexual references and politics to religion and vague connection to things Jewish.
On an adjacent shelf sits an eclectic CD collection of banned music, including Frank Sinatra (Zionist tendencies), Lady Gaga (offensive to Christianity), The Buddha Bar Compilation (religion) and Bad Religion (offensive name).
March, a Lebanese NGO and the owner of this collection, has been documenting these obscure and arbitrary censorship practices in Lebanon via its Virtual Museum of Censorship since the group was founded in 2011.
“The laws of censorship are so vague that it allows the people in charge to censor anything they want,” says Lea Baroudi, a founding member of March. “And what worries me is that I think it is getting worse.”...
What's behind the capricious censorship? I'm sure you can take a wild guess:
One reason for censorship is the 1955 Lebanese Anti-Israeli Boycott law, which outlaws any material related to the State of Israel. Although the law targets Israel, rather than Jews, it has been interpreted broadly by some censors. This has resulted in decisions to ban some movies in which Jewish actors appear while allowing others, and the random black markering of any name that has a Jewish ring to it. 
The classic Of Mice and Men was recently banned when an officer thought the name John Steinbeck sounded Jewish, according to the Daily Star newspaper. After discovering he wasn’t Jewish, the ban was lifted. 
On that basis, Mark Steyn, a non-Jew with a Jewy-sounding name who's been labeled  a "raging Islamophobe, would be banned for sure.

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