A short story of academic oppression in Egypt
From The Guardian, Wednesday 29 June 2011, by Amira Nowaira
The real scandal at Cairo University is not the lesbian scene in a reading list text, but the cynical propaganda launched against it.
Academic freedom comes once again under attack in Egypt. An article published in the state-owned al-Akhbar newspaper under the provocative title "Teaching homosexuality at Cairo University" launched a frenzied attack on the university's English department for including a short story containing a lesbian scene on its curriculum.
This is by no means the first time that literature departments have come under fire from self-appointed guardians of public morality.
A few years ago all hell broke loose when a defender of public morality disclosed to the world the conspiracy wrought against the minds of Egyptian students by Moll Flanders, the 18th-century novel being taught as part of the "history of the novel" course. It was argued that having a main character who is a prostitute and a thief was a clear endorsement of immorality, implying that literature should concentrate instead on saints and angels.