As a writer, nothing fills me with anxiety and self-doubt than the thought of my family reading my work. “Crap, I can’t write this, they might read it!” “I can’t have any curse words in here!” “A religious joke? Ha!” I find myself censoring everything I write, even on the vague threat of my family one day seeing it.
Then again, familial chastisement and embarrassment is nothing compared to prison time.
Ahmed Naji, an Egyptian writer, is to face court for infringing on public decency. What did this writer do? Publish a tirade against the government? Speak out against religion? I fear that this… this 5th columnist has done far worse, my friends. He *shudder* He wrote a sex scene!!!
The offending piece of literature comes from one of Mr. Naji’s works titled, “Istikhdam al-Hayah” (The Guide for Using Life.) It appeared in “Akhbar al-Adab,” a literary magazine where Naji works.
DW.com reports: One of the magazine’s readers, Hani Salah Tawfiq, filed a complaint against Naji in 2014, three months after the chapter from the novel was initially published. Tawfiq claimed that his heartbeat fluctuated, his blood pressure dropped dangerously low and that he is now seriously ill after having read Naji’s fictional story.
Dang… Mr. Naji must be an amazing writer to get a reaction like that out of a reader!
According to the article, Mr. Naji and his editor-in-chief are facing up to two years in prison and a fine equal to $1,275. For obvious reasons, Mr. Naji is upset.
“I was describing a sex scene between the narrator of the novel and another main character,” Naji told DW. “But the prosecution deals with it as if it were an article and not a novel. Instead of seeing it as a prose, they refer to it as a first-person journalistic piece.”
“They can’t understand the difference between the book and reality, so the prosecution is asking me to elaborate on the deeds of the main characters as if it were me doing them,” he said. “For example, one of the characters smokes hash, and I’m being investigated about it.”
Boy, people sure would be confused if they thought all my writing was based on my life. They’d think I was a time traveling werewolf hunter from a Matrix-style reality… which sounds so much cooler than my real life!!!