Kuwait's book censors have been very busy of late banning 4,390 books since 2014, hundreds of them this year.
Recent targets include an encyclopedia with a picture of Michelangelo's David and a Disney version of The Little Mermaid .
David had no fig leaf, and the mermaid, alas, wore half a bikini.
Shamayel al-Sharikh, a Kuwaiti women's activist explained that the powers that be thought her dress was promiscuous.
Sometimes the 12-member censors committee (six Arabic
readers, six English readers) that rules on books for the Ministry of Information gives a reason: The anthology Why We Write was banned because its editor, Meredith Maran, had falsely accused her father of molestation.
In other cases, the
justification is obscure, such as with The Art of Reading , by Damon Young. Maya Angelou's memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings , is forbidden in Kuwait.
One Hundred Years of Solitude , by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García
Márquez, is banned because of a scene in which a wife sees her husband naked, as is Children of Gebelawi , by Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, the first Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel in literature.
George Orwell's 1984 is