Egyptian flock to buy previously banned books

"Red Card for the President” back in bookstores


Among the several changes that are currently taking place in Egypt after the January 25 revolution and the subsequent ouster of the regime is the release of several books previously banned during the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Thousands of books that were banned during the time of Mubarak for their criticism of the regime are currently available, said Essam, a bookstore owner.

“Huge numbers of readers are now flocking to buy previously banned books,” he told Al Arabiya.

In support of the January 25 revolution, Essam decided to offer discounts on these books that reach 70 percent.

“I want all Egyptians to be able to buy those books.”

According to Egyptian novelist Sonallah Ibrahim, banned books that returned to the shelves are divided into two categories.

“Some books were originally written in reaction to specific events that happened in the past while others offer analyses,” he said.

A Red Card for the President, by anti-government journalist Abdul Halim Kandeel, is among the most prominent books that made a powerful comeback in Egypt’s bookstores.

The book includes 52 articles that Kandeel wrote in several Egyptian and Arab newspapers and which tackle critical problems that hindered Egypt’s advancement towards reform, such as sectarian strife, bequest of power, privatization, and the delay of revolution—all reasons that necessitate waving a red card at the president and demanding his departure.

(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)