Critic urges boycotting Qatari prize for Arabic fiction

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Sun, 11 Jun 2017 - 07:55 GMT

Katara-prize

Katara-prize

CAIRO 11 June 2017: After Egypt cut ties with Qatar, prominent Egyptian literary critic Dr. Salah Fadl called for boycotting all cultural projects shared with Qatar, including the Katara Prize for Arabic Fiction. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and others have also decided to sever ties with Qatar.

In a statement to the private newspaper Youm7, Fadl said “Arab intellectuals must boycott Qatar’s attempts to better its image by funding cultural projects such as the Katara awards and other apparently attractive projects.”

He called on those who previously supported the “traitorous, anti-peace” Qatar to review their positions and to give precedence to their sense of nationalism and humanitarianism over any benefit they may gain while in support of this country. Fadl urged boycott, especially by the “young” intellectuals, saying “I believe Qatar is out to undermine humanitarianism and social awareness, and there is conclusive evidence to that.”

Salah Fadl said, "Personally, I have abstained for the past five years from participating in any activity that has to do with this state, despite insistence on my participation. I even had to boycott some friends whose intentions may be good, to be able to continue to uphold what I already have against Qatar.”

He added, “Some of those who tend to justify matters in order to improve relations with this country may separate cultural projects from political objectives. While this may be permissible for some private institutions, where individuals can pay out of their own money and may have well intentioned goals, it would not apply to projects undertaken by countries. A country develops its policy by its cultural, economic, and commercial activities but never by sheer good intentions. Individuals differ from countries.”

“When a state launches any activity, it is responsible for its orientations, for those who take part therein and for its outcome. But individuals can have good intentions and may not have ulterior hidden political objectives. Therefore, it is impossible to separate culture from politics.”

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