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Sales ban on Doulos senseless

Vol XXVIII   NO. 351      Monday      6 March 2006

It is great to see common sense prevailing at last and the Doulos being allowed to sell books!

But I still cannot bring myself to understand the rationale behind the decision to allow the world's largest floating bookshop to dock at Mina Salman, but ban it from selling its books!

It was like chopping someone's hand off and giving him a pen!

What have we got against the written word? Wasn't it the Holy Quran that ordered the believers to read? Wasn't it Prophet Mohammed who instructed his people to seek knowledge?

Why was the Doulos allowed to call on us, if we were to snub it and show the rest of the world our fangs and our "great sensitivity" towards books as if they were the plague?

Why were people who read in Bahrain herded like horses to water, but denied to drink from it? It's not like we are spoilt for choice when it comes to books in Bahrain so that the floating bookshop posed a threat to local businesses.

The sad fact is that if anything, we need more cultural activities and books to encourage people to learn, expand their horizons and fight intolerance and backwardness.

Revising the decision will not eradicate it overnight, but is a step in the right direction.

A quick search on the web exposes a sad reality, not only in Bahrain, but in the rest of the Arab world.

According to the 2002 Arab Human Development Report, Arab countries produced 6,500 books compared to 102,000 in North America and 42,000 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Citing Unesco figures, the report says that book production in Arab countries is only 1.1 per cent of world production, although Arabs make up 5pc of the world's population.

To add insult to injury, Arabs produced no more than 1,945 literary and artistic books, making up 0.8pc of international production.

This is less than a country such as Turkey produces - with a population about a quarter of that of Arab countries, according to the report.

What a shame!

I will never forget how, after every holiday abroad, my bags were searched at Bahrain International Airport - not because they contained contraband items, but because they were full of books that made custom officers jump up and down with excitement!

The fact that the books were in English and contained very little graphics made them ponder on them longer than they would with other items, until I intervened and told them they were for my studies.

And I wasn't lying, for it was from books that I have learned more than I have at school, university and my working experience - all put together.

*Amira Al Hussaini currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


So now the ship can sell books AFTER paying something like 3000 BD I understand. (aprox $8000 us)

Can someone please explain this to me? A goodwill ship run by a NON PROFIT Organization being charged for selling books. Sounds like somebody didn't get the hint.....Very strange....

Posted by: CerebralWaste | 06/03/2006


You have hit the nail on the HEAD. People in Bahrain.. Bahraini's and expats alike need to support the Doulos by prying a couble of BD out of their wallets and buying a book or two.

It shows you the true dedication the crew of the Doulos has by staying docked in Bahrain while things get sorted out. However after the way they have been treated would any have blamed them if they pulled up anchor and left never to return? I wouldn't...

Posted by: CerebralWaste | 07/03/2006

As a Bahraini I hang my head down in shame ;(

Posted by: Amira | 07/03/2006

I don't think as a Bahraini you need to hang your head in shame Amira. You are doing your part helping with the problem. EXPOSING IT.

The people of Bahrain need to get out and purchase books from the Doulas in a BIG way to show that THEY, the people support the Ship and its mission despite the decoys tossed in the way by some people.

By doing this Bahraini's then seperate themselves from the governement and this goes hand in hand with the true mission and purpose of the Doulas. Fostering good will. The questoin du jour is have the people of Bahrain (all people on the Island) done their part? Time will tell..........

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