Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Horizon newsletter: Muscat International Book Fair 2007

Below is the approved format for the Horizon newsletter at the Sultan Qaboos University. I felt quite strongly about this topic; hence, the reason as to why I wrote about it three times on my blog including this time through a public gazette.

I am hoping that you would all read it and tell me of your opinion on it.


Muscat International Book Fair 2007

n regards to the topic of books, the Muscat International Book Fair 2007 had just passed by with many book titles offered by published from all over the Arab world and a few foreign countries, too. But, there was one very simple mistake that was made. A mistake that has seen itself being repeated over the ten year span from the time the Oman Exhibition International Centre had started the very first international book fair here in Muscat.

The focus at the book fair this year – as it is every year – was completely on the Arabic language speaking books that talked about almost everything from religion, culture, societies and communities at whole, to even politics. But there was very little or no regard to any English language speaking books in similar topics except for the few books that offered educational material for little children, pre-school teens and first-year university students. But that was it.

The purpose of a book is to broaden your horizon about a certain topic, culture, language, or problem in discussion. And more so in the case in the English language, with world renowned philosophers, mathematicians, chemists, thinkers, and politicians who have covered vast areas of science and technology, education and the way the world around us revolves – each in their own perspective from Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

So – the question at hand is why was there a non-existent presence of the English language speaking books at the Muscat International Book Fair? As the whole idea behind reading a book is to educate you of the world that surrounds you in many aspects depending on your field of interest.

Maybe it was the exhibiting company’s fault, or perhaps the publisher’s, or some other formal body that failed to inform the party involved that there was such an exhibition in the Sultanate of Oman. But wouldn’t you consider it curious to have it happen ten straight times in a row?

All in all, we stand to lose out a lot more from not reading foreign books that offer intellectual material in a foreign language (i.e.: the English language).

It is high time that the concerned authorities took a serious approach to the problem to avoid it in next year’s book fair or else we shall have change its name to the ‘Muscat Regional Book Fair’ from thereon, instead.


Balqis said...

Then it was not only an impression that there were less English books than last year
Ironically a nation which builds its new generations education on English, then gives them few choices to broaden their knowledge
I have the feeling [speaking with some ] that on one hand students become less familiar with Arabic but on the other, institutions try to cover this fault by imposing lot of Arabic books

Sleepless In Muscat said...


no it was not.

and you're right about what you say. how can we expect the educational system to educate our youth if there's a limited horizon to get that knowledge from?

either they open it up or just don't teach it at all.

OmanforLife said...

I've always had the impression that as long as we are giving a view to the "outsiders" that we are educating the masses in a manner befitting our situation...that is all that is cared about. The quality seems to have little to no consequence. It's like covering up a mud cake with a beautiful french cream. Just don't try to take a bite.

Sleepless In Muscat said...


You took the words out of my mouth.