Arab world lags behind in good translated books

ABU DHABI — General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has expressed delight over the excellent display and organisation that marked the 16th International Book Fair.

By (Wam)

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Published: Sat 1 Apr 2006, 10:29 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:46 PM

He made the remarks during a visit to the book fair, which opened at the Cultural Foundation here yesterday.

He went around the exhibition and spent some time at the Al Ibaikan Library pavilion where he autographed the first copy of the second edition of the book "A man who once was fat" by Turky Al Dakheel, a noted journalist. Al Dakheel, in his inimitable satirical style, has narrated his experience and hardship with obesity, and how the phenomenon has triggered a sort of racism in the Arab societies.

General Shaikh Mohammed was quite impressed by the large number of participants and the big public response to the book fair.

He pointed out "the importance of such exhibitions to the Arab societies, which are in dire need of good reading, enrichment through e-culture, and literary works in line with the latest contemporary developments.

He expressed his disappointment over the fact that Arab world is still lagging behind in terms of making good translated literature available — based on classics and major books dealing with human civilisations and cultures, either of Arab or foreign origin.

"For me, I would like to point out that since the advent of translated books in Arab history and until today, the translation of books in just one country in the West, such as Spain, outnumbers those in the Arab world since the days of the Caliph Al Mammoon - although Spaniards constitute one quarter of the entire Arab population. Therefore, do we accept, as Arabs, such strange contradictions."

He also stressed the importance of encouraging Arab societies in organising such exhibitions, which are rich in content and can create a major public impact.

The real challenge the Arabs would face in the future, he said, would be in the critical field of information and general knowledge — the full potential and resources of which still have to be maximised.

He said the rich legacy of the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his contribution towards the progress and development of the Emirates, will always remain an inspiring beacon for all UAE citizens.

He said the book fair, which has been organised every year since it was first started during Shaikh Zayed's reign, will remain a lasting testimony to the high priority he gave to improving education and the spread of knowledge in the UAE. It has helped create a new generation, ready to take on the challenges of the future.

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