Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On Veiling and Unveiling

Embraced by the calmness that emanates from every corner of the Mother City, I can write to say that much of the elegance of the Mountains Beauty transcends in the warmth within the hearts of Cape Towns residents. These few days have been ingratiatingly pleasant. The Cape Town Book Fair has turned out to be an incredible experience and epitomises the celebration of the written word, enticing booklovers of all ages and fancies to its ceremonies. But with writing comes this deepset responsibility, one that has just come to my attention in more stark reference than ever before. In engaging with members of the press and other media, one takes for granted that there must exist a form of writers ethic to convey in truth and good will, the message of the writer of a book in as exact form as possible by the reviewer or reporter. I found that such was not the case in a recent article by a newbie journalist of the Mercury who has grossly misrepresented the message that is "Daughters are Diamonds" for what could be seen as her own ends to perpetuate her rather limited rhetoric, misunderstanding in its entirety the concept of hijab. Ms Naidoo quotes me as having said that hijab is irrelevant in current society. Of course that does not make sense! Especially when she then goes on to say that Hassim argues that Muslim women in South Africa wear the hijab with pride and an awareness of their identity as Muslim. Her choice of title (Lifting the Veil) is the first point of focus for the intention to defame, as "Daughters are Diamonds" is not an issue of purdah and the veil, but an observation on the insiduous forms of social control, stigma and cultural expectations that limit womens autonomy, which is seen as religious obligation. Islam as a religion, is progressive and encouraging of men and women as spiritual beings to 'enjoin what is good and forbid what is evil' in living a moral life in keeping with the traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). I am especially appalled at the idea by the Lifestyle reporter goes on to quote her own references in the form of Alibhai-Brown whose views are both contrary and far-removed from the scope of "Daughters are Diamonds" message. This defamatory article is hardly a conscientious effort at sound journalism and leaves me wondering about the thirst for scandal that half-wit journalists need to rely on in order to make themselves heard.


SingleGuy said...

I'm glad you enjoyed yourself here in my hometown. Although an avid book-reader and lover, the book fair took me to a new level of appreciation for the written word.

What was especially moving was listening to Poets recite their own poetry with the passion it was written, and I now see poetry in a different light.

The criticism laid at your book just represents the closed-mindedness of the critic. One problem with critics is that read books with the intention of delivering criticism, and may have to make up an issue if one does not exist.

It was unfortunate that I did not have too much time to spend at the fair or to attend your launch....perhaps next time?

kimya said...

hey SG

im glad u enjoyed the poetry, i noticed you were quite engrossed at the reading that took place at the Centre for the Book stand :)
Indeed, the words have a theatrical life with the voice of the poet!

about my book, the article was meant to be a lifestyle feature and was based on an interview and not a bookreview: ie the reporter did not actually read the book. However, i was made to read her draft and approve or reject as i saw fit. The article that was printed, was radically altered without my knowledge. In addition, the reporter has quoted works that are both contrary and far-reached from the theme and message of my book in order to serve her own purposes. The critics who have actually read my book have not found reason to slander and have not been a problem - a neglectful scandalistic journalist has!

kimya said...

on the other hand, Daughters received a fabulous response both at the Fair and at the Launch, and its already planned that we will return to Cape Town before the end of the year for a reading! Hope u are able to make it then!

Anonymous said...

Invitation to Book Launch

Shabbir Banoobhai’s

water would suffice - reflections of love

Date: Tuesday – 26 June 2007

Time: 5.45 pm for 6.00pm

Venue: Quarterdeck, Point Yacht Club, Durban
Off Victoria Embankment - The Esplanade.

Guest Speaker: Thayalan Reddy
Hosted by: Live Poets’ Society, Durban

zee said...

its a real pity about the misrepresentation but it is inevitable that when a book challenges certain norms in society, u are bound to get a wide range of comments, and interpretations by a number of ppl,all lookin for something in it that either confirms,reaffirms or proves their theories,opinions and beliefs.


kimya said...

hey zee!

thank you! for your words of wisdom as always.. and welcome back to the blogosphere :)

the positives keep adding up and encouraging and invaluable words as yours are enough to keep the energy flow in the right direction!

lets see if "daughters" can make it to vbg:)

diatribe said...

hey lady! its as i told you at the beginning... and i think you said many people keep repeeating this: no publicity is bad publicity!

hope your sales keep on rising the way they seem to be!

keep at it!

kimya said...


i hear so!