Through Abu Aadvark, I discovered that one of my favorite Arab columnists, Mona Eltahawy, has been banned from writing for the Saudi-owned Al-Sharq Al-Alawsat daily. The reason is unclear, says Abu Aaadvark, who also wondered if it could be Egyptian pressure. "Perhaps she offended the wrong Saudi? She wasn’t officially told she was banned nor given any reason, but there you go. She’s just gone," he said.
I’m assuming she was banned simply because of her enlightening, yet unorthodox opinions. It is too bad, really. Until when are we going to be stuck with writers babbling the same old rhetoric that we grew up listening to? It really is sad and very frustrating. Her writing renewed my hope in Arab media.
I feel lucky that this past March I had a chance to meet her when we both took part in a panel discussion on reporting in the Middle East that was organized by the University of Wisconsin. In person she is just as impressive as she is in print. She is very smart, very articulate and extremely passionate. I will reiterate now what I said back then: The Arab world definitely needs more Mona’s.
The good news, though, is that she is still writing for a number of international publications. You can also read her articles on her website. She’s also writing for Jordanbased Maktoob. She will never be silenced. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat really made a very poor decision.