Posts Tagged ‘Stockholm Culture Centre’

Arrogant and overbearing political correctness censures Tintin from Stockholm library

September 25, 2012

See update below:

I have little patience with the “do-gooders” who always know best what is good for others. But impatience turns to an active dislike when an arrogant young man (a certain Behrang Meri) presumes that his world-view shall prevail and takes it upon himself to be a censor by removing all copies of Tintin from the shelves of the 10-13 year old library of Stockholm’s Culture Centre. Of course he claims he is doing this “for their own good”. Arrogance and coercion are the stock-in-trade of the “do-gooders” and is wide-spread in Sweden. Banning things for the “good of others” is the order of the day. Some of the coercive tactics employed – even if now coming from the left of the political spectrum – are indistinguishable from those employed by the fascists in Europe almost 100 years ago.

Dagens Nyheter reports (my free translation):

Tintin has been ejected from the Culture Centre in Stockholm. DN can report that the beloved cartoon character has been cleaned out from the library shelves. Now the staff have been instructed to look for any more books which have racist or homophobic values.

The 10-13 year old library of Stockholm’s Culture Centre has  removed Tintin books from the shelves. In consultation with their staff, the artistic director with responsibility for children and activities for the young made ​​the decision.

“That’s right. The picture Tintin books give for example of Africans is afrofobisk. Africans are shown to be a bit silly while Arabs are sitting on flying carpets and Turks smoke water pipes. The image of  the “forest Turk” is still there. It’s about exoticism and Orientalism”, says Behrang Miri, who leads efforts to develop Child and Youth Culture activities in the sections for children, “Tiotretton” and “Lava”. ……. 

Behrang Meri, the self-appointed censor in this case, was appointed to his position in February this year.

He was on the radio this morning and tried to babble his way through by insisting that he was removing the books so that children could actually go deeper into the questions of racism!!  He seemed to be avoiding all questions and merely spouting a practised defence. I would have thought that deepening children’s understanding would only be possible by exposure to the books and not by his over-bearing, over-protectiveness denying exposure to the books. In any case the Tintin serials – which I greatly enjoyed through my childhood – were written in a colonial time and had no racist intentions. It depicted the world-view that existed at the time. Censorship will not change history or cause those times to disappear.

He failed to impress and I cannot help feeling that his ego has got the better of him and his objective is mere self-promotion rather than the cultural enrichment of 10-13 year old children.


Following a storm of media criticism, officials at the Kulturhuset library in Stockholm have reversed their decision to remove Tintin comic books from its shelves, saying the move happened “too fast”.

I note that it was the head of the Culture Centre who reversed the censorship and Bahrang Meri has accepted being overruled. In spite of his vehement defence of his decision on the radio this morning this was clearly not a resigning issue. Some damage control is ongoing but damage there certainly is:

“I wanted to highlight an opinion piece about issues of discrimination, but realize now that it’s wrong to ban books,” Meri said in a statement. However, Kulturhuset head Sjöström applauded Meri for prompting a discussion about discrimination. 
“The issues of discrimination, equality and norms continue to be debated and discussed,” Sjöström said in a statement.

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