Jordan has banned Saddam Hussein's new novel on the grounds the tale of an Arab tribesman who defeats a foreign intruder could hurt relations between the two countries, censors and the publisher said Sunday.
"Get out of here, curse you!," believed to have been penned by the ousted Iraqi leader before the U.S.-led war, was set to be released in Jordan and other Arab countries Thursday by a Jordanian company with the permission of Saddam's family.
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The publisher said he had printed 10,000 copies for distribution in Jordan and other Arab countries, including Iraq, after winning initial permission. He said censors changed their mind after a local newspaper reported the upcoming launch.
"They gave us the okay from day one, but with all this publicity the censors called and told us to stop everything," the publisher told Reuters, asking his name and his company not be printed for fear of government reprisals.
"I will change the cover and publish it abroad. This book is going to be published in the Arab world, I tell you that."
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A publisher for a London-based publishing house who was offered the rights to print an English translation by the Jordanian publisher said they turned it down.
"We read it but thought it had very little literary value," Hesperus Press publisher Alessandro Gallenzi told Reuters from London.
"We publish classics. I'm afraid this one does not make it."
In lieu of Saddam's magnum opus, perhaps On the Art of Cinema by North Korean murderous dictator dear leader Kim Jong-Il would make a suitable alternate selection. That or Harry Potter.