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Outrage leads Stockholm library to drop Tintin ban

25 Sep 2012, 11:18

Published: 25 Sep 2012 11:18 GMT+02:00

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"The decision happened too fast," Kulturhuset head Eric Sjöström and the organization's artistic director, Behrang Miri, said in a statement released late Tuesday morning.

The reversal comes after a report in Tuesday's Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper in which Miri said the library planned to remove Tintin comics from its shelves.

“The image the Tintin books give of Africans is Afro-phobic, for example. Africans are a bit dumb, while Arabs sit on flying carpets and Turks smoke water pipes,” he told the paper.

But after criticism of the move erupted in Swedish media on Monday morning, Miri changed his stance.

"I wanted to highlight an opinion piece about issues of discrimination, but realize now that it's wrong to ban books," Miri said in a statement.

However, Kulturhuset head Sjöström applauded Miri for prompting a discussion about discrimination.

"The issues of discrimination, equality and norms continue to be debated and discussed," Sjöström said in a statement.

"Behrang Miri is employed as an artistic director for children and young people for all of Kulturhuset, with a stated role of developing its artistic content. His mission is to continue working with issues of discrimination and I support him fully."

Among those who slammed Kulturhuset's Tintin ban was Fredrik Strömberg, chair of the Swedish Comics Association (Seriefrämjandet).

"I think it's wrong. I don't think people should censure in this way, children are smarter than that. It's better to talk about the stupid things we have done than to hide them away, that would be the mistake,” he told the TT news agency.

Strömberg argued that people have a strong fear of what children are shown, especially when it comes to pictures.

Story continues below…

“The same things in words don’t seem to get such a reaction from people. There’s no one who cleans up Astrid Lindgren because of her Negro kings,” he said.

In Lindgren’s popular Pippi Longstockings books, the main character’s father was said to be a Negro King from the south seas – an issue some publishers have chosen to edit in English to “A king of the south seas”.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

11:43 September 25, 2012 by towns
Finally some sanity, good thing there was outrage a squeaking wheel gets oil!
11:46 September 25, 2012 by sometimesinsweden
The Local seems to be changing Behrang Miri's sex with every article.
13:19 September 25, 2012 by Opinionfool
OFFS what are they going to ban next? Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet because it describes early teen sexualisation and marriage? Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5? Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer because like Romeo and Juliet is describes young teens having sex ... and god forbid pre-maritally.

Tintin is as much a comment upon its era as anything else. It isn't an endorsement of such attitudes but a historical encoding of the attitudes of the time. No more than "Män som hatar kvinnor" is an incitement to misogyny.

Just get a grip! And stop looking for subjugation and oppression and offense on every page.
14:47 September 25, 2012 by Scepticion
Perhaps have a look in Congo

14:51 September 25, 2012 by CDRoth
The retraction sounds like a sneak move was discovered. I'd keep an eye on the issue if I wanted to keep the material available.
19:43 September 25, 2012 by johan rebel
When Tintin in Africa was first published in Sweden (before the 2nd World War), the publisher insisted on changes being made to avoid offending local sensibilities. What caused offense was the scene where Tintin blows up a rhino with dynamite!

21:17 September 25, 2012 by Munir Ahmed
Why not just CORRECT the offensive pictures on reprint? It's not like changing a Picasso painting or a Michaelangelo statue, Tintin was great because of its brilliant storytelling...Global sales today will continue to dwindle without changes.
21:28 September 25, 2012 by frenchviking
seriously? how can anyone even think of censoring TINTIN?

What is there to correct?

This is ridiculous... I am glad there was an outrage and it was reverted.

I cannot believe that there is an article in this very same paper on the same day suggesting that Sweden is racist and discriminates... I have never seen any country that self censors itself as much as Sweden...

No national anthem, no swedish flag, no tintin books... Should we also make it mandatory to use self tanning creams because we are ashamed of being white?

Difference is what makes us stronger, it is great that we are all different. If we were all black or all white and if we all had the same culture the world would be boring!

Should we ban James Bond movies because some of them are showing russians and north koreans are evil?

should we ban second world war movies because of the image they give of german people?

should we ban "allo allo" because it gives a bad image of french people?

come on, can people not take a bit of criticism and and just laugh about it?!?!?!
23:29 September 25, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Hey how about banning the Bible as well because it is not Politically correct either?!

I am so over this being constantly Politically correct all the time!!! Why is it the blacks can call themselves the "N" word but no one else had better use that word?
05:31 September 26, 2012 by JoeSwede
why do Libraries have the right to pull popular books?

Maybe put a note in the intro to the parent so that the parent can use the book as a teaching moment with their child.

Swedish taxes are so high that some families are forced to rely on the state for their reading pleasure and then to add punishment the state is dictating what books the families may read.
13:22 September 27, 2012 by Peter Helenius
And yet again an other area where the Gutmensch wants to forbid your thoughts and opinion in the name of the modern societal cancer called Multiculti and diversity.

Please Swedes, WAKE UP, because your country leaders are really totally out of controlwith Multiculti dicatatorship and Sweden will be prone to be the first European country which will fall in the coming turmoil next decades.

So Swedes, put off this apathy and dehumanization of the Gutmenschen Ideology and fight for your country and fight for the future of your (grand)children.You cant wait and see if maybe things will pass over. It wont!
23:47 September 28, 2012 by Swedish Cat
Well, knowing that kulturhuset is based on "Plattan" in Stockholm who is filled with pure scum and monkeys I am not surprised they are scared. I am often not taking my foreign guests to that area of Stockholm as want to show the beautiful and clean part. When we accidentally end up there everyone says Oh wow..we though Sweden did not have this problem. Just showing that they were scared of not being harassed by Muslims in my mind. Who is not scared of them? I am for sure..
22:38 October 3, 2012 by B.olesen
I find it terribly hilarious that negro is considered a racist term by ignorant europeans who believe everything they are told. Negro is no more racist than caucasian, and means 'brown' in more than one language. I am sick of this 'word play' by which everything is considered an affront to someone. Be offended and then get a life.

I read a swedish article where some guy from the congo referred to negro as the N word. NOT the same word used in English as a racist epithet. In the United States, some companies have edited Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, removing the word nigger from the book and replacing it with the word 'slave'. Incredibly biased, considering the tale occurred AFTER slavery was abolished, and one of the main characters 'Nigger Jim' is now referred to as Slave Jim. How is that LESS offensive? Its obviously not and just a way to keep people fighting about what might as well be ancient history.

Erasing history, changing language in historical novels whether fiction or non fiction help NOT AT ALL. You can't erase history. There are a whole lot of things that make me mad when I read about things that happened to women in the past, but, I don't try to make them remove negative words from literature because I don't LIKE IT.
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