Moroccan Fatima Zahra Amzgar, just 25 years old, became the center of attention at the Rabat Book Fair. in a country Prison sentence for homosexualityShe was planning to sign copies of her novel “Gay Diaries” at Morocco’s main literary event, but organizers withdrew the work at the last minute after the controversy erupted over it.
“Extremists are angry because my novel not only defends the struggle for human liberation, but also puts an end to the centralization of governance in Morocco and Declares the male person undesirable.the writer summarizes in an interview she gave to Efe at the literary exhibition, while writers such as Abdelkarim Al-Jeiti and feminist activists such as Lubna Al-Joud offer her support with hugs and words of encouragement.
Lesbian Memories was published six months ago by Tangerine Agora and was to be shown among the 100,000 titles of the 27th edition of the International Book and Publishing Fair (SIEL) which is taking place these days in Rabat. , but in the end Withdrew from the appointment after harsh reactions Produced by conservative Moroccan figures such as the Salafi leader Hassan al-Qatani.
The pastor wrote on his Facebook page, “If today they defend homosexuality, tomorrow it is time to read a diary People who have sex with their sisters, their mothers or daughters. Although it may seem strange to you, I am very serious.”
A source from SIEL’s organizers explains to Efe that “the book has not been withdrawn, because Didn’t make it to the list of books on display”, but the director of the publishing house Youssef Jarmah confirms that she has already appeared in this program previously presented by SIEL organizers.
It is a 297-page novel that tells the story of a young gay woman in Morocco with her Contrasted with the state, religion and the rest of society.
The protagonist is Tetema, a young woman who grew up in a Casablanca shantytown who was raped as a child, loves to play soccer and had to marry a man without commitment. His interview with Raneem turned his life 180 degrees because(E) With her, he discovered his homosexuality and had to separate from her husband.
Amzgar emphasizes that it’s not autobiographical, though Ttema, also born in Casablanca, goes by the name her friends know her by. “I wrote it in defense of coexistence. I was shocked when I discovered the LGTBIQ+ community, they are very tolerant and really believe in love, but the rest of the community is hostile to its members,” says the young woman.
“They removed it to protect me.”
Regarding the reasons for the withdrawal, the author believes that they did so because they wanted to protect him after the controversy caused by the fundamentalists. And the writer confirms, and justifies her opinion by saying: “I think they are afraid, if they do not intervene, that there will be a hate attack,” adding that “it was distributed in all bookstores and was sold normally.”
Of course, after his withdrawal from SIEL, he explains, the most sought-after work became an exhibitor from his publisher, who He agreed to publish the book “without thinking twice.”
Amzgar, an Arabic language teacher at a secondary school in Casablanca, said she would continue writing, and that she already had a project in mind for a novel called “The Castrated Women,” which includes prison-in-prisoner dialogues between prisoners of opposing ideologies.
LGBTQ + Struggle through culture
For the young novelist, in Morocco there is no “real struggle” on the part of the LGBTIQ+ community, which “must be done through creativity, and Not through street protests.” “I also advocate for a fight from within the institutions, we need MPs who defend gays,” he adds.
He expresses his hopeReform laws criminalizing homosexuality in Morocco, Intercourse outside marriage and the breaking of Ramadan. “These laws may exist to protect the physical integrity of different people, but they must protect them without compromising their freedoms.”
From the viewer, her editor regrets to Efe that when controversy erupted on social media, the work was pulled from the gallery for reading by the Culture Ministry’s “reading committee”, but three days later it has yet to be returned. authorized for this event.
According to Jarmah, his publisher published 500 copies, which were distributed in bookstores and were practically sold. “When the exhibition is over, we will release a second edition and there will be translations into other languages. We received a request to translate it into Spanish,” he says.