ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Why I Write in English

For a writer in Kuwait to produce creative works in English is a political act that enhances, not impairs, the Arab identity.


I was asked once in an interview why I wrote in English and whether I thought that this growing trend of young Arabs writing in English would harm our Arab identity and impair our Islamic heritage. The answer I gave at the time was simple. Writers are businessmen and women and English is a lingua franca. It would make total sense, I said, for writers of any mother tongue to write in English if they wanted a bigger platform of readers.

The real response is much more complicated, however. It is true that English is a lingua franca, but I am also aware of the historical turmoil that enabled the global impact of the English language. We’ve witnessed recently the entire Arab region teetering on the brink of a transformation. Change, in itself, is not entirely a bad thing. Fear of change lies in the manifold ways that a better future might be hijacked by fascists or imperialists. As a result of the geopolitical tension in the region, writing in English in Kuwait ceases to be a mere business decision. It becomes political whether or not writers are aware of their positions at the time of writing.

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