Has the world gone stark raving totally bloody bonkers? As I write, a rather nice lady in her fifties from Liverpool is languishing in a Khartoum jail. Her crime? Allowing her pupils to call the class teddy bear Mohammed.
Did A. A. Milne face such censorship when he came up with the, let’s face it, slightly dodgy name of Winnie the Pooh? Did the naming of Paddington cause even a ripple of scandal?
Gillian Gibbons yesterday escaped a flogging but was sentenced to 15 days in jail followed by immediate deportation. What punishment will they inflict on the poor bear I wonder?
Rupert has a bear that he was given at birth. For forty-five years this bear remained nameless. He is a rather special bear, able to cheer the children up in a crisis (he went with Leo to hospital the other day) and do acrobatics. Finally this morning my husband announced he is going to be named.
“I will call him Mohammed,” he said.
I’m not sure the name suits him that well but I’m prepared to go along with it. Mainly so that every time I look at him, I will remember that having the right to call a teddy bear whatever you like should be a right enjoyed by teddy bear owners the world over.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007