Saturday, July 09, 2005

Book Burning in Cuba

Walter Skold has written a great article for World Net Daily on noted author Ray Bradbury's condemnation of censorship and book burning in Cuba:

After giving a keynote speech this week at the American Library Association's annual convention, science fiction author Ray Bradbury joined a growing list of international writers and human rights activists in condemning the persecution of Cuba's Independent Library Project.

The American Library Association, or ALA, has ignored a request by imprisoned Cuban counterparts to demand leader Fidel Castro release them, but the author of "Fahrenheit 451" responded after viewing evidence of court-ordered book burning.

"I stand against any library or any librarian anywhere in the world being imprisoned or punished in any way for the books they circulate," Bradbury said. "I plead with Castro and his government to immediately take their hands off the independent librarians and release all those librarians in prison, and to send them back into Cuban culture to inform the people."

Seeking to stay out of internal politics, Bradbury did not make his comments during his ALA appearance. But he hopes the ALA will support him in his call for Castro to stop intimidating the independent library movement, which receives funding through congressionally-approved USAID and other agency grants.

As Walter notes in his piece, the Cuba resolution passed by ALA Council in January 2004 was a mealy mouthed compromise that failed to even call for the release of the imprisoned librarians. In addition, ALA has yet to acknowledge the Castro regime's destruction of books and other materials that it confiscated from the independent libraries. The section of the ALA web site that covers book burning doesn't even mention it.

I should point out, however, that ALA hasn't completely ignored events on the island of Cuba. The association's web page on book burning in the 21st century may not acknowledge the Cuban dictatorship's incineration of hundreds of books, but it does reference the five times that guards at Guantanamo mishandled the Koran. Nothing, of course, about the 15 instances in which imprisoned terrorists at Gitmo desecrated Korans. In short, ALA regards an American soldier who mishandles a book as more worthy of note than a communist despot who burns books.


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