Thursday, October 13, 2005

Castro's Book Burning: Part II

Today, FrontPage Magazine published Part II of Walter Skold's four part series on ALA's indifferent response to the repression of intellectual freedom in Cuba:

On June 27th, the esteemed author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradury, was the keynote speaker at the ALA’s annual convention in Chicago. As a vocal advocate for reading and intellectual freedom, the ALA is usually able to present several nationally-acclaimed authors at their conventions, and it was a coup for them to have Bradury. On the day he spoke he made a forceful statement regarding book-burning in Cuba, but ALA membership never heard about that from their leaders.

Not wanting to enter into the internal politics of the ALA, and desiring to speak only for himself, Bradbury released his statement to famed civil-libertarian, Nat Hentoff, later that day. In the story I wrote for World Net Daily the 28th, I discussed what the literary icon said:

“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."

You would think such a strong statement from the man whose name is synonymous with book-burning would have inspired his ALA hosts to support his principled stand, but then you wouldn’t know how the ALA nomenklatura thinks about Cuba. When I called and asked for a comment from the leading intellectual freedom officials there, they could not be found for two days and all I got was a press office e-mail which reiterated a January 2004 policy report, which, I was reminded, was crafted as a "result of almost a year of discussion and investigation."

Castro's Library Pass (Part II)


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