Sunday, December 03, 2006

Advocates for Cuban Librarians

One of the main arguments used by those American librarians opposed to taking a stand in defense of independent Cuban librarians is that the latter have received money from the US government, thus making them foreign agents. However, as Steve Marquardt points out in a great post at Freadom, numerous organizations that are less than enthusiastic about the Bush Administration have condemned the imprisonment of these librarians and demanded their release. As Steve puts it:

However, the international human rights groups listed below, who are certainly aware of U.S. funding for democracy efforts abroad, don't buy that reasoning. Why does the library community swallow and regurgitate that line? Is there some secret information that has yet to come to light but is known by only our colleague information professionals? Has the U.S. government bought off or blackmailed all of the following HR bodies?

I'd be interested in any answers that others may supply.

The only answer I can supply is that there are some in our profession who are willing to sacrifice intellectual freedom on the altar of radical politics. For many of the PLG types, intellectual freedom is a tool for bringing down "the system", not a principle to be applied across the board. Factor in the bizarre Fidel worship that still afflicts many on the far left, and you get a willingness to apologize for almost anything the Castro regime does to repress free expression. As Mark Rosenzweig once said, "(w)e cannot presume that all countries are capable of the same level of intellectual freedom that we have in the U.S.". If Cubans can't handle intellectual freedom without becoming tools of Yankee inperialism, then the Cuban regime is justified in arresting independent librarians. This instrumental attitude towards one of the key principles of our profession has done a great deal of damage to ALA's credibility on intellectual freedom issues.


Post a Comment

<< Home