All Hail Warrior Librarians

June 30th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Words are dangerous, dangerous things. Access to words can lead to the one thing oppressors hate most: thinking. A thoughtful, questioning populace is the most dangerous threat a dictator can face. In times of fear, cutting off access to words becomes the weapon of choice.

In Cuba, though largely underreported by the media, librarians are on the front lines of the thought wars. Jailed for promoting dangerousness (heck, jailed for attending conferences). Subjected to seizure of their entire book collections. Forced to live with the knowledge that books are being burned. These are the actions of a government living in fear.

While we don’t believe it’s fair to say that U.S. librarians are ignoring their counterparts in Cuba, we do think it’s fair to say that the ALA should make a stronger statement against what’s happening to librarians in Cuba. Even more so, it would be wonderful if the media picked up on this story. And perhaps it will, as more prominent voices such as Ray Bradbury begin calling for action:

“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.”

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