Monday, October 30, 2006

Sniff, sniff… Smells like a book burning!

Two weeks ago, a thousand books from the local public library were burned in a town called Maria Grande in Argentina. The books were apparently discarded and the order to burn them was issued by the local government. The neighbors, however, claimed that the books had historic and cultural value and they rescued 400 of the books. This unfortunate episode brings to mind similar incidents through history where books were burned around the world under different circumstances.

Books have been set afire mainly because of moral, political, and religious reasons. Usually, the books that get burned are considered heretical, blasphemous, subversive, obscene and/or immoral by different social groups. The book burnings serve as a tool to impose censorship and to limit freedom of expression.

An example of a notable book burning in history is the one in Germany in 1933 when about 20,000 “un-German” books were thrown in to a big fire set by the Nazis with the purpose of cleaning the German culture. A more recent event happened in 2000 at the University of California Berkeley, where protesters burned books by Dan Flynn to manifest their opposition to the author’s ideas. Book burnings can be found since the beginning of history around the world; if you want to find out more information about this topic check out the following resources:

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