Saturday, October 04, 2008

Banned Books Week--Why does it matter?

I've posted this week on banned or challenged books. Truth is, we should keep them in mind throughout the year.

When you look through the ages at people who take over a society, they usually try to supress ideas. Books are a good expression of ideas, so those people go after books right away. I know I've heard about the Nazis burning books. The best way to keep an idea down is to destroy it. Book burning is a physical demonstration of that. And it's the ultimate way of banning.

Noam Chomsky had a quote I really liked: “If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.” ALA's website

Freedom of expression isn't a right. It's something we are granted and constantly have to keep fighting to keep. Each slide down the slippery slope means a loss of freedom and an ideal. And who knows where that slope ends. Today, it's a religious book you don't agree with. Tomorrow, it could be your religion they come after.

I had a book taken out of school library when I was in high school. Salem's Lot by Stephen King. I've never forgotten it. If I didn't disagree with book banning and challenges before that, I definitely did after that.

So every day of the year, remember to celebrate freedom of speech. Read books.



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