Wednesday, September 28, 2011

In Celebration of Banned Books Week

I wanted to post something for banned books week, but what else is there to say? In the United States, banned books are big news. Anyone with even a remote interest in the subject of books seems to post about this topic.

A different kind of blog post earlier this week caught my eye. It was written about a woman in India:
"My post on Banned Books Week, and why we don't have it in India": 

It reminded me of the importance of this day and what it means to Americans. I thought perhaps I'd approach the topic from an International angle. I am thankful to the author for sharing her very interesting views.

Then I found this article:
A comeback for banned books in Indonesia: After chasing out former President Ben Ali and his Family, Tunisians can't stop reading about them

This provided more reminders about the freedoms we enjoy in my country.

But, it was an American article that made me decide just to reiterate my opposition to censorship rather than seeking another clever angle. Banned Books Week, 5 Books Almost Anyone Would Ban: Even Ardent Opponents of Censorship Could Hesitate When It Comes to Titles Like These. I opened the page with some excitement. I thought maybe indeed here was a new angle -- Books that I would actually want to ban. Here's the let down, I did not even hesitate despite the article's title.  An argument that comes up again and again for those who want to ban books is that these books are so awful that they are "seriously taboo" topics and no one should read them.

The first book listed was Mein Kampf and my bubble was burst right off the bat. As the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, I most certainly want this book to be available and read. I want people to know about the history of the Holocaust and why it occurred. I think the same should be said of number 2, which is Osama bin Laden's "Messages to the World." 3,4 and 5 are also terrible, but should not be banned. Banning something terrible doesn't make it go away. It just makes us less able to deal with the issues when the ideas it spews come up again in the future.

So, I guess I really have nothing new to add to this argument. It will keep coming up again and again. And though I have nothing new to add, it bears repeating over and over so we never forget why we celebrate "Banned Books Week." I have been verbally attacked for my views on this issue. I suspect that this posting may encourage new comments arguing against my views. Please, before you comment negatively, please read here and here. Feel free to reword what has been said because it has indeed all been said before. Don't expect that you will change my mind.

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