June 17, 2013
June 12, 2013
Stephanie Hanes: Little girls or little women? The Disney princess effect
Fred Weir: In tweak to US, Russia would 'consider' asylum for Snowden
June 10, 2013
The Kosher Gourmet by Anjali Prasertong: A tart filling so good it might not make it to the crust
June 5, 2013
John Rosemond: Mom, Dad: Talk More and listen less
Egypt court sentences 43 pro-democracy workers to prison
June 3, 2013
Molly Hennessy-Fiske: Military judge to consider letting Fort Hood shooting defendant represent himself
May 29, 2013
Andrew Connelly and Helene Bienvenu: The Little Synagogue that Refused to Die
May 24, 2013
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb: When I didn't so 'humbly disagree'
May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
Jewish World Review
March 5, 2007
/ 15 Adar, 5767
American Library Association shamed
The American Library Association the largest organization of librarians in the world continually declares that it fights for everyone's "Freedom to Read!" and its Library Bill of Rights requires its members to "challenge censorship." Yet the leadership of the ALA not the rank and file insistently refuses to call for the immediate release of the independent librarians in Cuba designated as "prisoners of conscience" by Amnesty International. They are serving very long prison terms because they do believe in the freedom to read especially in a dictatorship.
Among the many organizations demanding that Fidel Castro and his successors release these courageous Cubans who have opened their homes and libraries to offer books censored in the Cuban state libraries are such groups as the library associations of the Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia and Poland. All these librarians, finally freed from Communism, agree with their colleagues in the Polish Library Association, who say in their declaration, "The actions of the Cuban authorities relate to the worst traditions of repressing the freedom of thought and expression."
Also calling for the liberation of Castro's many prisoners of conscience, including the librarians, are the Organization of American States, Amnesty International and Freedom House.
However, the top officials of the American Library Association as well as the majority of its Governing Council speak derisively of these "so-called librarians" in Castro's gulags.
It's true that these prisoners, many brutalized and in failing health, in their cells, don't have master's degrees in Library Science; but as poet-novelist-educator Andrei Codrescu told last year's ALA Midwinter Conference: "These people have been imprisoned for BEING librarians!" Why dismiss them "as 'so-called librarians' when clearly there is no one (in that dictatorship) to certify them."
So bizarre is the ALA leadership, along with a cadre of Castro admirers on the Governing Council in its abandonment of their fellow librarians it refuses to post on its "Book Burning in the 21st Century" Web site the extensive, documented court transcripts of the "trials" that sent the librarians to prison. Those judges ordered the "incineration" of the prisoners' libraries, including works by Martin Luther King Jr. and George Orwell's "Animal Farm."
But these sentencing documents are verified on the Web sites of Amnesty International, the organization of American States, and Florida State University's Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. Officials of the ALA conjuring up a fake conspiracy by the Bush administration to overthrow Castro by using the independent librarians disdain this verification of the book burnings. They insist, for example, that the Florida State University Web site is funded by grants from the U.S. government.
Yet, that Rule of Law and Cuba Web site project doesn't get a dime from the U.S. government. Says director Mark Schlakman: "We place a premium on our independence."
Recently, I left a long, non-adversarial, detailed message for the president of the ALA, Leslie Burger, director of the Princeton, N.J., public library. I asked for her reasons and the ALA's for this refusal of support for the imprisoned librarians. (Some are in cage-like enclosures.) I have received no response from her; but, indicating she will not speak to me, Michael Dowling, director of ALA's International Relations Office, fielded my call by referring me to the ALA's 2004 expression of "deep concern" for Castro's prisoners, which carefully omitted any mention of the independent librarians among them.
But, acting out of "a moral obligation," the small Vermillion, S.D., public library has made the independent Dulce Maria Loynaz Library in Havana a sister library sending books to it, including a collection of freedom writer Mark Twain. (Other libraries and readers around the world send books to the independent libraries.)
As for rank-and-file American librarians: In January 2006, American Libraries Direct an online newsletter of the ALA's own magazine, American Libraries published a poll of its members in which 70 percent answered "Yes" to the question: "Should ALA Council pass a resolution condemning the Cuban government for its imprisonment of dissident 'independent librarians'?"
A key ALA official, Judith Krug, heads its office of Intellectual Freedom. In my many years of reporting on the ALA's sterling record of protecting American librarians from censorship, I often quoted her in admiration. But now, she said at an ALA meeting about supporters of the caged librarians, "I've dug in my heels ... I refuse to be governed by people with an agenda." The Cuba issue, she continued, "wouldn't die," though she'd like to "drown it."
The agenda, Ms. Krug, is freedom. "Every burned book," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "illuminates the world." But ALA's leadership refuses to bring light to the cages of these Cuban prisoners of conscience. The ALA's membership booklet proclaims "the public's right (everywhere) to explore in their libraries many points of view on all questions and issues facing them."
An issue facing all members of the ALA is their leaders' shameful exception of the Cuban people's freedom to read.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of several books, including his current work, "The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance". Comment by clicking here.
Nat Hentoff Archives
© 2006, NEA
Richard Z. Chesnoff
Frank J. Gaffney
Victor Davis Hanson
A. Barton Hinkle
Judge A. Napolitano
Cokie & Steve Roberts
Debra J. Saunders
J. D. Crowe
David Ray Skinner
Ask Doctor K