Thursday, September 29, 2011

Banned? I'll show you banned.

It is again Banned Books Week, that special time of year in which librarians celebrate the freedom to read by bitching about conservative parents who complain about the books in their local school library. Rather than focusing on high profile yet largely ineffective complaints, let's take a few minutes to read about real censorship, shall we?

For instance, this journalist in Eritrea is in hiding so he won't end up in a prison camp like his colleagues.

Journalists in Iran are forced to self-censor everything they publish.

A 2008 ban of "subversive" books in South Korea was upheld last year.

This writer was imprisoned for 4 years after writing a poem about the Tiananmen Square massacre. He has fled China and just recently spoke in the US for the first time about his experiences.

Another Chinese author, now living in Great Britain, just learned he isn't even allowed to visit his home country:

The Da Vinci Code was banned in Lebanon and now they can't have Lady Gaga's most recent album either.

Don't these stories make you feel a little silly for the hubbub about Twenty Boy Summer?

It's tempting to complain about the continued injustice of And Tango Makes Three being pulled from the shelves of elementary schools everywhere, but these articles should put our problems in perspective. Maybe we should spend Banned Books Week feeling grateful for what we have, rather than focusing on small isolated cases of perceived injustice.

Have you read any other interesting news stories about censorship recently? Please share them


Kevin said...

The Malaysian government has banned comic books by the cartoonist Zunar:

3goodrats said...

That guy is pretty awesome: "The government will have to stop imports of black ink if they want to stop me." Thanks for sharing!