Unless correspondents ask us not to, this Website will post selected letters that it receives and invite open debate.
Niall McNamara writes from Dublin, Ireland, on Thursday, May 11, 2000
THE American Library Association (ALA) has a policy of promoting freedom of intellectual thought. Each year it has a Banned Books week to promote books suppressed by powerful interests.
In 1999 part of their statement read:
When books are challenged, restricted, removed, or banned, an atmosphere of suppression exists. The author may make revisions, less for artistic reasons than to avoid controversy. The editor and publisher may alter text or elect not to publish for economic and marketing reasons. Staff in bookstores and libraries may find published works too controversial and, fearing reprisals, will choose not to purchase those materials. The fear of the consequences of censorship is as damaging as, or perhaps more damaging than, the actual censorship attempt. After all, when a published work is banned, it can usually be found elsewhere. Unexpressed ideas, unpublished works, unpurchased books are lost forever.
--1999 Resource Guide.
Canada may well have subscribed to the same policy. If so, is the Canadian Library Association honouring their commitment? Only the enemies of free speech would want intellectual material banned and use threats to attain their objective, as we have been witnessing for some years now.
Regards, Niall McNamara
I WONDER why the ALA has so far failed to protest at (a) the St Martin's Press decision to suppress publication of my book Goebbels. Mastermind of the Third Reich; and (b) attempts by organisations like the Board of Deputies of British Jews to pressure libraries around the world to withdraw my books from their shelves, including those published by the world's most famous publishers. Perhaps, like Boxer the horse in George Orwell's Animal Farm, we have failed to notice the "small print" in the ALA's statement of principles. Roughly, "Certain restrictions apply. . ."