Friday, September 10, 2010


I’ve seen monuments in many places. One of the most chilling is in Berlin, underground in a large square. As it is covered with glass bricks people can walk over it and stare down into it. It consists of book shelves. Empty!

It is the site of the book burning of the Third Reich.

As a book lover I deplore their burning. Surprisingly this is less about the destruction of the book than about its implications. Burning books is a step along the way to burning people for their ideas, beliefs or activities. It is the exact opposite of civilisation.

I know it’s happened through the ages. I only learnt yesterday that British troops in the 19th century burnt books in Maori that they uncovered. Nothing to be proud of or pleased about.

So I am appalled to find that a Florida religious fascist fanatic plans to burn 50 Koran on 9/11. I have no excuse for the fanatics who flew those planes that destroyed the lives of ordinary people. But in the name of Jesus who urges forgiveness to act in a manner that’s going to inflame Muslim fervour..Somebody from that faith will burn a 100 Bibles. And the fat will really be in the fire. The poor planet and its peoples. Two wrongs do not make a right.

Do not burn books I say. It’s a waste of time. It will not stop ideas. It will not stop evil. It will not enhance righteousness. And the innocent will suffer.

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