FranceSoir, 13 September, 2021
What do the woke brigade, the Taliban and the Nazis have in common? The burning of books.
On May 10, 1933, at the stroke of midnight, a few months after Hitler's ascent to power, the Union of German National Socialist Students, supervised by SA, engaged in a gigantic "bonfire", burning all works deemed harmful to the moral health of the Germans. This cleverly staged auto-da-fé in front of the Berlin Opera House and 21 other German cities, was broadcast live by radio and filmed for film news.
23 years ago, on August 12th, 1998, 55,000 volumes in Afghanistan's finest public library were burned by the Taliban. In this jewel of the Nasser Khosrow foundation, ten centuries old manuscripts in the Persian language, alongside works in English, Arabic or Pashtun. The most valuable manuscript was a twelfth-century version of the Book of Kings, the Shahnameh, by Ferdowsi (932-1020) which recounts the founding myths of Persian culture.
Two years later, in the winter of 2000-2001, the Taliban would attack the Buddhas of Bamiyan by dynamiting them. These monumental rock-hewn statues, a symbol of the spread of Mahayana Buddhism in a remote region of Afghanistan, were among Afghanistan's finest cultural heritage. Then came the axe-weilding destruction of the antiquities of the Kabul museum, depriving the country of the vestiges of its past.
If in the West, it was thought that this would never happen again, the oikophobia that has been developing over the past few years has revealed a civilization that has stopped believing in itself, and is constantly denigrating the values that it no longer wants to defend. The culture that has been handed down to us from ancient times is increasingly being rejected. This rejection, which was expressed in words only a decade ago, has since given way to acts of violence, led by activists driven by cultural self-hatred.
The auto-da-fé in southwestern Ontario is a powerful representation of these new acts of destruction of our cultural heritage.
What actually happened? A school board made up of people who claim to be a “cancel culture” has set out to burn 5,000 children's books on Native people. The fireworks took place in the libraries of the Providence Catholic School Board, which is made up of 30 French-language schools. Comics, novels and encyclopedias, considered potent symbols of Western intolerance, ended up in bonfires.
The purpose of this act is explained to us by Lyne Cossette, spokesperson for the school board: “It is a gesture of reconciliation with the First Nations, and a gesture of openness towards the other communities present in the school and our society'. The reason for the withdrawal: "outdated and inappropriate content".
Who decided what should be destroyed? A committee of school board members and Native chaperones analysed hundreds of books, while the Ontario Ministry of Education participated in the act but not in the selection of books.
Introducing herself as "the guardian of knowledge" (thus soothing our doubts) Suzy Kies, co-producer of the video of this autodafé, explained the criteria for the choice of books to be destroyed: native characters who were "unreliable, lazy, drunk, stupid ...". She explained that she intends to protect young people from this kind of image. It is easy to understand the ideal of purity that possesses this lady and all those who approved of these acts. As in the worst totalitarian regimes, she cannot tolerate people with disabilities and instead extols "positive" values.
"We start by burning books, we end with people" wrote the great Dutch humanist Erasmus [it was really the poet Heinrich Heine]
If this kind of idea were to catch on, all of Western culture could go through it. But this furious passion to forbid or destroy has already been gaining ground for some time. Between the plays that were banned, the paintings that were removed and the statues that were destroyed, the last few years have been marked by acts of unheard-of violence. The temporary kidnapping of part of the troupe which was to play in the play Les Suppliantes by Aeschylus, gives an idea of what certain individuals are capable of doing in the name of good, in the name of an anti-fascism which is beginning to impose its new dictates.
Visionary, writer-filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote in Lutheran Letters: "Fascism can come back on the scene as long as it is called anti-fascism." With woke culture, Pasolini's prophecy seems to have come true.
Translation; Daviod Montoute