Let’s shine the camera on ourselves. 2020 is the year of cancelling. We might look at China with disgust and growing wariness of their geo-political agenda, but our own background is a growing mound of buried careers, reputations, and lives. We have long lost the will to disagree with other, even with passion. The mob demands destruction of any idea that is not representative of new morality and decency.
“As a young person, to already have the courage to face the pitiless glare, to overcome the fear of death, and to regain respect for death – this is the task of this young generation. And thus you do well in this midnight hour to commit to the flames the evil spirit of the past. This is a strong, great and symbolic deed – a deed which should document the following for the world to know”.
The above words formed part of a speech which was aimed at calling people to a return to morality and social decency. This address given to university students was of course delivered by Joseph Goebbels directly before one of the most infamous book burning scenes in history.
During the rise of Nazism in the 1930s, purging the population of dissenting ideas was seen as an essential step. The Säuberung or cleansing included destroying religious and political texts that didn’t conform to the new normal.
The destruction of books is as old as literature. Hate is a strong motivator, as is fear. To be honest, there are plenty of books that I believe are dangerous, and I’m happy to warn people about their messages. There is a vast difference though between informing people about a book’s content and removing those same volume’s from libraries and blowing their ashes into the wind.
The Age is tonight reporting,
“Books by prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy figures have become unavailable in the Chinese-ruled city’s public libraries, days after Beijing introduced sweeping national security legislation, according to online records and one activist.”
A search for books by young activist Joshua Wong or pro-democracy politician Tanya Chan on the public libraries website showed the books, including Unfree Speech, co-authored by Wong, either unavailable or under review.
“The national security law … imposes a mainland-style censorship regime upon this international financial city,” Wong tweeted on Saturday, adding his titles “are now prone to book censorship.”
…It is unclear how many books are under review. Two titles by Chinese Nobel Peace Prize-winning political dissident Liu Xiaobo were still available, according to the online”
This isn’t the first attempt by the Chinese Government to eradicate writings that don’t support the State’s unbending ideologies.