Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen. (Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.) –Heinrich Heine
“NYPD destroyed 5,000 books at #occupy library, as well as tent donated by author and performer Patti Smith, which had been used to protect those books. The image of NYPD officers destroying books – tearing down a library – is one which should spark outrage around the world.” (source)
No matter where one stands on matters political, for book lovers and champions of learning and knowledge (as we believe all our wonderful customers and friends to be), there are few things as regrettable as the unnecessary destruction of libraries and the precious words they contain. Would this country have achieved the vibrancy of its democracy without those sparks to the heart and intellect that books represent? When we speak of free speech, do we believe that citizens can truly be free without unhindered circulation of ideas and undertakings, new and old–protected and presented to the public, one and all?
The past couple of months have been amazingly turbulent in the political sphere, with the Occupy Wall Street movement sprouting up in cities and towns here and across the globe; without getting too embroiled in potentially controversial declarations, I’ll simply note that democracy begins in the mind of every free person, and surely won’t be curtailed by the shuttering of a single park. As long as we (and I do mean the global, all-encompassing “we”) continue to believe that any person has the potential to make positive change in the life of our society, greed and oppression will never triumph.