Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More on "Three Wishes" by Deborah Ellis

In Canada, we have seen pressure from the Canadian Jewish Congress to limit children's access to Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak by Deborah Ellis. Her book has been restricted by the Toronto and York school boards which pulled the book from their reading programs. The Ontario Library Association chose this book for its Silver Birch reading program which encourages children in Grades 4 to 6 to read independently.

A comment was made to me that Bradbury had it right when he saw that the threat to books and information would come not from the top, from some sort of Big Brother government but from below from special interest groups. That is the gist of Fahrenheit 451. Captain Beatty says,

"It didn't come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals."

So whether it is the Canadian Jewish Congress or another minority group with issues around what is being published, our society needs to be wary of the balance between political correctness and allowing minority groups to control what is available to the whole of society.

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