Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A leaf from George Orwell's "1984?"

That is Joe Crankshaw's assessment of the Miami-Dade School Board's decision to remove "Vamos a Cuba" ("A Visit to Cuba") from their school district's libraries (along with 24 other titles depicting life in other countries).

Crankshaw identifies the anti-Castro political agenda that has cause the removal of this book and warns of the long-term consequences of this kind of thinking.
Now the battle against Castro is being waged on the field of ideas, and the methods being used mirror the straitjacket control of thought in Communist countries. In other words, the champions of democracy and free thought don't want it for any view but their own. The risk is they could become dictators just like Castro.

Yesterday, according to a Reuters report, a federal court judge the ban lifted. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit against the Miami-Dade School Board on June 21, 2006. The ACLU says this marks the first major battle over book censorship by a US public school system since 1982.
Lawyers for the ACLU do not dispute critics’ claims that the book, with its pictures of smiling children, fails to depict many aspects of life in Cuba. But they argued at a hearing in Judge Gold’s courtroom last Friday that the book and its content were appropriate for its target audience of children aged 5 to 7.

U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold ordered the book returned to libraries until a final ruling is made. According to Gold,
The only books in contention in this case are library books, books that are by their nature optional rather than required reading. By totally banning the Cuba books and the rest of the series, the school board is in fact prohibiting even the voluntary consideration of the themes contained in the books by students at their leisure. This goes to the heart of the First Amendment issue.

The ACLU argued that the book ban violated the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech, and defied a US law prohibiting censorship.

No comments: