To me the idea of even throwing away a book seems extremely distasteful, let alone the pssibility of burning it or converting it into pulp. In the last month there have been reports in Venezuela of how the former Governor of Miranda State, now Minister of Infrastructure and Hosuing, Diosdado Cabello, sold library books to turn them into paper pulp and shut down libraries as the space was needed for other purposes. (El Nacional March 14th. 2009 page Caracas 3, El Nacional March 18th. 2009, page Caracas 3, El Nacional March 21, 2009, page Caracas 3 2009))
It turns out that the destruction of the books was done for “ideological reasons”, according to the President of the Library System of Miranda State.
This ideological cleansing was performed with some planning, eliminating for example, texts that had to do with the “Empire” (i.e. The U.S. of A.). Then this intellectual promoter of the revolution gives one such example (I am not making this up!):
“For example, children’s books which have snow in them“
Jeez, while it is true that snow may not be part of the everyday life of Venezuelans, it not only exists in the country, but you can play with it and even make snowmen and make sexy snow women, riding a motorcycle, as demonstrated in this picture taken in Merida, Venezuela:
Because let’s try to understand this a little better. Snow is a type of precipitation, which occurs whenever certain atmospheric conditions are present. It is not exclusive to the US, they see it in Russia, China and North Korea, to name a few. Thus, the principle seems to be here to remove anything that comes from nature, which at the same time is not part of the daily reality or perception of Venezuelan kids, giving priority to those “revolutionary” concepts that are. And clearly, its national origin its not critical, as in the case of snow.
It would then seem to me, that there are many other items that should be banned then, that qualify even better than snow, given that at least some fraction of the country’s can see, touch and play with snow. (Even if the distinguished revolutionary librarian of Miranda State is not)
Let’s take electrons for example. This subatomic particle is as foreign as can be to a Venezuelan. It has charge and mass, but because of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, you can’t see it. You can only infer that it exists. Even worse, this ideologically incorrect particle was first detected by a British scientist by the name of Thomson and its charge measured by, imagine that, an American by the name of Millikan.
Thus, I see no reason, why the electron should be present in any Venezuelan library. If snow is banned, electrons should have been banned long ago! After all, the number of Venezuelan who can say they have performed the necessary steps to believe that an electron exists, is much smaller than those that have seen snow, here or abroad. (I have inferred electrons in my lifetime both here and abroad, but I am a privileged oligarch, I guess)
Then, we could ban anther pernicious non-revolutionary concept, which is clearly not ideologically pure, but obviously superfluous: World Geography. And the esteemed leader of the Miranda State Library system is the best proof of this. If she had not wasted so much time learning where the Empire is located, she could have learned more of our own geography and know that there is snow in the Venezuelan Andes.(Or there are Andes, for that matter) She could have a stronger national identity, more ideologically pure, without having to learn all of the foreign places and locations, that she should not even be interested in visiting or knowing. No?
Then, we should ban strange animals and book with weird animals, which Venezuelans are as likely to ever see, as an electron. Take the Aardvark, for example, I don’t even know if in Spanish the name is the same. Or the Komodo Dragon, because once Geography is banned, Indonesia would also be out of the books, so it would make little sense to talk about that dragon.
And then, of course, let’s ban all books and films that mention penguins! If you don’t know about snow, why would you care about this silly imperialistic animal, that invades us via their March that the average Venezuelan, whether adult or kid, should not care about. Let alone happy feet, a movie abut this animal which is in a state of constant happiness and exhilaration, something which is simply not part of the revolution or revolutionary. Just look at Chavez! Diosdado! Jesse! Jorge! Jose Vicente! Tibisay! Any of the leaders! Mostly gloomy, all the time. And to top it all off, the stupid penguin lives and sleeps in snow! Which we already banned.
I could go on, but you get the picture. There is a lot of work to be done, we have to start committees, communal organizations, create an open software database, have the National Assembly investigate. So many other things to be banned in order to make the revolution and the country ideologically pure.
(Thanks to GSB and my respect to Beatriz W. De Rittigstein for her excellent article)