Friday, January 16, 2004

re: Who needs free speech when you have the revolution? 

I've found a new Ann to despise:
As I've written, Castro's locking away of these dissidents, including the independent librarians, has caused considerable debate within the American Library Association. On December 9, one of Castro's defenders, Ann Sparanese, a member of the policy-making council of the ALA, sent a letter to her colleagues on the council, in which she wrote:

"Despite the fact that we as librarians prize them highly, political rights—for instance, intellectual freedom—is only one of a constellation of human rights, some of which Cuba respects in greater measure than the United States." Among those, she added, was "universal, free education."
Being faced with such a brilliant mind I decided to learn more about Ms. Ann Sparanese. Here's what google found:
You may know Sparanese's name because Michael Moore says she saved his book, Stupid White Men, which his publisher refused to release because it was critical of George W. Bush. The publisher disputes that this is the reason the book was finally distributed, but when Sparanese raised the alarm, librarians swamped the company with complaints and orders. Sparanese sees this as proof that librarians can fight back—and win—against the squashing of dissent.

She thinks librarians' commitment to free expression is needed now above all, because the USA PATRIOT Act has "put libraries in the crosshairs of its new homeland security policies. It is clearly a time…for small and large acts of resistance to the erosion of our rights."
Or how about this mind-numbing response to Nat Hentoff's piece:
Mr. Hentoff -- hardly a human rights guru in my book -- is a prominent man with a strong opinion. But lest we forget: immediately before our Annual conference in Toronto, and on the day it began, we were the subject of an organized media campaign including Mr. Hentoff -- to pressure us to pass a resolution against Cuba. Articles appeared initially in the Washington Times (ho-hum), but then the Wall Street Journal, the NY Times and some other more mainstream press. I suspect that Mr. Hentoff’s article might be the opening salvo for a similar attempt to embarrass ALA into doing “something” about Cuba in San Diego. That has been the strategy of Mr. Kent’s group in the past and it will remain so.

But rather than being a “shameful silence” on Cuba, ALA’s position thus far has demonstrated an extraordinary resistance to being drawn into a situation which is not easy to decipher, despite its simplistic characterization by Hentoff and others. ALA has shown intelligence in trying to independently investigate where the truth (or truths) lie, something neither Mr. Hentoff or IFLA have attempted.

Karen, it isn’t that Mr. Kent’s posts are just “obnoxious.” They are part of a very smart, well-financed, well-connected and relentless strategy to get the ALA involved in an important U.S. foreign policy offensive. If you think not, then you don’t know history. We have resisted thus far because it has smelled a little fishy all along. In Toronto, Kent finally admitted to the LJ reporter that his “Friends of Cuban Librarians” receives government funds. Why do you suppose that is and what funds might those be? (Emphasis my own)
That's right. Before we send in the Marines, the CIA, or the black helicopters, we mobilize the vast political power of the American Library Association!

And it just goes on like that folks:
Suppose the shoe was on the other foot and *we* were the small country being overwhelmed by money from a huge nation determined to change our political and economic system by any means necessary. Would we not have the right to defend ourselves?
Apparently not, since Ms. Sparanese opposes the PATRIOT ACT and, I can only assume, everything else the Bush administration has done in the war on terror.

MORE: I found this website which contains a ton of discussion on the Library/Cuba subject. It appears to be some sort of archive.
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