What’s Read, Black, and Blue? :BB Week #3
As a former librarian (who am I kidding-I’m forever a librarian at heart), I embrace books. Reading them, writing them, discussing them, critiquing them, promoting them, yet being beaten up, imprisoned, or possibly dying for them is as they say, “I don’ t remember this being in the job description.”
The following is a reblog which originally came to my attention by way of my fab librarian cohort in all things bookish (shout out to ET). Although Banned Book Week is focused on books, it is important to remember librarians are the ones who put the books on the shelves so we can get them in our hands, hearts, and minds. I salute those brave Cuban librarians, as well as all librarians who face adversity while trying to protect intellectual freedom.
Here is a partial of the Cuban librarian post and you can click on the link to read more:
Kindle Users Arrested
HAVANA, Aug. 24, 2012 (Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez/Hablemos Press) – On Friday the Cuban secret police pursued and arrested librarians who had attended a technology workshop at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.
[Note by the Friends of Cuban Libraries: the Obama administration recently enacted a program to donate hi-tech equipment such as Kindle e-book readers to Cuba’s independent librarians and other activists. This move greatly expands Cubans’ access to banned materials and evades the occasional seizure of bulky printed materials carried in the luggage of volunteers arriving at Cuban airports.]
The arrests occurred in the streets adjacent to the Interests Section when the librarians, about 20 in number, were returning to their homes.
“The workshop in which we were participating was on how to use an Amazon Kindle,” commented Lázara Mijan, who was able to escape the police roundup, together with Magaly Norvis Otero and Julio Beltrán.
Among the detainees are Juan Antonio Madrazo Luna, Julio Rojas Portal and Mario Echevarría Driggs. Two Kindles were confiscated from each of the latter two persons, in addition to cameras, personal documents and user manuals for the Kindle DX….
“The police operation was big, very big. Many State Security agents were scattered in Ladas [Soviet-era cars] and motorcycles everywhere in the streets near the Interests Section; it was a miracle that some of the librarians were able to evade arrest,” said Driggs, after he was released from custody….
The Cuban regime classifies the independent librarians and dissidents as counterrevolutionaries at the service of the U.S. government. In 2003, more than 20 librarians were arrested and sentenced to prison terms of between 5 and 20 years, and their library collections were confiscated and burned.