The US wants to be first everywhere: from the fight against terrorism to new ways of solving the problems of bankrupt companies. However, these new ways have once again shown the old truth that there is nothing new under the sun, but there are some things that should be forgotten.
This time, the country that is so proud of its democracy decided to use the methods of Nazi Germany. On March 11th, in Washington, it was decided to burn over 2 million books, Russian classics such as Pushkin, Dostoyevsky. Yes, to burn. The books belonged to Viktor Kamkin’s Shop, which was the largest store selling Russian literature for the last 50 years in Washington. However, because of the drop in demand, the company was declared bankrupt. Therefore, all books that were not sold were to be destroyed. According to RIA ‘Novosti, only thanks to the Washington Post and the help of Democratic congressman of Maryland Constanza, the burning of books was averted. However, this is only a temporary delay; for the time being, the books are in a police warehouse. Therefore, the classical works still have a chance to be burned. Of course, one could find drawing analogies with Nazi Germany to be inappropriate. For, in the 1930s, Hitler’s thugs organized book burnings for political demonstrations as a way to fight against idelogical pollution, while, here, everything is clear: the shop is bankrupt and a part of its goods has not been sold, so the books must be annihilated. However, in this way, any savagery can be justified. It is not important whether the reason is economic advisability or the fight against an alien influence upon the nation. In general, who can guarantee to Americans that while annihilating today the bankrupt shop’s books one will not annihilate the works of writers and philosophers criticizing the social, political, or economic life of the US?
Of course, there are many people in the US who were shocked with the idea of using books in this way. However, there are not enough of them to buy 2 million Russian books. Americans do not read much, so their treatment of books is different from what Russians are accustomed to. Well, Lev Tolstoy is not Steven King; however, is it possible that in such a rich country there is no money to buy these books for libraries and literary foundations?
What is happening in the US is, of course, an internal affair of the US. Americans themselves should settle this problem for their own interests. Otherwise, their criticism of countries for violating human rights is worth nothing.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/11/38088.html