Friday, September 10, 2010

A Book is for Reading not for Burning

After the Islamic revolution, the zealot revolutionaries, ransacked Shapour Bakhtiar's home and destroyed all his books from his extensive library by burning them. Years later one of those zealots who had ransacked Bakhtiar's home, fled the Islamic Republic and seeked asylum in Paris. Repentant by what he had previously taken part in, he contacted Dr. Bakhtiar to express remorse and seek his forgiveness. Dr. Bakhtiar had replied "If you want forgiveness from me, all you have to do is read some of the books you destroyed"


I remember watching books being torn and set alight during the "cultural revolution" in Iran. It was a defining moment in my life. The horror of watching ignorant illiterate zealots destroy books was a horrifying experience. 


Those who kiss a book and those who burn books only show their ignorance. A book is for reading, you may like it or you may not like it but reading the book is the only way to treat a book.

13 comments:

Waybec said...

Yep, Hitler burnt books, and the great library of Alexandria got razed to the ground! Had it survived mankind might well have enjoying knowledge and technology currently centuries far ahead of ours. Just think about it? Cancer and other diseases possibly cured. Global warming unheard of. A better understanding to tackle the planet's problems in harmony with our current population. But hey - it's said that Alexandria was destroyed by Roman, Christian and Moslem parties. The pride of an empire coupled with the self-righteous bigoted battles of relgion. Huh, where have I head that before recently? So yep! With every book we burn we set back the positive tolerant conscience of the human species. And with every book we burn we are also damned and doomed to repeat the miserable, negative and hellish lessons of history.

Hidden Author said...

Yes but if people are trying to kill you or oppress you because of the ideas that are in a book, how do you show your disrespect for those ideas? Or should respect even those books that advocate our demise?

P.S. I am assuming you are talking about the burning of the Quran. If you are, I would say that while most Muslims are peaceful, the terrorists feel that people must die because their book says so. And how do you react to that?

Anonymous said...

It seems everyone has a very emotional response to this. Either because they are emotionally attached to the religion which is being offended or because they value books in general.
I am sticking to my case and am claiming that with a little less emotions and a bit of perspective no one should take it to heart or even be bothered by it more than a second and instead be rather worried about the disappearing freedom of expression.
He didn't steal the Qurans. He bought them. They were his property. And there are billions left accessible to anyone who wishes to read one, so it can't really be paralleled with what you are describing.
As for those who feel their religion is being insulted I would just say this: Cows are sacred to Hindus - do you ever think about how they feel when you eat them? I can tell you how they feel - bad. So what? The PETA nutters even feel bad when Obama kills a fly.
Everyone is insulting someone's belief in this world just by being what they are. Stop being so goddamn sensitive and fight for freedom! If we lose that, we lose much more than a copy of a book.

Rene said...

I don't know what the big deal is. Muslims burned korans too, if they're worn out, or if it conflicts with their versions. down through history.

Azarmehr said...

@Hidden Author: You discuss the writings in the book and back up your arguments for and against. Nothing good will be achieved from burning any book

Azarmehr said...

@anonymous: One can argue that by killing a cow, some good is achieved, a hungry stomach is filled, or a leather hand bag is made. I fail to see ANY good achieved by burning any book!

Anonymous said...

So if he used it for his barbecue to grill a beef stake, would that make it alright then? Students burn their books after the exams all the time. No one ever raised a voice against it.

You don't have to see any good in burning the Quran. The good is in the fact that he has the right to do so - a right laid down in the First Amendment which used to be regarded as one of the most important values of American society. Not anymore apparently as Obama can now call such an act being against all American values, reducing the range of "American values" to hypocritical respect for religions.

"if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable." These are the words of Judge Brennan in Texas v Johnson which was about the burning of the American flag.

The government should not have gotten involved in the issue the way it did. And from this being a silly pastor with a silly idea, everything got blown out of proportion, the whole world is offended and death threats are flying around like the burnt pages of that book would. Only they won't of course. Cos everyone gave into fear.
When I ask people what the green movement stands for - I usually get the reply that freedom of expression is the only common goal of this movement. These past few days seeing all the outrage against this silly little act, makes me wonder if people in the green movement even understand what freedom of expression is.
You have to fight your own emotions to achieve true freedom. Be it in society or inside yourself.
Please think about it dear Potkin

Mehrtash said...

Anonymous (PF) - I see you have been posting your concerns here too.

Freedom is not under attack when the world unites against a heinous act of aggression and fanaticism - just as much as Reverend Jones has the right to be ignorant and malicious, the rest of us have the right to oppose and disagree with him.

For your information, he did not proceed with burning the Qurans in which he 'bought' either. Apparently he had a meeting with an Islamic Cleric and emerged convinced that it was not constructive to burn them.

Potkin, as much as it pains me to applaud you, credit where it is due - "A book is for reading...reading the book is the only way to treat a book" - Couldn't agree more.

Louise said...

"Nothing good will be achieved from burning any book"

But it does send a powerful message.

Esther said...

yessssss...all books should be read - never burned. If people would take a little time to stop a while and read a book instead of a tabloid...how amazing that would be.........of course we may consider a few might just be better off left to gather dust or to prop a door open but that's kind of subjective...

Disappointed Atheist said...

A little ignorant of you to call those who kiss a book ignorant. There are millions of Muslims that will take offence to your ignorant post even though you had their support.

Anonymous said...

Never heard so much bullocks before. cyrus

Lirun said...

:)