Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Banning Books is Like Banning Thoughts


We urge other authors and publishers of banned book to write to the home ministry to ask for reasons on why their books have been banned.

Without communicating to the author or the publisher on any detailed explanation for its action, it will only make one wonder whether the authorities may have something to hide or that they are submitting themselves to unfathomable prejudices or that they have simply not yet read the book.

The joy of reading is a fundamental human right and we hope to get this message across. Books are important keystone for information and expression.

Books can feed the mind, nourish the soul, and promote positive change in individuals and society. Banning books is like banning thoughts – senseless and not to mention, dangerous.

Dr Hamidah Marican, executive director of Sisters in Islam, in Malaysiakini, following their victory in court.

And JAKIM has told Muslims to "stay away" from the book, Bernama reports, a position that makes me very angry indeed - for heaven's sake, let readers make up their own mind!

Wong Chin Huat at The Nut Graph writes an excellent piece on censorship and calls on Malaysians to become conscientious objectors in the face of book banning.
... what would have happened if the High Court upheld the Home Ministry's ban? ...
It could pose a call for Malaysians to be conscientious objectors. Imagine this: 30 persons reading a copy of the banned book — this could be easily done if someone scanned it into PDF format and others downloaded and printed it — in front of a bookshop in one of Klang Valley's major shopping malls.
Maybe next time, then?

2 comments:

kenwooi said...

now banning books as well? hmm..

kenwooi.com

Anonymous said...

Oh come now, and banning posts is not? Suppose I said :

"We urge blog posters to write to the blog owners to ask for reasons on why their posts have been banned.

Without communicating to the blog poster any detailed explanation for its action, it will only make one wonder whether the blog owners may have something to hide or that they are submitting themselves to unfathomable prejudices or that they have simply not yet read the post.

The joy of reading is a fundamental human right and we hope to get this message across. posts are important keystones for information and expression.

Posts can feed the mind, nourish the soul, and promote positive change in individuals and society. Banning posts is like banning thoughts – senseless and not to mention, dangerous."

How fast would that post get "moderated" ? :) what would happen to "for heaven's sake, let readers make up their own mind!" ? :)

If you really believed that, there would not be moderation in this blog. Because if you moderate, you are deciding for your readers what they would like to read (ie. making up their minds for them, not letting them make up their own mind.)

(side note : whoever wrote that should get a real PR person. How many spelling and grammar errors can you find? and here I though reading improved your command of the language.)

However, if you allowed this post to stand, it would make lots of people, normal people who don't believe in banning books, speak out against this post. That is why you would have to moderate it, because you want to preserve the peace and harmony of this blog.

Anyway, in most cases there IS a reason. They think it will disrupt harmony, cause riots, yada, yada, yada. It makes as much sense as bloggers banning posts for exactly the same reason.

As for :

"Imagine this: 30 persons reading a copy of the banned book — this could be easily done if someone scanned it into PDF format and others downloaded and printed it — in front of a bookshop in one of Klang Valley's major shopping malls."

Imagine this : one process server handing out a Cease and Desist Letter to each and every one of them. This is piracy and breach of copyright.

I know what you're thinking, we've had this discussion before and it's true, but then you've posted this post (or others like it) before as well.

Dylan Thomas is still right after all these years.