Two seemingly unrelated events took place in Crimea and Lviv in the last couple of days. Both saw crowds gather to do something with books other than read them. What else can be done to books besides reading? It’s called biblioclasm and it’s the bane of all bibliophiles.
The historical record on book destruction dates back to the Warring States period of Chinese history in the third century BC. But nearly every civilization and religion has been guilty of trashing tomes throughout history. And the practice continues to this day despite the warning issued way back in 1821 by German playwright Heinrich Heine: “Where they burn books, they will burn people.”
The Nazis are perhaps most famous for their burnings of works by “degenerate” authors. They reportedly compiled a list of 18,000 books deemed unfit on ideological grounds and were consequently set aflame in the 1930s and 1940s.
The Nazi approach of dealing with despicable texts was recreated by the Progressive Socialist Party (PSPU) in Crimea last week. The party, which claims to be anti-fascist, nevertheless resorted to very fascist tactics. Which is ironic given the history of this party’s collaboration with the FSB of Vladimir Putin’s Russia that celebrates victory in The Great Patriotic War every year.
On March 14, activists from the PSPU and the Proryv youth movement (name means 'Breakthrough!') gathered in Simferopol to barbecue Ukrainian history books written since the country declared independence from the Soviet Union nineteen years ago. Marching through the Crimean capital, they carried banners that read “Give our native Russian language state status” and “Yanukovych – Don’t sell out our goal: Union with Russia.” The photos show some of the demonstrators extending their right hands upwards and to the right – just like the Nazis used to. The history texts were brought in by wheelbarrow and burned with the statue of Lenin looking on in approval...
Simferopol, March 14, 2010 (unian.net)
A smaller crowd gathered in Lviv on March 15 to protest last week’s appointment of Dmytro Tabachnyk to the post of Minister of Education and Sciences of Ukraine. Tabachnyk, has in the past referred to people from Lviv and Halychyna as not real Ukrainians, is a hatemonger who, in his public speeches, books and newspapers articles, consistently pits one half of Ukraine against the other (east versus west – just like the FSB textbooks say). And despite his claims Tabachnyk spreads hate beyond election campaigns. Whoever appointed Tabachnyk knew full well that the reaction would be negative and was purposefully adding to fuel to the fire.
The fire in Lviv that was supposed to consume the books was never lit. The anti-Tabachnik activists gathered books that were voluntarily brought by city residents and instead said they will be recycled. So the books (only 13 were collected - Lenin, Karl Marx, Communist Party of the Soviet Union documents, Russian language text books and the History of the Great Patriotic War) were taken to the local recycling point and handed in for cash. Organizers (MNK Youth Nationalist Congress) did not say how many trees were saved by their protest that was arguably more Green Party than Nazi Party...
Lviv, March 15, 2010 (zik.com.ua)
Lviv, March 15, 2010 (zik.com.ua)
The million hryvnia question remains: Who is adding fuel to the fire and fanning the flames? The answer is probably the same to the question: Who want to see the Ukrainian state fail and split into multiple parts? It lies in a place where a new kind of fascism is in vogue. A place run by the same guy who said:
“You don't understand, George, that Ukraine is not even a state. What is Ukraine? Part of its territories is Eastern Europe, but the greater part is a gift from us.”
Crimea book burning: http://unian.net/ukr/news/news-367439.html
Lviv book recycling: http://zik.com.ua/ua/news/2010/03/15/220618
Read more about the guy who talked to George: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1900838,00.html#ixzz0iKoWZ5Cm