6.17.2005

a library, of all places

Oops, I almost forgot an important follow-up. Naomi Klein and Aaron Mate decried a Montreal library's decision to remove some photographs by Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photojournalist who was tortured to death in Iran, after some Jewish groups complained about supposed anti-Israeli bias.

When I blogged about it here, asking for follow-up, G the LB sent me this almost immediately:
On Friday, members of the Canada Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation held a mock book-banishing ceremony in front of the Côte-St-Luc library where Kazemi's photos had been on display.

A member of the group, Lillian Robinson, used metal tongs to drop a book into a bright orange biohazard bag. It was one of several books about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that she and the Jewish Alliance borrowed from the library to make a point about freedom of expression.

"A library, of all places, is a place where all opinions, different opinions, are aired," Robinson says.

She says Zahra Kazemi's photos of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories belong in the library. She says it's absurd that a complaint about those pictures convinced borough officials to take them down.

"What are they afraid of? They're afraid of a woman who died for free expression, for freedom of the press," Robinson says.
Great stuff indeed. And for me, a little extra, as I'm always happy to see Jewish people speak up for what's right, instead of some narrowly perceived self-interest.

4 comments:

David Cho said...

It is always heartening to see people speak out in contrary to narrowly perceived self interest as you say especially when it comes to racially charged issues.

Affirmative action is a good example. When whites and blacks (or "other disadvantaged" minorities) speak for and against affirmative action respectively, I tend to tune them out as they spew out regurgitated and tired old arguments in very preditable manners.

"You are white/black. Of course you are against/for affirmative action," I murmur to myself while letting loose a few yawns. But when a white person (who is not a politician trying to win the minority vote) speaks in favor, or a black person against, my ears perk up. Right or wrong, I do that.

So I will listen to Jewish people who speak against the occupation while tuning out the likes of Benjamin Netanyahu. Sadly though I have not run across any prominent Arabs who speak in favor of Israel's right to exist. They may be out there, but I just haven't seen them.

"In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak up, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for me... and by that time, there was no one to speak up for anyone"

- Martin Niemoeller, Pastor, German Evangelical (Lutheran) Church

Anonymous said...

Even though it's not strictly self-interest, I feel that way about your opposition to the Iraq war, David. Independent thinking - it's refreshing.

L-girl

Lone Primate said...

We discussed Dr. MLK jr. here recently, and lamented how things change but not quite the way you'd like... well, a friend of mine at the provincial archives, who is sent a daily governmental newsletter of ongoing events, forwarded me something both uplifting and disappointing that posted in my own blog...

SENATE ISSUES APOLOGY FOR ITS HISTORY ON LYNCHING

L-girl said...

Ah yes, I believe Crabletta blogged about the apology - and those who didn't sign it - here. I'll check out your post.