Friday, December 26, 2008

Obama Must Act Since the ALA Refuses to Assist Jailed Cuban Librarians, Says Nat Hentoff

President-elect Barack Obama must assist jailed Cuban librarians since the American Library Association [ALA] refuses to do so. So says Nat Hentoff in "The Castros Still Rule By Fear," by Nat Hentoff, Zanesville Times Recorder, 26 December 2008. This sad need to call on the president-elect to scold the ALA to follow its own policies was brought to the attention of the ALA via email to the "intellectual freedom forum" by Robert Kent from Friends of Cuban Libraries. It will fall on deaf ears, again. Perhaps Mr. Obama should assist precisely because the ALA will not.

"Obama should consider urging the American Library Association to at last be faithful to its own principles be [sic] strongly recommending to Raul Castro that he also include the immediate release of the independent librarians.

Until now, the ALA has refused to do that....

Mr. president-elect, please help these prisoners of conscience where so many, including the ALA, have failed to do so."

Isn't it sad that the ALA repeatedly refuses to come to the assistance of the jailed Cuban librarians? Isn't sad Nat Hentoff has to write opinion articles calling on the president-elect to urge the ALA to follow its own rules? For more background on his current opinion, see his original article on this theme: "Castro: Rule By Fear," by Nat Hentoff,, 16 May 2005.

Why does the ALA remain so authoritative when such an obvious double standard exists: it "refuses" to be "faithful to its own principles," while it demands local communities acquiesce to its law-defying, anything-goes policies that expose children to harm? For example, let a community try to remove a book containing bestiality from a public school and the ALA immediately injects itself calling the community racist because the book's author is black.

I hope Mr. Obama does take action as Mr. Hentoff suggests. That may set a standard for communities nationwide to similarly sidestep the ALA's double standards, thereby "protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors" and from predators drawn to the Internet computers.

Yes they can.