Western progressives now burn books

It was a very fruitful week for the fanatical censors. The situation is serious - and we had better wake up. Op-ed.

Giulio Meotti‏ ,

Library (illustrative)
Library (illustrative)
Avishai Teicher
"Artistic freedom is threatened not only in authoritarian states, but increasingly also in liberal democracies," writes Tagesspiegel. It was a very fruitful week for the fanatical censors.

The Carlsen Verlag publishing house in Hamburg, which publishes the British writer Joanne K. Rowling, has banished its children's book “A Corona Rainbow for Anna and Moritz”. In a new edition, a sentence will be deleted: "Covid comes from China and from there it spread all over the world". There had been strong Chinese pressure against the book.

Dr. Seuss Enterprises is pulling six of the popular “Dr. Seuss ” books written by the American cartoonist who has fascinated young readers for decades - and who created anti-Nazi cartoons in WWII..

Within days, two translations of the black poet Amanda Gorman were sent to the pulp. First that of the Dutch Booker Prize winner, Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, then that of the Catalan translator Victor Obiols. The reason? They are two white people and therefore cannot translate a black writer.

The translation of the poem had already been done. Victor Obiols, 60, a translator and university professor from Barcelona, ​​had translated William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde into Catalan, but was told he had the wrong profile to translate Amanda Gorman. They wanted a black woman.

“I was turned down not because I was a bad translator, but because I had the wrong skin color and sex,” Obiols told Spiegel. "It is a symbolic gesture".

And while Amazon announced the withdrawal from the sale of critical transgender books (the Wall Street Journal reported this new book banning after the bestseller "When Harry Became Sally" disappeared from the online sales giant), meanwhile the Toronto Public Library removed "Peter Pan”, as it would be full of “ acist stereotypes”.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, black American linguist John McWhorter, who is very critical of the anti-racist religion, says: "Whatever whites do, it's wrong." According to McWhorter, the dogmatic left is becoming a threat to freedom of expression and democracy.

Are all these cases, in just one week, enough to make us understand that the situation is a bit serious?

“Nobody has the right to tell me what I can translate or not. But nature made me not only a Jew, but a 'dominant white male', to use the new terminology ". André Markowicz, the famous French translator of Fëdor Dostoevski, thus reacts with an article in Le Monde to the two cases of censorship of the translations of the black poet Amanda Gorman, rejected only because they are by whites.

“So I don't have the right to translate Marina Tsvetaeva and Anna Akhmatova?” asks Markowicz. “No, of course not, if we look at the perspective of these new racial activists, advocates of identity-based revenge. Some people assure me that I cannot characterize their arguments as racist because of the 'white privilege' I enjoy. Racism would be exclusively that of power, of whites.”

Instead of defending the commissioned translation, the Dutch publishing house Meulenhoff, writes Markowicz, “has abandoned the young woman he had publicly commissioned to carry out the translation to the pack, yielding to this call for repentance in an atmosphere of internalized terror. He gave in, not in the face of a translation job that had to be judged, but in the face of the ontological guilt of being part of a 'white' institution. Today, the fear of saying the obvious, the fear of being classified on the side of the exploiters, paralyzes all resistance to what is, alas, only a mirror of hatred and contempt ".

And in fact in France, to avoid being accused of racism, they assigned the translation of Gorman to a Belgian of Congolese origins, Marie-Pierra Kakoma. There is a solution: We can decide we are not reading Amanda Gorman’s poems.