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Subject: Swedish Campaign Defies Book Ban
From: Robert Kent <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:BIBLIST - Topics in Nordic research library user services <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 2 Feb 2001 23:28:31 EST

text/plain (49 lines)

                           The Friends of Cuban Libraries
                                  Date: February 2, 2001


    The youth association of Sweden's Liberal Party has begun a campaign to
send banned books to Cuba's embattled independent librarians.  As reported by
the Stockholm newspaper "Metro" (Dec. 30, 2000), on December 28 members of
the youth association began their campaign by asking for donations from
passersby in Stockholm's main shopping district.

       In a press release launching their effort to "collect money and books
for the free libraries of Cuba,"  the Young Liberals highlighted the opening
of more than 60 independent libraries in the island nation with the goal of
offering public access to uncensored books.  "The objective," states the
press release, "is to support work in favor of freedom of expression and
information."   Three reports issued by Amnesty International, the world's
most respected human rights organization, have confirmed the repression of
the independent librarians by the Cuban government , and the International
Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) has also documented and condemned
the government's "campaign of threats, intimidation, harassment, eviction,
short-term arrests, and the confiscation of incoming book donations or book
collections."  In recent weeks, the repression of the independent librarians
has escalated to acts of violence.

    According to the Young Liberals' press release, their goal in sending
banned books to Cuba is to  "support work in favor of freedom of expression
and information."  One of the youth leaders, Fredrik Malm, declared:  "In
Sweden being a librarian is not dangerous to anyone.  Nevertheless, in
dictatorships all the forces which strengthen freedom of expression and
freedom of thought represent a dangerous threat.  For this reason, it is
important for the world to show support for the Cubans who are struggling for
democratic change."   When asked how the banned books acquired as a result of
the campaign could be delivered to Cuba's independent libraries, one of the
Liberal activists, Erik Jennische, replied: "We are thinking of sending the
donated books with colleagues and European tourists.  It is especially
important for tourists to experience two of the beauties of Cuba, the sun and
at the same time the democratic movement."

    BACKGROUND:  The Friends of Cuban Libraries, founded in June, 1999, is an
independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit support group for the independent
librarians.   We oppose censorship and all other violations of intellectual
freedom, as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, regardless
of whatever government may be in office in Cuba.  We are funded entirely by
our members and do not seek or accept funds from other sources.  For more
information, send e-mail to: [log in to unmask] or telephone (USA)
718-340-8494.  Mailing address: Robert Kent, 4-74 48th Avenue, #3-C, Long
Island City, NY 11109 USA.

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