What is book burning?
Book burning refers to the ritual destruction by fire of books or other written materials. Usually carried out in a public context, the burning of books represents an element of censorship and usually proceeds from a cultural, religious, or political opposition to the materials in question.
In some cases, the destroyed works are irreplaceable and their burning constitutes a severe loss to cultural heritage. Examples include
- the burning of books and burying of scholars under China’s Quin Dynasty (213-210 BC)
- the obliteration of the Library of Baghdad (1258)
- the destruction of Aztec codices by Itzcoatl (1430s)
- the burning of Maya codices on the order of bishop Diego de Landa (1562)
- Nazi book burnings
The Instance of book burning becomes emblematic of a harsh and oppressive regime which is seeking to censor or silence an aspect of a nation’s culture.
I’ve been seeing a lot of people post photos of burnt or even burning books on Instagram lately saying they „have fun burning them„. This really makes me wonder if those people ever heard of book burning; if they even paid any attention in history class because if they did, would they really burn books only for the sake of bookstagram and even declare they have fun doing it?
Some people maybe don’t care about the historical background, which I think is very alarming, but how about all those people, who simply can’t afford books? Books are still luxury goods; some people just don’t have the money to buy them so instead of donating books people just burn them only because they think it’s art?
So now some people may say that they can do whatever they want because the books are their property. Okay well, but how about the fact that it’s really dangerous to burn books? Remember when our parents told us that we should never play with fire because it’s dangerous? At least 5 homes in Forida were destroyed by fire caused by some guy who burnt books in the woods. Why?
I just can’t and will never accept the fact that people think burning books is fun; that it is art. If you’ve never heard of book burnings, search the internet, there are a lot of information and there are even books about it. If you think books aren’t luxury goods and everyone should be able to afford them – you’re wrong. Books are expensive; not everyone is lucky enough to earn enough money to make sure their families don’t die from hunger AND to buy books. And if you don’t think it’s dangerous to „play“ with fire, just watch the news.
Seeing people post such photos and even saying it is fun to burn them makes me sick to the stomach; it gives me goosebumps all over my body and I absolutely cannot believe that some people think of it as art. I am speechless and I will unfollow everyone who will post such photos.
Think about your actions first. That’s the best advice I can give you right now.
Here’s another great article about book burnings. Post is in German though but you can always use Google translate.