They’re spinning the book burning as a “symbolic gesture”.
Of course, book burnings were always symbolic. There are easier ways to destroy books. Certainly, there were easier ways by the time the National Socialists started burning books. Some years before they began burning people.
This is really a test though to see if you can make book-burning palatable by dressing it up as some sort of New Age spiritual ceremony with fake Indian overtones.
The answer, maybe not quite yet.
The “flame purification” ceremony, first reported by Radio Canada, was held in 2019 by the Conseil scolaire catholique Providence, which oversees elementary and secondary schools in southwestern Ontario. Some 30 books, the national broadcaster reported, were burned for “educational purposes” and then the ashes were used as fertilizer to plant a tree.
The Nazis would have approved of the fertilizer part too. But burning books for “educational purposes” is gloriously Orwellian.
“We bury the ashes of racism, discrimination and stereotypes in the hope that we will grow up in an inclusive country where all can live in prosperity and security,” says a video prepared for students about the book burning, Radio Canada reported.
… or be burned at the stake.
In total, more than 4,700 books were removed from library shelves at 30 schools across the school board, and they have since been destroyed or are in the process of being recycled, Radio Canada reported.
4,700 books being destroyed is Library of Alexandria stuff.
Lyne Cossette, the board’s spokesperson, told National Post that the board formed a committee and “many Aboriginal knowledge keepers and elders participated and were consulted at various stages, from the conceptualization to the evaluation of the books, to the tree planting initiative.”
“Symbolically, some books were used as fertilizer,” Cossette wrote in an email.
We’re pretty clear about the symbolism of burning books and then using them as fertilizer. Less clear about making that a defense.
Like any social justice purge on behalf of minorities, the story wouldn’t be complete without its own Elizabeth Warren moment.
Suzy Kies, the co-chair of the Indigenous peoples’ commission of the Liberal Party, has resigned from the position after her claim to Indigenous ancestry was called into question.
Radio-Canada reported on Wednesday that it could not confirm Kies’s claims to Indigenous ancestry. Kies told Radio-Canada in an interview that her father is of European descent and her mother is of Indigenous descent.
In Radio-Canada’s reporting, they consulted civil status records and the Abenaki Council of Odanak, who did not find Kies on the band list.
The story came following controversy over a book-burning project at a francophone Ontario school board in which Kies was involved.
Maybe she was hoping the books containing her ancestry could also be burned.