Saturday, 15 December 2007

Of books and books

Encouraging the underprivileged to read was one of the constant Republican preoccupations during the Spanish Civil War.

It was seen as a way to fight fascism.

But there are books and books.

And bookshops.

This afternoon David Irving, Holocaust denier (he has claimed that Auschwitz was merely "a labour camp with an unfortunately high death rate") anti-semite, racist and jailbird has been invited to speak at the same bookshop in Barcelona where David Duke was prevented from giving his conference a couple of weeks ago.

David (a rather unfortunate name for an anti-semite) (I seem to be repeating myself) has written a lot of books about Nazis and Nazi Germany, mostly in a rather favourable light. This is somewhat perplexing given that they nearly killed his father in 1942 when they sank the boat he was serving on.

He has been barred from entering Austria, Germany, Italy, Canada and New Zealand and in May this year was expelled from the 52nd Warsaw International Book Fair in Poland for attempting to promote pro-Nazi and anti-Semite books.

Barcelona is a wonderful, generous, open-hearted city. But sometimes...

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