Trump's dishonesty reminds us why we must preserve documents. Even in the Digital Age, archivists are crucial.
Whenever I consider the possibility that truths can be extirpated and lost, I think about Orwell and Hannah Arendt. Thanks, Richard Ovenden, for reminding us about librarians, who are often unsung heroes. A related set of unsung heroes are those who have, often at risk to their own lives, hidden or smuggled documents out of dangerous places. One of these is an Iraqi Archbishop who saved hundreds of ancient manuscripts from destruction at the hand of ISIS. Before they were murdered, prisoners in the Warsaw ghetto created and buried an archive of their lives under Nazi persecution. Most Americans may not know it, but US postal workers have often risked their lives and well being to save mail, including during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. The fact that so many have risked so much to save documents from destruction should shame all those in the US today who celebrate the destruction of truth in favor of narratives that serve their interests.
Thanks for this. I know I am not supposed to forward, but will certainly tell my librarian daughter in Tallahassee about it. Proud of the important work she does.
Thanks for writing on this important subject. The Chinese government has been burning the books of the Uyghur people much like the "facts in flames" in Nazi Germany. I sincerely hope there is a modern Uyghur version of the "Deutsche Freiheitsbibliothek" containing amongst other things their vast production of wonderful poetry. Like we have a list of endangered species, do we also have a list of endangered knowledge?
Does anyone know if there are books being smuggled out of China right now (physically or digitally)?
Good article. The Orwell quote brought to mind how our universities are systematically erasing western history by eliminating now-disfavored history courses (e.g., western civilization) and their teachers, and scorning the authors of classical texts. Books preserved and not burned but shunned and unread do one no any good.
Thanks for this article. It is something that few people thing about as crucial in the digital age, but this is a persuasive argument that it very much is.