Normally, I like to post quite a light-hearted, chatty blog post on a Sunday but after hearing about the disturbing news of the attack on Bookmarks bookshop in London, I do not feel I can do that. I said just a couple of weeks ago that I would never discuss politics on my blog, but here I am.
For those of you who are not familiar with Bookmarks, they are a socialist bookshop in heart of London. They sell (and publish) books on politics, economics, women’s rights, the fight against racism/xenophobia and much more.
Last night (Saturday 4th August 2018) a group of people entered the shop and started to destroy books. They were allegedly chanting and mocking the books. Witnesses have described these people as being ‘fascists’ – although I say this with caution as there is no concrete evidence for this and to the best of my knowledge (and at the time of writing) no-one has been arrested in relation to this crime.
For me, regardless of who these people are, this event is deeply upsetting. This is not just an attack on a bookshop and books, it is an attack on democracy. It is our democratic right to have access to these books which describe how we, as a society, will not and should not tolerate sexism, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, etc.
What happened last night is terrifyingly reminiscent of WWII when books were banned and burned as an act of censorship and to gain control over the population. The banning of books still happens today all over the world for a variety of reasons; they are considered to be blasphemous, immoral, or poses a risk to national or personal safety (there is a list here if you’d like to take a look). There are some books out there that are considered to be extreme and/or incite hatred and violence towards particular groups of people. This is illegal (in the UK) and is not acceptable.
However, if we let people like this take away our books that encourage tolerance, equality, and peace they will take our rights and opinions with them. This sort of behaviour should not be tolerated.
I am standing in solidarity with Bookmarks bookshop. If you can, please show your support in any way possible, even if it’s just a tweet. If you are in a position to buy a book from them, like I am, then I am sure they would be extremely grateful for your order.
If you are interested in learning more about the impact of fascism, I highly recommend:
All of these books are available from Bookmarks. You can also follow them on Twitter.