Certain authors have appeared on a ‘blacklist’ sent out to library workers which instructs them to remove the writers’ works from their shelves.
If this dictat isn’t followed, library workers have been told they will be ‘’held responsible’’.
The request was made by Speranzon, the Assessor for Culture of the Venice province and a member of Berlusconi’s Il Popolo della Libertà party whose political Curriculum Vitae includes MSI, a neo-fascist party disbanded in 1994.
The names of the authors on the proverbial hit-list were seemingly lifted from a 2004 petition to release left-wing activist Cesare Battisti from jail.
Venice’s government may be relying on Battisti’s unpopularity to detract onlookers from the real issue of censorship. It’s an old political trick, something like what some see as political scapegoating in the publicity over Julian Assange’s rape trial. Militant author Battisti’s politics may be being used as a convenient justification for what is going on. But what is going on cannot be justified, by law it is an attack on freedom of expression, guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights, ratified by Italy in 1955.
Speranzon’s threat that library workers who don’t carry out the censorship will be ‘’held responsible’’ is sinister in its vagueness, and he is not alone in his campaign. The Assessor for Education of the Veneto region, Donazzan, has a similar political background to Speranzon. She recently made an announcement that she intends to ask all head teachers of schools in the region to empty their shelves of all books written by the authors who "support terrorists".
Then there is Robert Saviano’s case: his work has been informally banned throughout the region by the Lega Nord, the biggest party in Veneto. Interestingly his work exposed ties between the LN and organised crime. As George Orwell said, ‘to be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country’.
If this is reported fully, the public consciousness will undoubtedly be brought back to 1933, when great fires raged in Nazi Germany, consuming all books seen as ‘un-German’.
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