It’s a truism that censorship of any text only serves to make it more appealing to the masses. We only have to follow the headlines over Wikileaks to see this in action.
Iran, as most Iranians know, has a tragic history of book burning and censorship reaching back to the Arab invasion. Unfortunately, this is a history that has been frequently repeated at the hands of despotic rulers and oppressive governments in Iran, each targeting new books and casting them into the fire.
As a child I vividly recall images of my parents huddled around a fire burning in a metal barrel in the centre of the kitchen in our home in Tehran. Their faces were overcast with dark thoughts as they urgently tossed their lovingly acquired collection of books into the hungry flames.
Today, many writers are banned from publishing their works in Iran and many more are cast into literary obscurity as new generations of Iranian readers are denied access to their works.
Yet, despite the constant censorship that has plagued our history, the people of Iran have remained veracious readers and book lovers. In Toronto, Iranian-Canadians have access to many of the texts banned in Iran. For many Iranians this means the opportunity to foster their love of reading without the restrictions of literary censorship.
In the next few week’s we’ll feature some of the bookstores that keep Tehranto reading.