Regular readers will remember a couple of weeks ago when I went to Amsterdam and stuck it to the reactionary jerk-offs that wanted to burn one of my favourite books. Well I dedicated that post to the author, Lawrence Hill. Mr. Hill’s books have been a major source of inspiration for me both as a writer and as someone interested in race. I sent him a copy of my post, thinking that he’d appreciate knowing that his fans aren’t down with the whole ‘book burning’ thing:
My name is Ian Cromwell, and I am a big fan of your work. You can certainly understand how dismayed and enraged I was when the group in the Netherlands threatened to burn your book over something as silly as misunderstanding the title. I share your outrage over book burning, as I am myself a staunch supporter of free speech as a fundamental right and key to our cultural survival.
I was recently in Amsterdam for a conference, and I took the opportunity to visit the same park where the book burning took place. I brought my own copy and took a couple of pictures, as basically a one-finger salute to the Philistines that think that fire is an appropriate response to disagreement in this century (without bothering to read first, clearly).
They’re up on my website (https://crommunist.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/this-post-is-for-lawrence-hill/). If you would like copies of them, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am looking forward to your next book, and cannot fully express my appreciation for the way your work has helped clarify some feelings I always had but couldn’t really put into words.
I was pleasantly surprised when I got this response:
Hello Mr. Cromwell,
Thanks so much for your words (and photos) of support, with regard to those who were burning the cover of my book in The Netherlands. It meant a lot to me to hear from you, and from others who were equally appalled to learn that Mr. Groenberg was planning to burn the book in Amsterdam. I join you in your feelings about freedom of speech as a fundamental right and key to our cultural service (although I would draw the line at hate speech). You probably know that I wrote an opinion piece for The Toronto Star about the book burning:
If you are willing to send a photo or two to me, for my own personal archives, I would be very grateful.
Wishing you all the best with The Crommunist Manifesto! Great title for a blog!
In the common parlance of the internet, squeeee! While I think we’d have a lot to hash out with regards to our stances on hate speech, I’m really happy that he wrote me back. I’m going to see if I can parlay this into an interview someday.
Like this article? Follow me on Twitter!