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The trajectory from Save and Burn is now a documentary on Atheism. Will George Soras please help me? I only want a millionth of his wealth. VR: Alistair Black Leeds Metropolitan University and John Feather identify the specific relationship between libraries and the advent of modernity, in how the growth of the individual or "self" was integral to the Enlightenment project. But Black identifies the controlling aspects of libraries as well: they are bureaucracies par excellence. This is a tension present throughout the film freedom and control in relation to knowledge.

Is this a specifically western experience? JS: Modernity? What's that? Save and Burn's slowly leads us to the following kinds of question: Is western democracy falling apart in the eyes of everyone else? Western democracy - with its legal trade rules and legally sanctioned moral values in place - is transparently terrorizing resources out of vast areas of the world. Lefty documentary film-makers try to get answers from experts in order to produce an abridged yet wide version of history and politics. And, unfortunately, documentaries produce culturalists who know the world's problems but can only vote in a certain way; go to demonstrations; have political discussions at supper time, and buy samosas on solidarity nights.

I won't put you in a cultural studies coma by doing a Chomskian repetition of what's wrong with the world, don't worry. Alistair Black is sceptical of the claim that the working classes benefited from libraries: he says they were rarely the constituency that used libraries. You juxtapose this with Irish author Declan Kiberd's resoundingly positive perception that libraries for the Irish, were and are almost utopian spaces, following the 19th century reading room tradition, where issues in the community can be debated, read about, shared.

What is the intention of these juxtapositions? JS: It would appear that I have a sociological reflex - inducted during schooling.

VR: Nevertheless, the humour aside, you are suggesting something with these recurring discussions on freedom, democracy and accesss to knowledge. JS: What's the conclusion? Libraries actually produce a knowledge of how to practice democracy at home and export terror abroad; this is one obvious, preliminary conclusion. The current-day British labour party members all have a knowledge of social democracy because of the libraries they used - packed to the gills with English Marxism and even more flashy Euro-Marxism.

Many of them were arrested for protesting during the last century. The center of the documentary are the comments on the catalogue. The library catalogue controls access to sections of knowledge. The techno-culturalist and historical discussion in the beginning of Save and Burn takes us to the destruction of the library catalogue in Palestine. Here, western democracy falls to bits.

The Palestinians, as people everywhere, see through western democracy's terror-laden values. VR: Save and Burn also reveals a strong relationship between history and libraries. Alarmingly, we can no longer speak of historiography if, as Tom Twiss Govt.

History is being altered by what is saved and what is burnt. What is the future then, from your perspective? How does one respond to these "cultural war crimes" as Ross Shimmon points out? JS: The future? Most documentary film-makers are non-experts who are in one way or another looking for answers to advance a general knowledge which will lead to criticism, action, Eden. Viewers should understand that film-makers put viewers in the precarious position of trusting the film-maker who usually are non-experts in the areas they are documenting.

The questions encompassed by Save and Burn are posed by a non-expert. I have tried to offer in-depth knowledge of libraries across many voices. The conclusion of the documentary asks: Western democracies are encouraging Israel and other places via innocent tax payers in Austin, Warlingham, and Canberra to do one illegal thing after the next. The mad search for weapons of mass hypnosis is like the search for God itself. Many people at the other end of American foreign policy see nothing "western" nor "democratic" but see hypocrisy personified in various heads of states.

You should have heard the analysis the shoe-shine man in Cairo gave me about So what political models can 'they' out there look for? Can they make an economically competitive state via an investment in Islamic or non-western values?

Volume 47, Number 3, July–September – Documentation et bibliothèques – Érudit

More questions for an expert. The idea of investing in western democratic values is exhausted, not simply because western democracy is so easy to see through but because democracy, give or take a Patriot Act or two, is structured fundamentally to supply a bit of democracy at home while fully financing dictators and their armies the world over.

There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism. And just as such a document is not free of barbarism, barbarism taints also the manner in which it was transmitted from one owner to another.

Julian Samuel, a Montreal-based filmmaker born in Pakistan, continues his exploration of the contemporary world of libraries in this minute documentary. He first investigated libraries in his instant library classic, "The Library in Crisis.

+++ Alexandria Ad Aegyptum Links To Be Updated/Processed +++

Dense with the informed commentary of notable scholars, this documentary in effect traces the history of civilization through the phenomenon of the library. No film I have ever seen on libraries comes close in exploring so much in such a short period of time — 46 minutes. I contacted the filmmaker in Canada, and sent him videotapes of interviews with leading American library activist Sanford Berman. Thus this film did not include these voices — but rather focused on Irish and English libraries plus the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Unlike "The Library in Crisis," this film looks at race and class. By cutting back and forth from Irish and English library events to the history of the Library of Alexandria, Egyptian public libraries, and current programs in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, like one on unemployment and youth, the viewer is counter-conditioned to reject Western racism. Samuel wants to show the West that we are the inheritors of the great Arab-Asian tradition of libraries going back thousands of years — not its enemy.

The facts are piled on, not using the standard Ken Burns-style of slow discourse, but rather throwing the facts at us, using optical printing, aiming to create a much more complicated GESTALT in our minds. This is extremely refreshing to someone who has watched a thousand such films, and found them boring. His style is more like the Hong Kong master Wong Kar-wai or Godard, demanding that the viewer has a universe of images already in his mind, waiting for someone to link them together in new ways.

By doing this he shows right from the beginning that he is not guilty of anti-Semitism and Arab fanaticism. He shows that he really wants truth and justice, at whatever cost. He wants to show that libraries have been one of the few places of truth and justice for a long time, and that there are really only two kinds of people — those who respect such sacred places and those who do not. The visual images of the libraries he shows are exquisite, lingering on the walls, the books, the people, and the spaces that libraries have used over the centuries.

He is a painter, an artist — as well as a philosopher, historian, and freedom fighter. I found one scene particularly positive, given the ocean of negative images flooding us now. This brief scene may be the clearest direct message Samuel is trying to make — we are all one people, friends, not enemies.


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This film notes a key historical possibility that I very much believe in — and that is that if the great world of the original Alexandrine Library had been allowed to continue, our world would have been much better, and mankind would have landed on the moon by AD. Samuel has a text crawl that states that there was one other time when there was a possibility of a "brilliant scientific civilization" — the years of the first Alexandrine Library under the Greeks, and he notes that most of the Old Testament comes to us from items once found in that library.

Apparently he believes, as I do, that if mankind had channeled its energy into the arts and sciences rather than war at the time of the world's greatest library, our world would now be a humanistic paradise rather than a toxic corporate American hell.

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During the last half of the film he interviews Tom Twiss, Government Information Librarian, University of Pittsburgh, who has flown to Canada for the interview. During the next 30 minutes Twiss discusses the war against people's access to federal government information, pointing out that as our government has limited our access to them, they have increased their access to us — library patrons- under the Patriot Act.

Twiss is also an expert on the destruction of Palestinian libraries. He talks about what happened to Palestinian libraries during an Israeli invasion of the West Bank. He points out that Lutheran libraries were also attacked without any reaction worldwide — but that there is ample proof of the events. He notes that some Israeli newspapers even ran editorials about the "cultural cleansing" but many Israelis deny it even happened. Another expert on the reality of libraries in Palestine is Erling Bergan, Editor, Librarians Union of Norway, Oslo, who talks about the destruction of their libraries, and a tour by international librarians to these libraries, seeing first hand how much the children use them.

He discusses one particular act of destruction involving The Orient House. I have programmed the local Jewish film series for 25 years , shaking his head in disbelief. Sanford Berman is the inventor of a word that should have been uttered — bibliocide. Some librarians even use the term "biblio-holocaust" for the destruction of books in our modern age.

Khafaji discusses who destroyed the books, and how important they still are in the life of war-worn Iraqis.


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Shimmon talks about writing letters to Saddam and Blair requesting that they protect Iraqi libraries during the coming war. Earlier in the film pictures of Iraqi libraries that have been burned are shown, giving the viewer the reason why this film is called "Save and Burn. I had to recall the ashes from "The Day After," showing a world incinerated by men of equal sadism. Samuel has again created a masterpiece about the contemporary library. As always, non-Arabs and Arabs will discover that they have much more in common than they realize — and that they are brothers and sisters, not enemies.

All librarians should see this film, and I am sure they will feel like I do that librarians must leave their beautiful houses of culture, and join the fight to protect them from the despots East and West who will eventually destroy them.

Histoire des bibliothèques: D'Alexandrie aux bibliothèques virtuelles

One librarian talks about how the Book of Kells was protected from the invading English, being moved from site to site, even in a building used by the invaders as a headquarters. I took my time and savored the amazing history Mr. Battles has written, taking a global perspective somewhat akin to Mr. I was very impressed with his brief history of libraries in China and England, and consider his account of the war against my friend Sanford Berman to be the best in any book I have read so far.

There is a brief discussion of "libricide" in this film — and now there is an excellent book on the subject — and now there is an excellent book on the subject — "Libricide: The Regime-Sponsored Destruction of Books and Libraries in the Twentieth Century" by Rebecca Knuth. Of course it doesn't mention the uncontrolled "weeding" of American libraries during the last decade, most famously in San Francisco where thousands of books were buried in a landfill.

Steve Fesenmaier is the film reviewer for Graffiti magazine, the largest monthly in West Virginia. He is the associate producer of an indie feature film, "Correct Change" and the executive producer for "Green Bank — The Center of the Universe. Dans Wavelenght, un film de quarante-cinq minutes, il utilise simplement deux ou trois images. Tu pousses plus loin, tu parles avec des gens, tu fais des recherches pour finalement en faire un traitement. JS: Imperialism is a continuum that deserves exposure in documentaries. Imperialism not only transforms world trade, but also transforms the very way in which one sees the world and relations within it.

Historically, this force expropriated cotton grown by bonded labour in India, shipped it to shirt-making factories in Manchester which then sold finished shirts back to India for profits. Imperialism transforms oil from the middle-east into condoms; toothbrushes; DVDs or videotape which is used to archive our collective memories of the war in Vietnam; the Intifada; Britney Spears singing in an airplane powered by refined oil; Martin Luther King speaking in Washington, being killed in Montgomery; Space Shuttles blowing up; the World Trade Towers collapsing. JS: Cinema is defined by the direct threat it poses to a conservative understanding of the term "democracy".

Throughout its history, cinema has been subjected to and has tolerated censorship; its transformative potential is so great that the people who fund its production and those who distribute it are inexorably censorial and so controlling that many accusatory human-rights stories are ruthlessly suppressed. Only politically suitable and safe stories make it to the production and distribution stages.

JS: Our national definer of the documentary, The National Film Board of Canada, produces meek, inconsequential works and ought not to get public funding. Writers and film-makers have learnt to use the tool of allegory to cut the noose of the censor. Progressive documentaries are defined by their fight against conservatism: We exist because conservatism exists. Film-makers can now easily made fiction or documentaries with digital cameras and computers. Although small distribution networks for independent documentaries exist, there isn't large scale distribution for these documentaries.

Large-scale distribution or TV is controlled by the same mentally ill, wretched money hungry individuals who inflict cinema. JS: Certain documentaries encourage sceptical thinking. Do you or do you not want deeply antagonistic questions posed in public? JS: Fiction requires big political money, therefore it is impossible for minorities living in Quebec to fully tell their stories in cinema.