when i was little, other than my granny’s lap, my favorite place in the whole world, was the library. in fact, the library was my baby-sitter. i would spend hours reading there after school, enthralled. i still remember those wooden benches, the long rows of books, the sun streaming through the windows in the children’s section and how i’d occasionally be allowed to wander into the adult side to choose my stepfather’s sci-fi tomes he liked to read.
i’d read at the library, then i’d take a book home with me and inevitably, i’d be back tomorrow for my next fix. books rocked my world. they took me on journeys i’d never have been able to make otherwise. they were my respite from a reality i wouldn’t wish on anyone. when i had a book infront of me, i was spell-bound. the leaves of books were and will always be for me a little sliver of heaven, each and every one.
so imagine how i felt yesterday, when i heard on the news that of all things, the protesters in balfour had set a library alight. the thought of all those books, all those worlds going up in smoke, all those journeys which no one will now have the opportunity to take, really made me sick to my stomach. part of me is so angry at the ignorance. don’t these arsonists realize that books can feed you more than bread? but as i think that, i realize that my anger is possibly misdirected. maybe i should be angry at a government which besides not providing, is also not working at furthering education and changing attitudes. i don’t pretend to have any political analysis. i know that it’s not as simple as decrying people as arsonists. or maybe it is…
all i know is that in the smoke rising from that library, in those pages curling in on themselves, in those worlds crumbling, are infinite possibilities and openings and realizations which now will never be experienced.
and that makes me really sad.