Sunday, July 16, 2017

Public libraries no longer safe haven from hatred

Paul Fromm, a former Brampton school teacher who lost his teaching license
because of his white supremacist proclivity
When I was a young boy growing up in Ottawa, the public library was my sanctuary.

Ottawa was a tough place for a Jewish kid. I was one of only a couple Jewish children in my public school and a day hardly went by where I didn’t have to face the spectre of anti-Semites, bullying and intimidation.

“Christ killer, dirty Jew” and other such colourfully hateful epithets were hurled at me and schoolyard fights over my “big nose” or supposed riches were common. However, a short walk to the Rideau St. Public Library put me into a safe place, a wonderland of stories and adventures from the Hardy Boys to Robert Louis Stevenson.

I simply never had to worry about being taunted, confronting Jew haters or facing down gangs of kids that were fed hateful ideas at home and elsewhere about Jews.

The library was my haven. It is with great sadness therefore that I had to confront a situation this week that shattered my long-held belief of the library as a safe place for all Canadians. A decision by the public board of the Richview Public Library to allow a group of racists, bigots and neo-Nazis to hold their event has forever shattered the symbolism of Canadian libraries.  (more...)


The above piece is authored by Bernie M. Farber, the executive director of the Mosaic Institute. I have no affiliation with that group. However, having witnessed the egregious bigotry, including anti-semitism, endemic in Ottawa, Toronto and my hometown Windsor, I proffer to him my unrestrained support. I have no illusions about ever "curing" this country of its deeply entrenched flaws. However, I will strive to shine a light on Canada's feet of clay so that the unwary can take appropriate precautions. Caveat -- I don't see why libraries, or any other institution, would not reflect the pathologies of the culture around them. I grew up with a Carnegie Fascist Propaganda Library.

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