“Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”—Heinrich Heine, from his play Almansor (1821)
In 1497, Savonarola, a Florentine religious fanatic with a large following, instigated “bonfires of the vanities” which destroyed books and paintings by some of the greatest artists of Florence. (The following year he was hung from a cross and burned, along with his propaganda.) In 1933, a series of massive bonfires in Nazi Germany burned thousands of books written by Jews, communists, and others. On September 11, 2010, a certain Florida pastor is threatening to burn the Koran, hoping to go down in history as one of the big boys of book burning.
Call me unambitious, but I’d rather buy books than burn them. So to anyone who leaves their mailing address on the comment section of this blog on September 11, I will send a free copy of a book that promotes construction, rather than destruction—Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Build Peace…One School at a Time. A portion of the proceeds of this book will go to Greg Mortenson’s Central Asia Institute, which has built over 145 schools, most of them for girls, in the remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
It will be my pleasure to buy you a book, to celebrate Mortenson, a humble man of good deeds. It will be my way of throwing one small bucket of cold water on a Florida pastor with illusions of grandeur.
Please note: Your address will not appear on the blog; I will not share it or save it. This is a gift, free and clear.