Nat Hentoff renounces ALA and his Immroth Award


InfoWhale writes "Nat Hentoff has been writing for several months now about ALA's refusal to join Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other groups demanding the release of imprisoned librarians and journalists. He has finally decided to officially renounce his 1983 ALA Immroth Award for intellectual freedom.
Story Here"


Anyone know who the five people were who voted for Karen Schneider's amendment (or was it a secret ballot)? Why did the council vote so strongly against it--was there a hidden political agenda?

Hmm. Respectable sources aren't usually ANONYMOUS.

The trouble as I see it is that it's very difficult to get accurate information about what these people's exact roles were and the two sides [they're independent librarians versus they're American funded spies and provocateurs] are SO far from each other that there seems to be very little middle ground through which to formulate a compromise. Many people at ALA seemed to feel that ALA would have more power trying to address this issue via lobbying the US goverment [since ALA is an American organization] to work on reform rather than the Cuban government who is not known for being particularly receptive to please from America. No one thinks it's at all cool that these people are serving long prison terms, but the fact that people can't even agree on what specific crimes those people are being charged with [taking money from US interests, or giving access to "forbidden ideas"] really makes this look like it's going to be a long haul until we see a graceful resolution.

it is my understanding that ALA Council often accepts friendly amendments to reports, which is what Karen's "six words" was supposed to be. People have differing reasons for wanting to accept the report, or not wanting to amend the report.

Apparently, aside from a nifty plaque, there's a chunk of change given to the recipient. I'm wondering if that's part of the return.

O.k., if you want more input--here it is. ALA is dead wrong, stupidly wrong, about Cuba, and ALA let the wrong people write the report that ALA voted on. Most of the excuses for not strengthening the language in the report were bogus, or even worse, insulting to pro-democracy people on the Left and elsewhere.Stop painting this as a Left/Right issue. There are far too many people on the Left who disagree with ALA's position, and who are not in love with Fidel.ALA played right into the hands of the pro-Castro community. Nice going, ALA.

I have no problem posting almost anything on eny side of any story (how's that for fair and balanced), but as far as I can remember I get nothing from anyone else on the Cuba stuff. I've got people yelling at me to stop it with the Cuba junk, and other who tell me I need to do more.I post what seems to be most interesting, and if I ever got something that was another view I'm sure I'd post it.Rather than complaining about what I post, send me something that I can post.

Perhaps you should take the initiative yourself, to share these "other" views, rather than have someone else do your work?

I'm sure the good folks at Lisnews would welcome your thoughts/submissions.

We've repeatedly heard one person's viewson this issue.There are other views, let's see them.Lisnews can do better than merely floodingus with postings of what Nat Hentoff or SteveFesenmaier has to say.

Good thoughts.Your observation regarding ALA's penchant for muddling in social and political issues is correct. Of course many of these are blatantly liberal, anti-Republican, however one wishes to characterize.This is the slippery slope that will, IMHO, continue to alienate ALA from many of its core constituents. The filtering business being a recent example. (ALA should have left this issue completely alone, leaving this as a "local" issue. No different than any other collection development issue because that is exactly what it is. Instead they chose to grandstand. I digress)I think VMLS has it right. Leave politics and agendas aside. Perhaps this says something about the those who work with animals, rather than people?

I was involved in Trotskyist politics once upon a time, and it was usually easy to identify someone's politics by their vocabulary and opinions. The ALA's stand on this issue has all the hallmarks of Stalinist fellow-traveller doubletalk.

Many members of ALA's SRRT and PLG have been telling people this - so you are not alone. Ann Sparanese, ALA councilor, labor fighter, etc. has been saying all of these is like Bush/Ashcroft implying that anyone who questions them are "traitors." These people are dissidents - and everyone in the world BUT ALA has demanded their release from prison.

Although I don't introduce myself as "I'm a retired librarian who NEVER belonged to ALA," I've been tempted. Thank goodness for the Veterinary Medical Libraries Section of the Medical Library Association (VMLS), the greatest, most supportive group of colleagues one could wish for, who didn't place social and political issues on our already full plate. However, because ALA does do that, it should at least be consistent and take a stand here in support of these librarians.

I appreciate keeping us up to date on this issue.

The vote was done by holding up their hands...the reason why they voted so strongly for it was because two ALA committees wrote the report - and ALA Council has NEVER rejected a committee's report.

Birdie--I don't know who the five were, but I believe American Libraries publishes ALA Councilor voting records regularly--at least that's what I understood from my Councilor orientation at midwinter. No secret ballots on the Council floor. (Elections are by ballot, though.)

I was under the impression these people weren't librarians but spies/antagonists sent by the CIA and assorted American Cubans. I can't remember where I read it, but it was a respectable source and not some communist propaganda thing.

Shame on the ALA...shame on their hypocrisy and shame on those who sill remain silent while our peers are imprisoned in Cuba. I am disgusted with it all...David (who once was a proud member of the ala but no more....)

Gee..."respectable sources" aren't usually anonymous.