Saturday, April 26, 2008


UNESCO Admits Destroying 100,000 Books

IT'S NOT 1938, and we are not talking about the Nazis, and the books were not actually burned, rather they were pulped, but the result was the same. The books are gone. According to an article in THE GUARDIAN WEEKLY dated 18.04.08 an inquiry has been launched into why UNESCO paid to pulp nearly 100,000 books.

The destruction occurred between 2004 and 2005, when UNESCO's overflowing book storage warehouses in Paris were relocated to Brussels. Rather than pay the cost of moving 94,500 books UNESCO officials ordered all copies destroyed.

Nino Munoz Gomez, director of UNESCO's Bureau Chief of Public Information and chief of the publications division, claims that at least half of the volumes were outdated and contained obsolete data. While the auditors did acknowledge that some of the publications were out of date others "on historical or purely literary themes were not at all affected by obsolescence." It concluded that a "solution other than destruction" should have been considered, "such as free distribution to libraries."

Munoz Gomez, who assumed his post in April 2005 and was chief of the publishing section for nine months while the book destruction was taking place, said that he did not learn of it until 2006, when a new employee showed him thousands of dollars of bills charged for the pulping. He claimed that while he had authorized the payment of these bills, he did not realize the magnitude of the operation. When he became aware of what was going Munoz Gomez attempted to halt the pulping, but by then there were no more books left to destroy.



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