Book burning against Galle Literary Festival to have low carbon foot print


Organisers of a book burning protesting the Galle Literary Festival have highlighted environmental credentials to gain demonstration permits. The spokesperson for the book burning denied their environmentalism is a tactic to get media attention. In a media release the organisers said :

“We genuinely care about the ecological impact of free speech, democracy and politics. This protest is will set the standard for non violent low carbon foot print politics in Sri Lanka”. The media release also emphasised that the organisers’ support of RSF’s boycott of the Galle Literary Festival is based on “significantly different ideological reasons”.

As proof of their commitment the organisers claim that they have built a special book burning incinerator with a carbon capture and storage system.

The book burning itself is to take place outside the Moon bastion of the iconic Galle fort at the auspicious time of 4:51pm on Wed the 11th. The public is asked to bring books by authors attending this year’s festival as well as authors who took part in pervious festivals. The organisers’ media release helpfully lists book shops and festival venues where the books can be purchased. For legal reasons, the organisers require that those submitting books for burning to show a receipt proving that they have legitimately acquired the books.

Observers have described the low carbon footprint book burning concept as “unusually innovative”. According to fringe media analyst R.B Pushpakumara,

“There is a tradition of attacking the Galle Literary Festival in the Sri Lankan fridge media. It provides a platform to polish one’s nationalistic/patriotic credentials. Outer fringe media such as blogs bank on this opportunity to attract traffic in the hope of increasing revenue from advertising click through rates. If this book burning actually happens it will hijack all other media reporting of the event.”

The strange mix of environmentalism, book burning and the politics of gaining media attention has shifted the focus away from the organisers of the book burning. They belong to a previously unknown minor political party called the Lanka Totalitarian Freedom Front. They claim to be Sri Lanka’s only “pure” totalitarian political party. Their ultimate aim is the remove ethnic, religious, linguistic identities from Sri Lanka politics.

“Unite the country in a single Esperanto speaking identity totally obedient to the maximum leader’s vision of totalitarian self reliance!” reads the trilingual banner outside the party’s small one room office in outskirts of Galle. It is staffed by a handful of activists dressed in the party uniform of black shirts, white sarongs and white berets. Flanked by portraits of Mahatma Gandhi, Kim Il-sung, Norm Chomsky, and Benito Mussolini, “media leader” Anton delivers a long rambling speech to the handful of curious journalists.

It seems unlikely that the party will be get permission to go ahead with its book burning. However the voices in my head think it’s a great little yarn to spin at this time of the year. Thank you for reading this far. Deranged peal of echoing laughter in a deep voice.

15 comments

  1. St. Fallen: Thank you (bow)😀

    John: Munchas gracias. Hope the leg pull wasn’t too annoying🙂

    Angel: Yes I should have held back on the Fahrenheit 451 references but the voices are impatient with subtlety.

    Caffinolic:😯 Oh come on! The gruel ration won’t be cut just because of a blog post by an insignificant shit like me 🙄

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  2. From my limited experience, in such situations receipts should be provided in triplicate and the burner shold have a permit from the Grama Niladhari to move the books out of the town he/she purchased them in.

    Thanks for two great posts on books! Really enjoyed them. I am desperate to attend this years GLF (haven’t been to one yet) but have recently acquired a baby son & he’s only 2 months old. Would have loved his first proper outing be to a book festival, how very high-brow!

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    • Generally though the Grama Niladhari is hard to locate🙂

      Happy you like the posts😀 I’m glad to get the words out of my brain. Yes its a bit nerve wracking to trot around the country with an infant. Read some of the festival books to him and I’m sure he’ll be fully literised for the festival circuit! But enjoy this bout of peace & quiet. He’ll be asking for the keys to the hover car before you know it!

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      • Just before I left for good, I saw Romesh Gunasekara in a ‘village’ in London called Crouch End, he was carrying a shopping bag and his hair was not at well groomed as his publicity photos. I’m sure he lives there, even one of his books The Sandglass is based around there. I wanted to say something but my mind wasn’t really prepared, I was heading off to a pub with a mate to listen to some jazz. What do you say to your favourite authors, apart from the inane? Take that as a challenge, name one of your favourite authors (dead or alive) and tell me what you’d say to him/her as a one-liner!

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  3. chamira: V.Interesting “challenge”. Got me thinking too much.

    Fact is that I’ll be quite tongue tied and pretend not to know who they are. Not a difficult thing to do in the case of Mohsin Hamid, Bukowski, Yasunari Kawabata, Natsume Sōsek (of I Am a Cat fame) and Alan Furst etc. Mahagama Sekera might be an conception.

    I’ve read quite a few time in Bukowski’s own poems and books about how his fans would hassle him when he just wanted to be left alone. I feel that since the author put so much of themselves into the book, its not right of me to hassle them when they are “outside of work hours” – beyond their words in print. What’s in the book is all that needs to be said. Anything esle is

    This approach is partly because I get totally sucked into books I like which make “critical” detach reading impossible. So I end up being fan boy going ga ga over books I havn’t even read.

    Since I’m a coward, even if the previous two factors weren’t there, I’d still be tonuge tied🙂

    Chavie:😀 Thank you

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  4. Oh I say, what a jolly good post. Pity it took me two years to find it, but congratulations anyway.

    RIP, GLF – it expanded my horizons. Perhaps I should write about it.

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