Defacers are terrorists

WHEN I was a budding journalist a half a century ago, I saw a statistic that’s unique to South Africa: If a readership area (the Kouga, for instance) has both an English and an Afrikaans newspaper, the English newspaper would invariably have up to twice the readership of the Afrikaans paper.
The reason, if my memory serves me correctly, was that most Afrikaans speaking readers could read English and therefore also bought English papers, but the “vice versa” did not apply.
Now why would I dredge up this useless piece of Africana? Because I have a gripe. And to make sure that I have the widest possible audience, I decided to address the issue in English. Just so I could reach the largest possible number of readers.
I am a privileged member of the very well managed and maintained municipal library here in Jeffreys Bay, with invariably friendly, knowledgeable and helpful librarians going all the way to help members to find (or reserve) their favourite reads. Now to the gripe.
I HATE it when I start reading a bestseller by a world-acclaimed author, and find words on every second or third page blacked out – by a previous reader (and library member). These self-anointed censors make me sick. They remind me of Adolf Hitler, who burned books he did not approve of, and/or of the previous regime who banned publications when the narrow-minded censors who looked through keyholes with both eyes thought it appropriate to manage the exposure of adults to God-ordained reality.
Defacing a book is inexcusable. If those rimmed-eyed conservatives with their pursed lips and narrow outlook on the composition of the nations and religions of the planet do not like the word choice of the author of a book provided by the library, why don’t they simply return it and write to the author to record their displeasure?
Everyone who uses a pencil, a pen or a magic marker to black out the words God, Jesus or Christ or variations thereof to force their beliefs on the rest of the members of the library, are religious terrorists. No more and no less.
If they feel so strongly that the Lord’s name should not be taken in vain, why don’t they leave it to the Lord to take appropriate action? That is, if they have the courage of their self-serving convictions.
Just so those responsible are aware of the consequences, defacing a state library book is an offence. The new computer system can help identify the offenders. I hope they get hit hard.

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