McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

September 25, 2013

EDITORIALS: Iranian diplomacy; Banned Books Week

(Continued)

It may be that Rouhani has concluded his country’s nuclear program is a dead end, and not worth the risks associated with it. If so, that’s a positive development to foster. The challenge would be to advance negotiations along those lines without sparking a reaction from Iranian hard-liners who are likely to see benefit in the possession of nuclear arms.

Rouhani is displaying diplomatic skills that were decisively lacking in his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As a result of this shift, it is essential that the international community recognize that charm and reasonable words are not substitutes for meaningful agreements.

Any talks between the United States and Iran should be seen as preliminary and likely to be part of a long process in order to achieve results. Diplomacy can be slow and frustrating. But handled properly, it is far better than conflict.

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Ban a book, see lots of action

(The Mankato Free Press / Mankato, Minn.)

Free speech advocates can’t help but get excited this time of year. Banned Books Week is here. It’s like an extra holiday. Part of its observance is to look at the list of books that others think you shouldn’t read and pick out new items for your reading list.

The books challenged during the year as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom are as varied as usual. From an easy-to-read version of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” to Stephen King’s “Different Seasons,” the works include a wide variety of reading material.

The summary of the complaints are typical of those seen every year, most relating to attempts to remove books from schools. Objectionable language, graphic sexual content, inclusion of gay lifestyles, and references to suicide are among reasons listed.

But among this year’s case summaries, a particular gem stands out. In a Chicago school, authorities removed the book “Persepolis,” a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, because of concerns about “graphic illustrations and language.” Students were to study the novel about the author’s experience growing up in Iran during the revolution.

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