Book burning is one of the most powerful symbolic acts of censure that can be taken. The process goes far beyond mere disregard, disagreement or attempts at social control. The process is designed to obliterate the thoughts, knowledge, beliefs, sciences, faiths and religious expressions of those who are being attacked.
Book burning is, in a sense, a burning in effigy of a body of knowledge, a set of laws, an artistic expression, political ideologies, systems of belief or collections of fact. The act of putting physical objects to the torch replaces the act of putting human beings to the torch, which adds an element of symbolic violence that is powerful, threatening and is a warning to those who resist the group that is sponsoring the operation.
Those who believe in, support or even share the offending body of knowledge or belief are put on notice that they may be the next to be put to some form of removal, eviction, pogrom, re-education or even horrifically real death as a message to even more who would resist social, religious, political, scientific, artistic or intellectual control.
In current events, the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida who want to burn the Koran on September 11, 2010 had the full aid and assistance of FOX news, who appear to be sponsoring the operation with free publicity. But now that the story has spread, the rest of the media expands and enhances both the events and the reporting because burning the Koran means more trouble in the world . More trouble in the world brings more audience and thus more profit to the mass media corporations and to the corporations that advertise in the mass media.
As a result, the ability to get the word out to the entire globe causes reactions throughout the entire globe, making the 2010 Koran burning a new and unique event in the history of book burning. It actually bypasses the Executive branchs ability to declare wars and to commit acts of war and burning the Koran in particular will foment war like responses by offended Muslims who are everywhere in the world.
Also as a result, a single individual who left Germany under a cloud of accusations and who has a 50 member church can become a world sensation within hours. It is not just this tiny church and one charismatic individual who are involved, it is that one of the most powerful news organizations in history is helping to make the act of book burning an international incident.
This leads to the final factor in book burning: who is ever truly behind the impact and execution of book burning? In this case, it is FOX news. In the past, it could have been one corrupt ruler who wanted to distract, oppress, threaten, punish or censor. Or, it could have been a cunning opponent who wanted to stir up problems for his or her political, academic, religious or social enemies.
The final task in getting to the bottom of modern book burnings then becomes to find the truth in the matter. It is clear that the leader of only 50 people has decided to do the act, but what political and social entities managed to make the act into a worldwide event and why?
What would have been the impact if the news media had put the action into perspective, firstly that it does not represent the will of an entire nation and secondly that it is the act of a particularly deviant religious nature? Have there been other burnings of the Koran, Bible or other religious texts by groups of only 50 people, and why did they not get worldwide attention?
In summary, there is more to this particular act that intends to execute a religion by burning, and the facts need to be revealed, especially since it will trigger an extended time of increased threats around the world and against Christians and Americans in particular.