Dear fellow librarian,

thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I can understand and accept your refusal to attaching your library, or your library society, to any single movement, like the WikiLeaks. Also, I cannot but agree when you note that it is not up to the librarians to react to every single country, dilemma or violation of freedom of speech.

Yes, the responsibility "to react" in every single case, rather belongs to the journalists and the citizens than to the personnel of the library or archive.

In the case of WikiLeaks, the journalists have indeed reacted. Fortunately. The fact that they have published, and continue to publish the WikiLeaks, is perhaps their most important general "reaction". And that is how it is supposed to be. As was previously mentioned, the International Federation of Journalists and the Reporters sans frontières, too, have come out to condemn the "desperate and dangerous" backlash over WikiLeaks.

What worries me and a great many people is the general, or should I say, structural, threat to the intellectual freedom which is imminent in the present situation. This is to do with the digital revolution and the necessary transition to a new political world-system which should be as democratic as possible, and where the militancy and warfare of the national states should be stemmed, checked and balanced by the global civil society.

Some are prone to see the present situation as a "cyber war", and others happily haste to engage in the combat. However, the internet must not be conceived as, or become, a war-zone. If the internet ceases to be an open public space, like the library, we will witness a dangerous backlash of democracy both internationally, and within the single nations.

So what ought librarians to do? It is our obligation to maintain and to defend the openness and civic nature of the internet, and of the library itself. No internet sites, or servers, should be blocked, or denied of service, as long as their content is legal. The legality of of information, in so far as it needs to be defined at all, must be judged by independent courts of justice, not by political executives, private corporations or militant groups (not to speak of the military proper).

The above-mentioned decision of the American Library of Congress to block the content of the Wikileaks (or even parts of it, such as the US Diplomatic Cables) , has set a very bad example. Libraries, too, have to conform to the laws and the courts of justice, but they must not allow their intellectual freedom to be arbitrarily restricted and suppressed, nor must they engage in self-censorship.

The intellectual freedom and the freedom of speech are great to have and to celebrate, but only if we use them are they really worth anything. I wish you a good working-day.

- Mika

PS Two additional remarks for the analyses of the WikiLeaks phenomenon . 1) It may be interesting to compare WikiLeaks with Greeenpeace. Isn't WikiLeaks for the political crisis what Greenpeace has been for the ecological crisis? 2) WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks and, more in general, the extension of the public sphere brought by the computers and the internet, is not about a single state such as the USA. It is about the world political system, and every single state in the world. Most probably, its is also about the banks and the financial system. Finally, it is about the libraries, too.