“The decision to burn these books can be most likely attributed to insensitivity rather than a malevolent attempt at cultural domination, and with the real cause for contempt here being a less than simple matter of logistics.”
Nothing provokes religious indignation like the burning of sacred texts, the very mention of which conjures images of medieval church practice, inquisition and pogrom, or the more recent communist and fascist purges of the 20th century. In the annals of history, book burnings were a useful way for those in or seizing power to consolidate their authority, seeing to it that many opposing, creative, but mainly religious thoughts would be lost to humanity in this crude and ominous way. As books represented the freedom one could obtain through learning and faith, limiting access to those materials kept the masses of those ages subjugated to the educated elites and worse yet ignorant of their own culture.
It’s not surprising then that the recently discovered attempt by US forces in Afghanistan to burn copies of the Koran, the 7th Century tome sacred to Islam, would invoke outrage and protest. However the decision to burn these books can be most likely attributed to insensitivity rather than a malevolent attempt at cultural domination, and with the real cause for contempt here being a less than simple matter of logistics. As allied forces cease operations and withdraw from some areas of the region the need to dispose of materials is only natural, and while incineration seems acceptable enough for most items, the lack of distinction for scripture is numbing, so that the message conveyed and outcome is no less troubling than its medieval predecessor.