Fahrenheit 451: The temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns.
But then, they've never gone away. The Book Killers have always been with us. Before recorded history they were with us, murdering the scholars and storytellers and mystics of every tribe they ever conquered.
They were there when Great Library burned in Alexandria 2,000 years ago. They destroyed the library known as the House of Wisdom when the Mongol Empire invaded Baghdad in 1258. They say the invaders took the books from every ruined library in Baghdad and piled them into the Tigris River, to serve as a bridge for their soldiers and chariots.
They say the river ran black with ink for years.
In 2003 the United States invaded Iraq with an indifference, incompetence, and arrogance that led to anarchy in the streets. There was widespread rioting, vandalism, and looting of priceless ancient antiquities and manuscripts. The National Library burned, and the flames lit the skies for miles around.
Seven centuries later, the great library of Baghdad died again.
Always before it had been like snuffing a candle. The police went first and adhesive-taped the victim's mouth and bandaged him off into their glittering beetle cars, so when you arrived you found an empty house. You weren't hurting anyone, you were hurting only things!
- Fahrenheit 451
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