We did 1984 by George Orwell this Semester. And since exams are around the corner, me and my friends were trying to discuss some of it’s aspects. And since we have it in our Literature and Society Course, the teacher gave us the whole historical perspective of World Wars and the Communist Russia, Lenin, Stalin, Italy’s Mussolini and the Nazi Germany.
The whole Idea of the secret police,”Cheka” in Russia when Lenin was there, and then the spy police in Germany of SS and SD. The same allusions are made by George Orwell in his book when he mentions the Thought Police. How there are spies everywhere.
Then the Trade Unions were abolished in Germany and “Nazi Labour Front” was formed. And they had to give certain percentage of their wages to The Party. The whole idea of the Nazi Youth movements were formed where the kids were trained to spy on their family members. The kids were trained to be the ardent supporters of Hitler’s Germany, “working for the German Superior Race”. And we see the reflection of all this in the book. How The Party works in 1984. The Inner Party members, then the Outer Party Members, the Anti-Sex League and the kids who are spying around their parents turning them in.
And there were other allusions as well.
The Writer, George Orwell himself said the book is about the Future. And if we are to look at it from that perspective that how well was he able to give the picture of the future, we have to draw connections of 1984 with the contemporary world. And we were shocked that how well and how far was Orwell able to see beyond his times. How he was able to write such a masterpiece three years after the second world war which gave such insight to the future world.
So, drawing allusions from the contemporary world; First, The Thought Police. And the whole Idea of “big brother is watching you”. If we look at the contemporary world, it’s SO OBVIOUS that our movements are watched really closely. The satellites are there to track you down with your mobile devices or otherwise. The “Google Earth” thing was scary as we could actually locate our own home, the city and everything from there. And something like that is on Internet, just imagine how sophisticated their devices would be which are “not for the public” use. And not just that, the phone lines being tapped, the emails intercepted, and I strongly think that this post is going to be read and I’ll be watched rather more closely and if I get “vaporized”, it won’t come as a surprise! Anyway, not only that the new things on Internet to tag you, for example, orkut, facebook, blogs and your e-mail accounts. Everything is under scrutiny. Everything’s being watched over. And the thought is pretty scary. Thought Police is more like CIA, ISI, or others.
Secondly, The Propaganda. How in 1984, there’s a whole propaganda, that we’re at war and we’ve prospered this year. We are in better conditions then the last years. And this brings us back to the whole idea of how in Pakistan, Mr. Shaukat Aziz and President Musharraf always brag about the fact that the GNP and GDP are going up. We have more foreign assets now, and people are prospering day by day! The newspapers and the media seems to be “FREE” but they are under restrictions. The media follows govt’s policies or whoever-is-in-power’s policies. Not only that, the text books in Pakistan were recently changed with the intervention of US. One of the teachers, in an interview, were heard to say that from old text books you got the impression the Pakistan was made on the ideology of Islam! And the new text books donot hold the same ideas. Not only that the picture CNN and BBC and the FOX NEWS present is not objective. They are presenting a very biased, subjective point of view to the world (Don’t feel agitated! it’s True!).
Then the allusion of the Room 101. The whole idea of people being vaporized and tortured to their bones. And Musharraf has mentioned in his book that he has sold people to CIA. People were vaporized by our very government. Plus the horrifying discovery of the AbuGhriab prison in Iraq and Gauntanamo Bay and others that we don’t know of.
Well… though the list goes on and on, I’d like everyone to read the book and see for themselves how the “totalitarianism” of the West is killing the “proles” of the world.