I’ve finally read George Orwell’s 1984. It’s not a book I studied at school or college; it’s been a curiosity of mine for some time. My usual choice of genre is a rom com or something history related, a bit of Marion Keyes or Philippa Gregory. Therefore the choice of 1984 was somewhat out of sync but then I suppose everything is out of sync at the moment.
What did I think of 1984? Well, it’s difficult to say really. Usually when I read a book I consume it within a week, stealing ten minutes here and there to get through the pages as it has me gripped. But with 1984 it wasn’t always like this. Why? Well, it’s a pretty grim world old Winston lives in and as I like to use books for escapism, this wasn’t a world where I was eager to escape to. That said once I began to empathise with his character, the situation and his world, I became curious.
Winston’s hope and belief in something more than what was happening around him and to him, kept me turning the pages willing it to be true for Winston. The idea that you can be persecuted just for thinking against the ideals of ‘The Party’ and the mass repression is shocking although, unfortunately something that we have witnessed throughout History and some Countries may continue to do so. The censorship and surveillance that was part of Winston’s world, along with the changing of history to suit ‘The Party’, you really can see parallels with the past and current world.
It’s hard to believe censorship exists nowadays, with the power of social media anyone can say anything, quite freely and not worry about the consequences as they are hidden behind a screen, probably thousands of miles away from the person, group or people they have targeted.
Before you send that Tweet, post on Facebook, upload a Tik Tok video or post to Instagram, remember to embrace the freedom of speech we have but most importantly use it kindly.
In the words of Rumi: Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: Is it true, Is it necessary? Is it kind?