“Four legs good, two legs bad.” – George Orwell
Lessons learnt: Without proper checks and balances leadership will always corrupt. A common cause unites. The collective memory is really short, and without language (knowing the right arguments/words) opposition is futile.
Imagine a world where animals can talk. Imagine a world where pigs start a revolution and take over a farm. Imagine a world where the pig’s initial promises and rules are twisted and turned for their own promotion and the domination over the rest of the farm. If you are like me, you might think the first two are for children’s books and that the latter is as plausible as can be. It is sad to realize that the story told in Animal Farm by George Orwell is one that has repeated itself throughout history so many times. At the same time, it also conveys some of the best qualities mankind has.
To give here a summary of the book would not be correct, it is only very short and is easily read in a couple of hours. Much more important, and interesting, is the message(s) it tries to convey. Written in 1945, it leans heavily on the events that happened in (and before) the Second World War. One of the pigs (named Napoleon) is said to represent Stalin and the actions he took in his life. Where he first overthrows the ruthless leader (the farmer), he later becomes corrupted himself. To cover his (and the rest of the leadership – read: communistic government) tracks, the rules (the 7 Commandments) are changed. This is something that we think of happening a long time ago, but when you hear of Russian government officials changing the Wikipedia page of the MH-17 crash, you start wondering if this is really in the past.
“Four legs good, two legs better! All Animals Are Equal. But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.” – George Orwell
Forbidden until 1989 in the Eastern Bloc, Animal Farm shows how strongly people believe in their own ideas and their right to only broadcast their ideologies. Everyone who is reading Animal Farm should be happy to live in a system where these kinds of things are not happening anymore, and if not to strive to make your country better and use it to recognize where things can go wrong. The book, however, is not for everyone. It requires your attention and you need to be aware of the history the analogies are about. I do believe that it is worth the few hours of reading and then please read some more about it.