Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Animal Farm by George Orwell

I have always been fond of fables since I was a kid. It's good to know that there are fables even for grown-ups.  One of these fables with adult themes is the Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Animal Farm by George Orwell book review
This controversial book is a satirical story about Russia and Stalin's dictatorship. In the Freedom of the Press, which served as a preface to the novella, Orwell narrates how Great Britain censored the news that is printed in the papers and broadcast in the radio. How important incidents like what was going on in Russia during that time was not shown in the papers. How journalists and writers were banned from writing articles that may strain the relationship with Russia or anything that does not say well of Russia. Orwell, being a reformists wanted the English people to know that Freedom of the Press is being suppressed.

Animal Farm is about the animals in Manor Farm who rebelled against Mr. Jones, the owner of the farm.  The idea of a revolution against the human enemies was started by the old boar, Old Major. Their concern was that they shouldn't be working hard for the benefits of the humans. So, they drove the Jones' out of the farm and renamed the farm Animal Farm. Since, the old boar has died, they were lead by the two pigs Squealer and Napoleon. The pigs were considered to be intellectually better than the rest of the animals. They created commandments to govern themselves. As the days and years go on, the other animals realized that one by one, the commandments were being violated and changed to fit the interests of the pigs. Then, they realize that the idea of equality among all animals was only a far-off dream.

Being fond of animals being made into heroes and villains, I found this book right on the mark. Human traits, frailties and self-absorption has been properly depicted and represented in this tale. I was truly entertained, at the same time the purpose and the message of the tale was not lost on me. I think, it being a fable serves to drive its purpose with more force than it would if the characters were humans. Having the characters represented by beasts makes the message clearer and more understandable without any illusions. It was very brave of Orwell to actually published this work but all the efforts has been worth it. Though, this work may not have been appreciated by many during his time, he can rejoice in heaven, or wherever he is, that his work is still widely read and still making an impact. Animal Farm will remind the world of the mad effects and destruction to society dictatorship has wrought. Even in this modern day and age, some countries are still struggling to totally wipe out its menace.

Animal Farm is still relevant, especially with what is happening now in the Philippines. The president wanting to bury a dictator for two decades in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes Cemetery). A lot of people do not agree to this, primarily the human rights victims of the Martial Law regime. Burying Marcos in the Heroes Cemetery will not bring healing and unity to the Filipino nation. Instead, it will cause more chaos and disregard for the lives and martyrdom of those people who fought hard against the martial rule. What's more sad is a  lot of people are ignorant of what really happened during the rule of Marcos. They thought it was the glory days of the Philippines. A lot of infrastructure were built. They do not realize that the money used to build those bridges, buildings and roads were loaned from other countries and the World Bank. Today, Filipinos are still paying for it because the Marcoses have stolen the money. Many do not realize that we, the Filipinos, are the ones paying for the lavish lifestyle of the dictator's family. And we are going to keep paying for it until probably 2030 when the loan is fully paid.

Like the animals in the story, a lot us are living blind. We just accept things as status quo instead of asking questions and asserting our rights. A lot of organizations and rights advocates have been trying hard to educate the ignoramus of what Martial Law really meant and how it has crippled our nation for so long. It has been hell for a lot of people and some of us can count ourselves lucky because our parents, grandparents and relatives did not have their bodies used as ashtrays or have water pumped into them, or get electrocuted just because they stood up for the injustices of those in power. If I were older during those times (I was born in 1980), I would have joined those crusaders and fought for a free nation. I am not sure if I will be able to injure the torture but I would die well knowing I had lead my life in the service of my country and my fellowmen. I would rather die a thousand deaths than be subjected by a dictator. Even his family, to this day, refused to acknowledge the injustices and crimes they have done. And worst of all, they are still holding positions in the government. It is really sad. How come we Filipinos, don't ever learn? 

Sorry, for the ramblings. I just find it fitting to express my opinion on the current happenings of my country. On a lighter note, this book has touched a nerve and that is what makes it a good read. I give this book four stars. I should have read this book sooner. For those who have not read Animal Farm, you should read it. It's an eye-opener. It does not only relate to rulers of nations but also of how we treat other people in our daily lives. It defects what leaders should not be and what followers should do, to not encourage abuse of power and oppression of those who are less fortunate.