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100th Anniversary of the Birth of George Orwell

Posted June. 24, 2003 21:59,   


After the secret and common use of closed circuit cameras caused people worry, mobile phones with cameras have recently replaced the former nuisance. Self-indulgent adolescents in Korea secretly record their teachers inflicting corporal punishment on students and sometimes secretly take pictures underneath skirts of girl students or female teachers. This rampant mischievousness has finally provoked the government to consider regulatory measures on the carrying of camera phones in public places such as public baths and swimming pools. The thought of Big Brother has entered deep into people`s minds and is reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel “1984”, which was published a century ago and depicted close monitoring by the government and unrestricted government power. Now the public`s eye has been replaced by that of the individual`s.

George Orwell was a man of freedom who strongly renounced political power. He opposed capitalism, imperialism, and communism as well. Among his publications, “Animal Farm” and “1984” were publicized in Korea as anti-communist novels, but in fact, they were satires which laughed at every form of power, seeking totalitarianism, beyond time and place. His die-hard sarcasm may target North Korea where every word and move is monitored or South Korea`s much-proud e-government, in which personal information falls into the hands of the central authority. This also can be the case in the U.S., which puts strains on the privacy of immigrants from the Middle East based on the pretext of war against terrorism.

Putting Orwell’s gifted intuition into the very essence of the world aside, he was superb in coining words. Oxford English Dictionary says that it was George Orwell who first used the term, “cold war”. Newspeak, in “1984”, was an official language people used solely by the throat, free from the brain. Thanks to the term “crimethink”, which meant every word implicating freedom and equality, we no longer know the fact that the word “equal” originally had any political implications. He believed that disguised political language lies to sound of nothing but the truth, which still holds true. Examples include “realizing prices” instead of inflation and “dialogue and compromise” to mean the government’s submission to unionists, to name a few.

It was recently known that the writer who hated Big Brother and authority the most once cooperated with the information agency of the U.K. to gain a woman‘s affection. This draws more attention to his birthday commemoration. According to The Guardian, Orwell gave a list of 38 including Charlie Chaplin and E.H. Carr who were suspected of being communists over to the information authority upon the request of an information agent of the beauty. Considering that it was just a year before his death, one may wonder whether he prioritized love over any belief or value.