The famous phrase, Big brother is watching you is taken from George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984: A dystopian novel that depicts a society under constant surveillance of an authoritarian regime. The citizens of Oceana are constantly being watched through telescreens. This novel was first published in 1949. Fast-forward to 2020, we are slowly seeing the world evolving into an Orwellian society.
The term, ‘doublethink’ was invented by George Orwell in his novel, 1984. ‘Doublethink’ is one of the techniques used by ‘Big brother’ to twist public opinion in their favor. Doublethink is the ability to hold two completely contradictory beliefs at the same time and to believe they are both true. Orwell defines ‘doublethink’ as:
“To know and to not know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy is impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy. To forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself.
Over the past couple of months, the media has used the technique of doublethink in an attempt to sway public opinion towards the ideologies of the political spectrum they favor. A recent CNN headline read, “fiery but mostly peaceful protests after police shooting.”
The obvious problem with this headline was that there were properties of private citizens that had been set on fire by “peaceful protesters” a few meters from the reporter. It was obviously a violent riot but the media, by using doublethink expected people to accept their narrative while ignoring the fact before their very eyes. Over the past couple of months, politicians as well as various individuals of repute have successfully bought into this narrative that a rioting mob can actually be called, ‘peaceful protesters’.
The Ministry of Truth
In Orwell's 1984, the Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment and education. The ministry is responsible for the falsification of historical records to fit Party doctrines. The ministry is also responsible for distorting facts. For example, 2+2 can be 5 when the situation warrants.
In today’s world, history is being distorted or erased in various aspects of society. Most millennials in Nigeria know nothing about the horrors of the Nigerian civil war. Most do not know that just few decades ago, over a million Igbos were systematically murdered in what can only be described as a genocide. In China, most college students know nothing about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre or the atrocities committed by Mao Zedong. Mao's Great Leap Forward led to the death of over 30 million individuals but across China today, Mao is honored as a godlike figure.
One of the highlights of the recent protests in the US has been the pulling down of statues. Whilst I’d admit that there is the bad side of history, I believe we must sustain both the good and the bad side. It is common knowledge that those to do not know history will repeat the mistakes of the past. One of the recurring mistakes across generations has been the little emphasis that has been placed on history.
Big brother is watching you
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have stepped up public surveillance in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. If left unchecked, it could alter the future of privacy and other human rights. A video recently surfaced of a woman in New Zealand being questioned at her house by the police because of a Facebook post she made asking people to go out for a walk. This was not in China or North Korea, it was in New Zealand, presumably one of the freest countries on the planet. This Orwellian surveillance tactic in the name of taking down false information must be kicked against by all freedom loving individuals because people do not lose their rights in a day; it is usually a process of taking one inch at a time. Fight for liberty.
Rume Kpadamrophe is an evangelist, writer, teacher and researcher based in Lagos, Nigeria. Rume speaks French and English and loves to travel. His desire is to see revival ignited and sustained in the nations of the world. Rume’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Rume’s previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rume-padsmrophe.html