Islam is a religion of Peace. That is as certain as the three slogans of the Ministry of Truth; War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength.
These three slogans of the Party in George Orwell’s 1984 are especially applicable to Islam; a religion of war that claims to be a religion of peace, whose political parties (such as the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party) use “Freedom” in their name but stand for slavery, and ignorance of its true nature creates an illusion of strength for industrialized nations that imagine that they are only battling a tiny handful of outmatched extremists.
The Orwellian world finds its natural expression in our world of unnamable wars against unnamable enemies who are peacefully at war with us in the name of a religion that our leaders assure us is wholly peaceful and should not be identified with the people killing us in its name. There is enough convoluted reasoning in a single press conference after any act of Muslim terror to have provided Orwell with material for three sequels.
But in a Doublethink world where everything means the opposite of what it is, even Orwell isn’t immune from inversion. The popularization of Orwell has made him ubiquitous. Animal Farm’s book cover appears on reusable shopping bags. Every television show, from singing competitions to spy shows, will sooner or later be described as Orwellian.
Orwell is everywhere and his ideas are nowhere. Instead of censoring him, the Doublethinkers, in the fashion of the Ministry of Truth, rewrote him and made him banal.
Dubai, a city in a totalitarian state that practices censorship and fills jails with political prisoners, will host its Inaugural George Orwell Lecture under the auspices of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum; a billionaire ruler with more wives and yachts than human rights.
Considering Dubai’s international reputation as a glittering city for the wealthy built on the backs of slave labor, the stark contradiction between its primitive base and its skyscrapers, a party city where women have fewer rights than kidnapped child camel jockeys, there ought to be plenty of material for an Orwell lecture.
Dubai, like Islam, is slavery masquerading as freedom.
But His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is not about to sponsor a lecture critical of his glittering tyranny. Not in a tyranny where the son of the UAE president and the brother of its crown prince was filmed using cattle prods, lighter fluid and nails to torture a businessman. In a properly Orwellian statement, the Ministry of the Interior, whose cops had been involved in the torture, said that “all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department”.
Orwellian tyrannies like the UAE don’t allow lectures on Orwell unless they have been properly routed through the Ministry of the Interior, which follows procedures correctly when sticking a cattle prod into the rectum of a screaming Afghan businessman, the Ministry of Truth and their useful Western idiots who do all the Doublethinking on behalf of their countrymen.
And so instead of an Orwell lecture on the Orwellian nature of the country it’s actually taking place in, Gavin Esler, a BBC television presenter, which is to say an employee of a massive media bureaucracy that everyone must support by law, will claim that 1984 was warning England about the threat of the X-Factor television singing competition and Wayne Rooney; an English soccer player.
And that is no exaggeration. That is the actual preview of his talk.
It is no doubt comforting to believe, as so many left-wing intellectuals seem to, that the threat of totalitarianism comes from the Daily Mail and Manchester United, rather than The Independent and The Guardian. Talent competition judges don’t send people off to reeducation camps. That is more in the wheelhouse of left-wing intellectuals. And tabloids don’t send people to blow themselves up in the London Underground to enforce Islamic law on the United Kingdom.
There is something undeniably subversive about an Orwell Lecture that is itself Orwellian, but that no doubt is not what Gavin Esler has in mind. In classic Doublethink fashion, he is unaware of his inversion of reality because his own reality has been permanently inverted. And so an audience of Europeans will attend an event in a totalitarian Muslim country where the royal family casually tortures people and nod along knowingly to the revelation that Orwell wasn’t writing about the tyranny of torture chambers and thought police, but the tyranny of television cliches.
Orwellian lectures on Orwell appear to be the fashion at the Orwell Trust. The annual Orwell Lecture has already been delivered by Muslim Brotherhood scion and stoning apologist Tarik Ramadan. The topic of Ramadan’s lecture was “Democratising the Middle East: A New Role for the West”.
To the Muslim Brotherhood, democratization means the same thing that a plane ticket does to their Al Qaeda splinter group. A Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide was once quoted as saying, “Democracy is like a pair of slippers that we wear until we reach the bathroom, and then we take them off.” The Brotherhood was booted out of power because it decided that Egypt was already in the toilet and that it could take off its democracy slippers prematurely.
Democracy, to the Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood, which offered neither freedom nor justice, was another word for tyranny. And that made Tarik Ramadan’s talk title an actual embodiment of the Party’s three slogans in 1984.
Tarik Ramadan has described the Muslim Brotherhood as a “legalist, anti-colonialist and nonviolent movement that claimed legitimacy for armed resistance in Palestine against Zionist expansionism during the period before World War II.” That’s a rather roundabout way of saying that it was an Anti-Western totalitarian movement that drew support from Nazi Germany because of their common goal of exterminating the Jews.
“Al-Banna’s objective was to found an “Islamic state” based on gradual reform, beginning with popular education and broad-based social programs,” Ramadan writes. But he neglects to mention that Hassan al Banna was his grandfather or that his Islamic state would “regulate every aspect of life”, conduct “surveillance of theaters and cinemas”, confiscate “provocative stories and books that implant the seeds of skepticism”, criminalize the mingling of men and women and restore the Caliphate.
If this sounds like an Islamic Oceania, that makes it all the more outrageous that his grandson should, in thoroughly dishonest terms, promote the creation of this Caliphate, where men and women will be flogged, books will be burned and the Freedom and Justice Party will watch everyone all the time, at a memorial lecture for the writer who warned that Oceania was coming.
It was the very rise of this burgeoning Caliphate in Egypt that turned the Tahrir Square protesters against Muslim Brotherhood rule. Just as it provoked youthful uprisings in Turkey, a despotism that Ramadan promoted as the Brotherhood’s ideal model. But according to Ramadan, the overthrow of the Brotherhood, the mobs in the street chanting for Morsi to join Mubarak, was a Zionist conspiracy.
Unlike Machiavellian, Orwellian was never meant to characterize George Orwell as a supporter of the totalitarianism that he wrote about. But the Orwell Trust has perversely embraced the very same totalitarianism depicted in 1984; the distortion of language into Doublethink and the advancement of slavery, war and ignorance under the guise of freedom, peace and justice.
Consider Orwell book prize judges like Arifa Akbar, who has spent a good deal of time claiming that the UK isn’t the victim of Muslim terrorism, but that Muslims are rather the victims of UK counter-terrorism, a proper inversion of the truth worthy of the Ministry of Truth, and winners like Raja Shehadeh for Palestinian Walks; the former director of a group that supports terrorism.
In a Harold Bloom edited collection of essays on Orwell’s Animal Farm, one essay suggests that the
writer was drawing on Islamic themes when describing Napoleon’s four sows, matching the number of permitted wives in the Koran, and writing that Sugarcandy Mountain, the fictional afterlife propounded by one of Napoleon’s stooges was derived from descriptions of Islamic paradise.
Commentary of this sort however has grown rarer and rarer. Instead of using Orwell’s work to shine a critical light on distortions of language that enable totalitarianism, the deceased writer has been recruited to distort language to enable the totalitarian fantasies of Islam.
The Orwell Trust has become Orwellian in the worst sense. Its descent into collaboration with totalitarian states and ideologies is the very sort of conduct among the left that Orwell had been writing about.
George Orwell struggled to publish Animal Farm because no one wanted to hear anything negative about Stalin and the Soviet Union. Today, Islam and the Caliphate have taken the place of Communism and the Soviet Union. The new Doublethinkers of the left have drafted Orwell into their Ministry of Truth that claims Islam is a religion of peace, that the Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood does not stand for the enslavement of half the population and that ignorance of these things is not a weakness, but a strength.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century. He blogs at Sultan Knish