Dissident Compares Syria to 1984's Oceania
|May 19, 2011|
George Orwell, the ominous predictions you made in your novel are becoming a reality in our country.
- “I called the security forces to arrest my son. He is against the government and wants to participate in the demonstrations,” a woman laments on a government-owned TV station. “I cannot control him, and he is safer with the security forces.”
- A young man cries while disowning his father on TV because he runs a website that publicizes the Syrian protests. The news anchor claims that the young man’s loyalty to his country has caused him to cry tears of joy.
- State-controlled news outlets report that people in the besieged city of Daraa asked the army to save them from protesters.
- When people ask government officials to send food and medication to children in Daraa, they are accused of treason.
- We fear that our phones are monitored, that our houses are under surveillance, and that our friends are being followed.
- When we speak on the phone, we use codewords to express ourselves and hope that the other person will understand what we mean .
- We monitor the streets, but moreover, the streets monitor us.
- We put protest banners in our purses and between the pages of our books, hoping for the chance to hold them up and say, “No more murders, stop the siege on Daraa.”
- We search for the smallest kernels of truth in the news fed to us by government agencies.
- The people of Banias, held bread to represent hunger, protested against the siege on Daraa, only to be attacked themselves.
George Orwell, is your fiction becoming our reality? Every day, we count the bodies of our martyrs. We count our brothers and sisters who have been arrested, those who thankfully are released, those who disappeared, those who were beaten and injured, and those who were shot but could not be treated in fear of being captured in the hospitals.
What do you think of our situation? Is the fate of our nation destined to replicate the narrative of your novel? For years, we embraced our silence and oppression. We used to scoff at absurd accusations like “dishonoring the reputation of the state” (the “state” in Syria, as you know, is composed of just a few individuals who possess all of the power). However, such accusations are now being gratuitously used against us when we dare to break our silence.
George Orwell, if only the warnings and wisdom of your book could have been realized to inform our experiences. The state of oppression you described is gone, but its tyrannical foundation is still very much here. Each day the walls of repression are closing in on us and soon, they will be nearly impossible to break through. Tanks and soldiers have left Syria’s borders in order to stand guard at the walls which seal us from one another.
With all your insight in to our future, please come and tell us how we can overcome our situation or will you, too, surrender us to our inevitable fate? Our plights and protest fall onto deaf ears within the country, however we don’t dare talk to those outside of it in fear of being accused of espionage. I have resigned to merely talk to you, George Orwell, a man of the dead.
Will we die in silence or will we die with a roar that reaches the seventh sky?