By Shasya Goel:
I had never thought I would relive my experience of reading George Orwell’s ‘1984’ in real life. Anyone who has read this masterpiece cannot miss the uncanny resemblance between ‘Ingsoc’, the English Socialist Party of the totalitarian Government of Oceania, talked about in the book, and the militant organisation Islamic State Of Iraq And Syria (ISIS), the self-declared Islamic caliphate that has spread its fangs the world over.
In the book, one is introduced to a faction called the ‘Thought Police’ that works for the government, in order to exterminate ‘thought criminals’, that is, persecute individualism and independent thinking that goes against the ideologies of the Socialist Party. Posters of the unknown yet omniscient leader, ‘Big Brother’, bearing the caption “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU,” meets the eye everywhere, as telescreens, hidden microphones, and revolving cameras installed in houses and on streets monitor the public and private lives of people. Kids are brainwashed into believing that Big Brother loves them and cares for them more than their parents, and that it is their duty to report against ‘unbelievers’, people who abandon their previous loyalty, renouncing their faith in the party’s regime.
Reading about it in a book is all fine; until one day, you actually see the world being controlled by a tyrannical monster organisation, which knows no language, except one of violence. Less than a month back, a 20-year-old ISIS militant named Ali Saqr al-Qasem publicly executed his mother, shooting her in the head with an assault rifle, accusing her of apostasy – a crime most heinous to the principles of the terror group.
Nasir, a 12-year-old escapee, was one of the 60 children being trained to operate as suicide bombers in the terror group’s de facto capital Raqqa. “When they were training us, they would tell us our parents were unbelievers and that our first job was to go back and kill them,” he spoke during an interview with CNN.
Each time I’m reminded of the slogan of the dictatorial party (Ingsoc) in the book, a chill runs down my spine as I realize the extent to which it echoes the political ideology of ISIS in its true essence. “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.” “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”
One can foresee the inevitability of a dystopian regime taking over the reins, and controlling our future as in the present. A short while ago, ISIS warned Britain of an attack more severe than the Paris strikes, saying the country will receive the “lion’s share” of the slaughter for its “declaration of war against Muslims”. It warned of an attack on Britain so severe that it will ‘turn children’s hair white’.
Killing the people of another nation to avenge the deaths of those killed in your country, is committing the same crime twice. It may serve a political purpose, but even so can it ever be justified on humanitarian grounds?
The reason cited by mujahideens for carrying out a chain of ruthless beheadings and bloody massacres is that they want to turn the ‘unbelievers’ into followers of Islam. Translated in simple language, this means that they want 7.3 billion people to follow their religion unquestioningly, and convert from the religion they’ve been following since birth into one that is being imposed upon them. Can the jihadis do the same if they were asked to renounce Islam?
Moreover, the sheer impracticality of eliminating all religions that ever existed, to conform people like herds into a single religious sect, brings one to the realization that there is more than that meets the eye. Under the cover of religion, these pious devotees who claim to be the true followers of prophet Mohamed, identify the martyrs as young men who “divorced the worldly life” to die in the path of Allah to support the cause of true religion. If war is their true religion, and this is the condition we find ourselves when they follow it; then we need to redefine what religion stands for. What comes across clearly is their hunger for power and dominance that overrides other claims of conversion and safeguarding religion. Religion, in this case, appears to be used as a crafty ploy for expanding the authority and regime of this fascist party, which wants to completely take over the world and become an unchallenged superpower.
This world would be a haven if only people would stop bombarding and drilling holes in each other to create bodies of bloody artwork, chiselled by guns and knives as tools to carve out chilling images. They produce artefacts dressed in the filth of their souls, embellished in flesh and blood that once throbbed with life, as they play out for all of us to see what hell looks like on earth. Till when will this nightmare haunt us? Is this the kind of world that will give birth to newborn souls who’ll open their eyes to see blood splattered on walls, instead of toys in a cradle?