If You Must Quote Orwell, Please Do Him Justice


I can’t count how many times people have quoted “All animals are equal but some are more equal than others” to me! Didn’t George Orwell write anything worth quoting other than that miserable line from Anima Farm a book so basic that any decently educated twelve year old can understand? Is it possible that most Ugandans didn’t go further than Animal Farm? Yet there are books like Nineteen Eighty-Four which remains the greatest fictional demolition of totalitarianism of all time.

The book is shockingly very familiar because everything therein is happening right now. Look around you and you will spot the Oceania, The Party, and Big Brother as described in the novel.  In the case of some African countries for example, the reality there is so like that of Oceania, that it would come as no surprise to me to learn that these eternal presidents used Orwell’s novel as a how-to in establishing their revolutions and consequent  dictatorships.  The government’s own perceived infallibility, torture, false confessions, revisionist history, censorship, fear mongering, denunciations, governments spying on their own (and other countries’) populace are all part of Orwell’s 1984.

1984 is seriously of those books that every self-respecting adult should read. It is a good book.  A good book helps you understand how the world works.  A good book helps you see, visualize and become comfortable with the future.  A good book liberates you with knowledge that empowers you to make choices.

I know very many seemingly normal people who haven’t touched a book in years, yet they think themselves well informed because they are on social media, watch news, read newspapers, magazines and blogs. What they don’t understand is that electronic media and print aren’t necessarily intended to transfer entire thoughts, although they may contain some idea. They are meant to trigger a yearning within the reader for deeper knowledge which can only be found in books.

This brings me back to Orwell; his work is not what can be said as purely classical literature, rather Orwell’s mastery lies in his simple yet elegant style of writing and his depictions of common life problems, social injustice, and his intellectual honesty. His work is characterized by opposition to totalitarianism and support of democratic socialism.

Fortunately, Orwell’s best-known novels have been compiled into one book. The Complete Novels of George Orwell is now in stock at Aristoc Bookshop and costs just Shs 95,000. The collection contains the obvious  Animal Farm, describing a revolution that goes horribly wrong, and Nineteen Eighty-Four, portraying a world where human freedom has been crushed, are two of the most famous, well-quoted and influential political satires ever written. The other novels in this volume also tell stories of people at odds with repressive institutions: the corrupt imperialism of Burmese Days, disaffection with materialistic society in Keep the Aspidistra Flying, the perils of modern suburban living in Coming Up for Air and surviving on the streets in A Clergyman’s Daughter. All the novels brought together here display Orwell’s humour, his understanding of human nature and his great compassion.



This is one book everyone