What is the relevance of Orwell's 1984 to the Arab Spring uprisings?
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In some ways, I think that Orwell's work is representative of the Status Quo prior to the Arab Spring in many of the nations in which the uprisings took place. Orwell's construction of government is one in which leaders will do anything to maintain control over the body politic. Consent is not needed. Force is the only language and compulsion is an absolute. In Tunisia, this was certainly the condition felt and experienced by Mohamed Bouazizi. He felt that force and compulsion were part of the structure in Tunisia that confronted him. He felt that the government was not validating his voice. If anything, he felt that it sought to silence him. He felt that government was only concerned with substantiating its power. This sense of entitlement is seen in the government of Big Brother. In both the Tunisian government that confronted Mohamed Bouazizi and Orwell's government of Oceania, citizens are pawns of those in the position of power. There is strong and extreme intimidation, causing individuals to recoil and retreat to silent submission. Interestingly enough, Mohamed Bouazizi did not retreat. He stepped forward and in challenging the Tunisian government, he was able to do what Winston could only dream of doing by sparking revolution and seismic change.
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