Wednesday, October 14, 2015

George Orwell, and news about Palestine

Desperate to find something to read I looked though the old, largely forgotten books on my shelves and picked up a selection of essays by Orwell. Orwell died in 1950, at the age of 47. I was 16 at the time. I came across a mention of Orwell in my recent reading, probably in essays by Bernard Lewis or less likely, Simon Schama. Reading these essays I was astonished how relevant they still are some 70-8o years after they were written. Just now, I am particularly taken with Orwell's scathing view of the middle class intelligentsia that swallowed Soviet propaganda uncritically. Not only did it believe in the Communist line, but suppressed all views that did not correspond to that view. Victor Gollancz, that great liberal Jewish fellow traveller, who published Orwell's first books, had misgivings about the second part of Road to Wigan Pier because Orwell didn't see the working class, individual labourers and impoverished strugglers, as Communist propaganda would have wanted these to be depicted. Homage to Catalonia, with its account of the Communist attack on Anarchists, was quite unacceptable to Gollancz and the Left Book Club readers, and it was publsihed by Warburg of Secker and Warburg. And, of course, Gollancz missed out on the chance to make real money from the two books that sold huge numbers and are still widely read, Animal Farm and 1984. It is understandable that the mouth piece of Soviet propaganda, the Daily Worker waged a continuous, biased war against Orwell and all that he stood for, but I would have expected better from the Manchester Guardian, the bastion of liberal broad-minded thinking. Kingsley Martin, the highly respected editor of the Manchester Guardian, one of the luminaries of British intellectuals, accepted Orwell's article on the Spanish Civil War, and in the end refused to publish it. It would have upset his admirers, Communist fellow travellers. And this brings me to the suppression of truth, the craven gatekeepers of the news media, who in this day and age suppress, or refuse to report the truth about Palestinians and what goes on in the Middle East, because blaming Palestinians for their own plight is unfashionable. Blame the Jews instead. For thousands of years everyone blamed the Jews, whatever the truth behind the accusation.