May 22, 2022

Ignorance is Not Strength


Ignorance is Not Strength
“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” Image courtesy Ivan Radic

Belarusian publishers are being instructed to remove George Orwell's 1949 novel 1984 from their bookshelves. The instructions come as the Belarusian parliament is debating a new law that would mete out harsh punishment for dissent.

According to independent Belarusian news outlets, the order has already gone into effect.

Belarusian poet Serhiy Prylutsky, when asked about the book being banned, said, “Well, first of all, this is a traditional move of all dictators – to ban the truth about how the mechanism of repression works. It is stupid, but completely in the spirit of Lukashenko... Generally speaking, this is a systematic sweep of all protests in the country, which is certainly not the first.”

On May 16, state security forces confiscated over 200 copies of the book from the apartment of publisher Andrey Yanushkevich. He and a colleague have both been detained.

1984 is the most famous book by twentieth-century author George Orwell. It portrays dystopian life in an oppressive regime where the state maintains power through ubiquitous surveillance, propaganda, and intimidation.

As of May 19, the book could still be bought through the state publishing chain's website, and the Russian-language version could be purchased through other Belarusian booksellers. 

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