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Although I am no fan of George Orwell, there is one thing about 1984 that really rings true with me. There were ritualized "two minutes of hate" when the entire citizenry was mobilized to pour out their hatred for foreign enemies.
In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. The little sandy-haired woman had turned bright pink, and her mouth was opening and shutting like that of a landed fish. Even O'Brien's heavy face was flushed. He was sitting very straight in his chair, his powerful chest swelling and quivering as though he were standing up to the assault of a wave. The dark-haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out 'Swine! Swine! Swine!' and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen.
Obviously we have been subject to two-minute hate sessions
for most of the past twenty years, with Manuel Noriega,
Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and others being
subjected to daily vilification in the bourgeois media. The radical movement is
put to a constant litmus test by the Michael Berube and
Todd Gitlins of the world. Unless we take part in
these hate sessions, we are considered undemocratic or anti-American. Any
attempt to put these societies into some kind of context is viewed as
apologetics for totalitarian dungeons. If you state that
Perhaps the most hated government in the world is
As most of you are aware, Doug Henwood's
LBO-Talk mailing list, although supposedly a forum where the liberal left and
the radical movement can exchange ideas and confront each other civilly, has
evolved into a pole of attraction for red-baiters of the "two minutes of
hate" variety. It is nearly impossible for two days to go by without some
kind of ritual condemnation of
Today their attention is riveted once again on
The documentary relies heavily on the word of defectors,
including Soon Ok-lee. That her word can be taken
seriously is a sign of the credulousness of left-liberals in places like
But in some cases,
according to witnesses and rebel officials, the slaves weren't slaves at all,
but people gathered locally and instructed to pretend they were returning from
bondage. An aid worker told of recognizing several children in such a group in
Impostors also have appeared in the role of the Arab middleman. A prominent former rebel commander has publicly complained that a light-skinned relative who is a captain in the rebel army "has been forced several times to pretend as an Arab" for cameras.
On the Christian Solidarity website, Soon Ok-lee gets heavy play. She is quoted as saying that Christians "were not allowed to look up to heaven because they believed in God and had to always have their necks at a ninety degree angle, making them disfigured". She also claims that on one occasion in an iron foundry, the guard "ordered eight Christians to recant and when they refused, he had molten iron poured over them to kill them."
Now I don't want to sound cynical or anything, but this sort
of thing reminds me of Ming the Merciless in the old Flash Gordon serials or
their latest permutation, Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones in the