ANIMAL FARM REDUX: THE PIG GOES APE AND FIJI GOES TO THE DOGS
At the very core of the increasing misery and despair that has descended upon our beautiful islands over the past two years is a remarkable parallel with a political process graphically narrated in a novel published 63 years ago.
I refer, of course, to George Orwell’s marvellous work, Animal Farm. beginning with a rebellion that saw a pig called Napoleon assume power, this classic tale documents the gradual evolution and eventual corruption of a ruling elite.
As you may recall, Orwell’s Napoleon used his military to intimidate everyone else and consolidate his power. Now, dear readers, does that not sound eerily familiar ?
In fact, you might go so far as to agree with you humble correspondent that with every step the dictator has taken to entrench his own position, parallels between Fiji under Bainimarama and Animal Farm under Napoleon become increasingly obvious.
So much so, in fact, that the recent 2009 budget has brought us into a situation where it could be said, quite truthfully, that life (as we understand the awful reality of today’s Fiji) is imitating art (as represented by the corrupt pigs in Orwell’s classic work of fiction).
Take our dictator’s cynical decision, as self-appointed interim finance minister, to increase his military budget by almost 20 per cent while reducing the allocation for education.
Now that is an act of which the pig, Napoleon, would have been most proud.
But the obvious Napoleon/ Bainimarama similarity is not the only astonishing parallel that springs to mind. What about interim attorney-general Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and that singularly unpleasant Orwellian pig called Squealer?
Aiyaz, sorry, I mean Squealer, was Napoleon’s side-kick and an expert manipulator of the law. It was he who sneakily substituted Animal Farm’s seven laws with one over-arching law that proclaimed, “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
(In all honesty I must confess to one tiny but significant flaw in the Cassandra theory of Fiji’s life imitating Orwell’s art. Unfortunately, nowhere in Animal Farm does Orwell write of Squealer’s illicit and manifestly opportunistic sexual liaison with one of Napoleon’s daughters. Now, isn’t that interesting!)
Your humble correspondent can only sadly observe that Bainimarama’s travesty of a budget is yet further proof that a small few in Fiji are seriously intent on making themselves a great deal more equal than others.
But, I hear you ask, how many others? Well, lets see if the 2009 budget doesn’t push our nation’s official poverty figure over the 50 per cent mark.
Not that Bainimarama would care. He and his rapidly dwindling band of supporters have convincingly demonstrated that they posses only one real aim in life, which is to look after number one.
Yes, dear readers, it is life imitating art, and profoundly so. Just remember that the next time you watch a new $100,000 RFMF Pajero speed past.
As Orwell wrote in the final chapters of Animal Farm, “Somehow it seemed as though the farm had grown richer without making the animals any richer – except, of course, the pigs.”