One of the aspects of 1984 that has always disturbed me is the continual (or continuous?) battle between 3 states that rule the world, and the propaganda that informs citizens about the current (and changing) enemy. As we watch the battles in the Middle East in particular, it feels as if the enemy is changing. We only have to look at figures like Saddam Hussein and Noriega to see how our enemies change, and I am confused now about whether or not we are friends with Iran and Iraq or Saudia Arabia. I figure Syria is still our enemy. While I understand that ISIS is causing hurt and pain I wish there was another way to deal with this apart from endless battle.

Reading Makine’s book Requiem for the East has at times been a struggle as the density of the language both enthralls and confuses me. But more enthralling has been the descriptions of the Russian Front in World War 2 and part five, where the central character meets up with a former colleague.

“The whole of Eastern Europe is going to be re-equipped with American arms. Contracts worth tens of millions. Very soon the Americans won’t have a single man on the dole. So it’s worth financing a few films and running a few little wars, here and there, just to test the product” (p212). ” ….the next episode’s already in production. It’s going to be called Soldiers of Liberty. El Alamein, battles in the Pacific, the Normandy landings, the liberation of Europe – and that’s the whole of the Second World war. And above all not a word about the Eastern Front” (p210).

Hmmmm World war 2 commemorations anyone?

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, has recently held talks with Australia’s Tony Abbot and as a consequence we are sending some troops to the Middle East, and incidentally tightening security.

I do wish that we could send some humanitarian aid rather than soldiers and that we could help find a way to solve this differently. Perhaps a re drawing of the borders of the Middle East, since the West was involved in shaping them 70 years ago. And then while we are at it we could help find a way for Israelis and Palestinians to live a more amicable life. Perhaps there, too, a redrawing of borders to 1967 at the very least.

It’s hard to feel hopeful at times. And easy to feel cynical.


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