Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

Orwell's 1984 (again) and a massacre in 1940

I had a visit to Birmingham and found some Polish culture in Bordesley Street.  There was a restaurant so Polish that the waiter spoke Polish until I asked if I might order in English, then next door I saw Polish Millennium House and on the wall was a plaque recording an atrocity.  The plaque was put there in 1940 by the Polish community of Birmingham.  The event was the Katyn massacre of April and May1940 in which about 22000 Polish nationals were executed by the NKVD, the Soviet secret police.  A long time ago, you might say.  Yes, but history needs to be remembered so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.  (Sorry I do not know where that quote comes from.)  Regular readers of my blog (if there are any) may remember that sometimes I do write about events of the past.  Another thing that happened recently for me was that I was talking to my sister's children and the eldest was interested to find out that I write a blog for this website (so i thought that I had better write something).  We also talked about George Orwell's 1984, a book that the eldest had read.  I told her that Orwell was very ill when he was finishing the book and that he went to a remote island in the Hebrides to write.  The illness was TB and it did kill him in the end.  It seems that he was desperate to finish the book before he died, so that he could give a warning in the best, most powerful way that he knew.  He was writing it around the year 1948 and he changed the digits round to make 1984, with a nightmare vision of how society could be by that date if people were not vigilant and if ruthless governments were allowed to have their way.  I think that it is still important today, after the year 1984.  Regular readers may recall that I have written before about Orwell and especially about this book. 

About Amnesty UK Blogs
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
View latest posts