Various themes of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, a novel based upon the Russian Revolution, are relevant in Modern Society. Power and Corruption, one of the main themes of Animal Farm, is a problem in modern day society. Let’s Get Real About Iraq by Fareed Zakariz (Newsweek 2/26/01) relates to Animal Farm in the sense that it is flourished with specific examples of power and corruption in the modern world.
Let’s Get Real About Iraq, states, “Bush should drop all but military sanctions – and treat Saddam as the second-rate thug he truly is.” As the dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein holds power over Iraqis and nations worldwide. “The reality about Iraq: it is a medium-size oil country with a tattered army, important simply because it is located close to other oil countries and because it is ruled by a madman.” Iraq’s economy is centralized in Saddam’s hands. A businessman in Iraq cannot even conduct international trade without petitioning the government in Baghdad. Saddam initiates confrontations with the West whenever he wants to. “All he loses is a few soldiers, which probably doesn’t keep him up at night,” states Zakaria. For nearly the past decade, American confrontations with Saddam have taken place where and when Saddam chooses. From the sounds of this it does not seam as though Iraq is the only economy wrapped around Saddam’s finger.
Under Saddam’s dictatorship “between 100,000 and 500,000 children under the age of 5” have died as a result of Iraq’s poor economic and medical conditions. A statistic such as that does bring Saddam to the level of a respectable leader. Zakaria refers to Saddam as “an evil man – and one who had flourished in the face of American opposition.” Yet how is it that Saddam maintains all of this power as such a villainous leader? Could it be a result of international dependency upon Iraq for oil supply? Or is it a result of the danger he prevails by acquiring weapons of mass destruction and threatening his neighbors? “We know that Saddam Hussein is attempting to build weapons of mass destruction,” says Zakaria. “We also know that he can hide them effectively. Why play into his hands?” Two things are for certain; Saddam Hussein is powerful and corrupt.
In reference to Saddam Hussein, Let’s Get Real About Iraq, addresses Animal Farm’s theme of power and corruption. Fed up with the dictatorship of their human master, the animals of Animal Farm over threw him and attempted to run the farm by themselves. Their original intentions were to value equality and carry on with out the evil vices of human beings. The pigs were considered the most intellectual of the farm animals because they could read, write, and organize. The other animals became dependent upon the pigs since they organized the meetings, schedules, councils, laws, and responsibilities. The animals’ dependence upon the pigs gave the pigs power. Their power was similar to the power Saddam has over the Iraqi people. Since the pigs were highly needed in the animals’ chain of being, they received privileges over the other animals. The pigs told the animals what, where, when, and how the farm would work. They were corrupted by the power they had over the other animals. The pigs took on the “forbidden” vices, lived in the farmhouse, wore clothing, changed the laws, threatened other animals, drank alcohol, and set themselves apart from the others. Similar to how Saddam Hussein’s national and international power allots his corrupt nature, the pigs’ power over the farm lead to their corruption.
Lets Get Real About Iraq and Animal Farm both tell of leader who are corrupted by power. Whether threatening countries with weapons of mass destruction, or threatening hens with no food supply, Saddam Hussein and the pigs are guilty of abusing their power to get what they want. “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Now isn’t that a thought to ponder?
By Stacy Ann Padula, 2001