Read Orwell Again

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
“We are here because of a received complain against you”, the other policeman said, “The complaint was received this morning in the police station.”

Submitted: November 27, 2011

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Submitted: November 27, 2011

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Author: Yavor Kostov

Translation from Bulgarian: Sarah Kostov

Before that unfortunate date - the forth of December two thousand and… I hadn’t even been thinking of going back to Bulgaria. Although I didn’t realize it I had been feeling the desire to go back to my fatherland long before that, as I already called it, unfortunate day. I was amazed at the fact that I hadn’t realized it when I had been living with my family, as emigrants in a picturesque peaceful town, in the Great Britain for more then ten years.

The air on that Saturday morning was filled with the aroma of freshly cooked pancakes, bacon, eggs and celebration. The Christmas tree was standing on its traditional place. It had been standing there for a couple of weeks before the special day but now we would put the Christmas toys on it together as a family with which we would start the typical arguments about which toy on which branch should go as well as the typical celebrations on the Christmas day.

The kids were noisier than usual which could be claimed as a record. I’ve always wondered, though, how could it be possible to argue, cry and laugh uncontrollably in the period of two minutes. This was a fact which was worth making a programme about on ‘Discovery Channel’.

All the noise coming from the kids was also joined by my wife who while cooking the breakfast was making plans aloud for cleaning the room for guests. Her mother visited us every December. So in this case this unpleasant event was going to take place in two days. Her visit chased away the sunlight in our home but now I felt an unexplainable peace that this year everything would go well.

That’s how that unfortunate Saturday morning began. It was the forth of December two thousand and… The door bell rang with a fragment of a Mozart’s symphony. It was twenty past nine. I remember the exact time because the sound of the bell annoyed me as I was just about to eat my breakfast in peace which I was able to do only in the weekends.

I opened the door with irritation and in the next moment I saw two policemen in uniforms standing in front of me.

“Good morning, sir” said politely the younger policeman and then with a professional tone introduced himself and after that explained the reason they were here, “We are sorry to bother you, sir, but we are here because we received a complaint against you.”

I was standing in front of these two uniform policemen speechless, with my chin down and my eyes looking like two CDs doubtlessly showing that I was experiencing one of those moments in which I can’t believe my own ears. I just couldn’t comprehend the thought that one of our nice and friendly neighbors, with which we had never had a problem or an argument, could possibly send a complaint to the police against us without even trying to contact us first. Then another thought suddenly came across my mind that, maybe, some of our neighbors hadn’t been able to put up with all that noise coming from the kids.

“What seems to be the problem?” I asked sharply while taking a step forward and closing testily the door behind me by which I obviously tried to show how unwanted their presence was.

“We are here because of a received complain against you”, the other policeman said, “The complaint was received this morning in the police station.”

“What’s the problem?” I repeated my question clearly with the point of starting an argument. “If it has something to do with the kids-yes they are noisy but it’s a day not late in the evening so I have no intention of stopping them. This is my home, after all.”

They silently looked at each other and the young man in uniform said sharply:
“You’ll have to remove your Christmas tree, sir. It’s close to the window so you’ll have to put it somewhere else as it bothers the people who complained to us.”

“Excuse me?!” I cried in disbelieve of what I had just heard.
“The Christmas tree, “the other policemen added, “is a Christian symbol. A muslin family had complained about it as they claimed that it affects them and you know how strict people are when it comes to tolerance. So we hope you will listen to your conscious and will obey the order to find a different place for your Christmas tree”.

“That’s ridiculous.”
“I don’t know if you understand that we didn’t suggest but we demand you do it”

“And what are you going to do for me” I heard myself saying this in my defense,”if I say that I feel offended by their offence and complain about the fact that they stare at my windows?”
“It’s not funny, sir.” said the young policeman with his annoying and sharp professional voice, “we’ll come back to check if you have obeyed the order.”

They both nodded at the same time by which they showed me that the conversation is over. After that they turned around and headed towards their parked car which I had not noticed until then. They got into it and after they had disappeared from my sight I angrily went inside my own house for which I had to pay a serious amount of finances each month.

My worried wife saw the anger on my face but before she had the chance to ask what had happened I pointed my finger at her warning her to keep quiet and not ask me anything just now. I directly went into my office and shut the door behind me. I jumped on the couch which was put there for such cases and I covered myself thoroughly including the head with the blanket that was folded and put aside and which was also prepared for situations like this one. I closed my eyes. I did this procedure in cases like this one when I had to extinguish the fire of emotions inside me. It always worked.

I woke up hour and a half later. I went to the book shelf and took out one of the books and then carelessly sat on the spinning chair on my work place and turned on the computer. While it was loading I looked at the cover of the book in my hands. On the top was the author’s name-George Orwell and under it were written the names of his most popular books- “1984” and “Animal farm”.

I flipped through its pages. I had read these books therefore I knew their scripts very well. They both brought the reader to the real nature of the communist totalitarianism which I was very familiar with. I was Bulgarian, after all. A Bulgarian who had escaped from his country because he had one desire- to be further from the reign of the “pigs” as we can read in Orwell’s book- “Animal farm”.

Suddenly an unexpected thought stroke me so hard that it literally took my breath away. A thought which quickly grew into a series of conclusions and then it became an emergency plan. I was determined to run with its fulfillment. I lost track of time maybe because it was having no consequences to me. All that really mattered at that moment was the growing desire inside me to release call so that it could reveled to everyone because it could no longer be kept in. My fingers automatically started taping on the buttons of the computer.

“Dear subjects of Her Majesty” I taped on the keyboard the first greeting that came to my mind because I was impatient to continue writing. “A big event happened today. In fact it is so big that if someone had claimed it as possible five years ago I would have laughed at him without even thinking. Today I decided to leave your country. I want to escape from the ridiculous change in values which happened in this country and which change is very typical of nowadays.

Don’t think I’m too extreme, or you are free to think whatever you wish to think, but first read these facts.” After that I wrote about what had happened in details. I told it the way I perceived it although I decided to avoid writing about my uncontrollable anger. I didn’t stop there, thought, I also added other similar stories to mine which stories I had been hearing in the last months but as any other egoist I thought they weren’t my problems, I though they were only the problems of other people with different lives and different circumstances, somewhere else.

However, my destiny was similar to theirs now. With statistic accuracy I wrote about the number of cases in which every month street preachers and Christian employees were being arrested and put on trials just because they had had “the effrontery” to talk about Jesus Christ at their work places. I also wrote about the cameras that every time I walk across the street to reach my house record me more than three hundred times.

I also wrote: “When one of my compatriots, a brilliant author called Georgi Markov, was killed in your land with a tiny poisonous bullet, shot with an umbrella”, I continued without taking my eyes off the computer’s screen, “he warned me with his writings that if the communism comes to our country it would be much worse. I, of course, didn’t believe that this could actually happen ever. But now, I understand how perspicacious that man was.”

At some point I decided to add the lyrics of a song that a friend of mine who was Christian had written a couple of years ago. I knew very well the influence poetry could have on people as when I was a teenager I had truly experienced it so I added it to make the effect of my words stronger.

“Who will stand for the truth?
Who will lift up Your banners?
Who will cry out? Who will cry out: There is freedom in You!
You gave me hope. The sword of Your Word
Is in my hands.

You gave me hope-You’ve filled my heart with courage.
I will live for You, I will live for You.
I will fight along with You, I will fight along with You.
I will win through You- I will be an inheritor
Of Your Kingdom”

I ended my writing this way: “Dear subjects of Her Majesty a long time ago one of your compatriots has foretold what we all see today. His name is George Orwell. I recommend you, I beg you, I demand before you-read “1984” and “Animal farm”. But this time when you go into the plot instead of thinking about totalitarian Russia ask yourself this question: Don’t I recognize my own country- The United Kingdom.

Here is my appeal. I’m leaving the country but I decided to do something for you. I decided to start a campaign called “Read Orwell Again”.
Yours faithfully,
Y. K.
The forth of December two thousand and…

When I finally finished my article I felt extremely fatigue but truly happy at the same time. It took me ten more minutes to publish it in the online forum in which I often posted some neutral, simple, unimportant political comments which obviously no one ever read. When I was ready I went back to the living room where my family was waiting for me.

Then I stated that the work on the Christmas tree was unsatisfying. For three hours spent in the office there were only a few Christmas toys hanging askew on its branches. I decided that we should cancel this task and replace it with a nice walk at the ocean side. I told everyone to get ready and after twenty minutes we were walking along the beach. After spending a few hours outside we got home just before dinner time.
In the morning at around nine o’clock Mozart gave the emergency signal.

The same two policemen were waiting for me outside and invited me to accompany them to the police station. I obeyed and silently followed them. The way to the station took fifteen minutes. They only asked me if I knew why they were taking me with them. I decided to keep silent and not make the effort to answer their question.

They had no idea how prepared I was for this. The plan we had composed on the previous day’s walk consisted of that if something like this happened my wife had to contact my lawyer immediately which, of course, she did.

I understood this as soon as I saw him standing in front of the police station waiting for me. His name was Jeffrey Coleman. He approached us:

“You are free. You can go home. I’ll call you later to tell you what is the charge against you” he told me and then turned to the two policemen and contemptuously gave them some certificate.

An hour later I was sitting in my own office, in front of the computer checking the interest in my new article. I was stroked. I couldn’t believe my own eyes. The views of my writing had reached about twelve thousand in less than twenty four hours. This was more than the usual interest in my work.

An understandable happiness filled me and I actually realized what it really meant to be flying. Without waiting a moment longer I excitedly rushed to my wife and children. It was once again time for putting the toys on the Christmas tree. I moved it a little so that it could be closer to the window and then I shouted as loud as possible:
“Can someone give me the Christmas lights? This tree needs some light.”

The conclusion came afterwards. My mother-in-law’s visit went well without any incidents which was something like a dream come true. As to our Christmas tree it stayed on its place-by the window. My lawyer did a fantastic job with the charge against me. He did it for almost no money. He had turned his job into a cause for helping those unfairly charged which he did amazingly well.

As for me and my family we sustained our decision and five months later we headed back to Bulgaria. But what’s more while waiting for our plane in the “Heathrow” airport we saw at least five young people wearing t-shirts with the name of one really successful campaign, called “Read Orwell Again”, on them.

 


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