Winston Smith of 1984 versus Edward Snowden


No one has ever though to draw a parallel between the two characters: one real, Edward Snowden, and the other imaginary: Winston Smith, the protagonist of Orwell’s book, Nineteen Eighty-Four.

But similarities are are indeed striking, as my friend Stewart Crowter had pointed out to me last night.

They are both men working for a party that assured them a relative degree of safety and a limited amount of well being if they toe the line. They were both set on spying and changing history on behalf of a Big Brother and both of them rebelled against him.

Some people had questioned Snowden integrity by saying that the US Government is not a Big Brother but it is democratically elected and its motives for spying are, theoretically, virtuous ones, that is protecting the lives of its own citizens. This may be true but then where to set the bar dividing the licit from the illicit? Where can we be sure that a secret organisation spying on us will not start to have its own motives, its own will, its own agenda and a new concept of virtuosity?


This book is in print also under the title  “1984” and is a novel written by George Orwell  which was published in England in 1949.

DownloadedFileThis novel is set in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain, a province of the superstate of Oceania) in a world perpetually at war. The protagonist of this novel is Winston Smith, a member of the outer party who is employed at Ministry of Truth. He is responsible for propaganda as well as for historical revisionism.  His job duties consist of rewriting and editing old newspapers’ articles  to demonstrate that the party in power had been right all the way into the past. Smith do his job with diligence but, seeing another and different truth, inevitably come to hate the party and its chief called Big Brother.

The inhabitants of Oceania cannot afford the luxury of privacy. They live in apartments equipped with two-way TV screens, they see and they can be seen. This is a scary similitude with modern computers connected with the Internet. 



Un commento su “Winston Smith of 1984 versus Edward Snowden

  1. thought exactly the same just now

    searching the web for anyone who was thinking the same already

    regards from germany

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