1984 in 2017
We don't like it when someone tells us what to think. We may sometimes do what we're told to do if it meant fulfilling our parents' wishes out of respect or the boss's instructions out of duty or our commanding officer's directives out of obligation. But, being told what to think is different.
My favorite teachers and professors during my school and college years were the ones who laid down concepts and encouraged me to rationalize and use critical thinking. This doesn't only allow you to grow mentally, it also allows society to benefit from your probable new approach due to the unique thought processing that was allowed to evolve and be unleashed within you.
A smaller-impact example of that can be my mother's strict instructions when she taught me how to fry minced meat in the process of preparing a Middle Eastern dish called Oozi. The woman who defies every aspect of democracy in the kitchen commanded that the minced meat must contain less cinnamon powder and more chopped onions. My critical thinking directed me to do exactly the opposite and the result is that my 2 kids love the dish even more. This means alternate thinking brought more content in the general population of my home.
A larger-impact example would be peace-oriented people in the Middle East; mainly in that beautiful little spot on Earth that holds Lebanon and Israel. Both political entities, official or not, are masters of propaganda, A very lethal one. The general atmosphere of the mainstream media is that of hate and bigotry. The propaganda status quo can, at times, turn so bad that one would start looking at concepts like reincarnation and whether it is possible for someone like Joseph Goebbels to linger on earth but in multiple bodies this time and divided into both sides of the border.
I can think of no worse name to use in order to show the severity of the situation. Alas, you do need someone as sinister as Goebbels to produce a line of degraded social thought where an Israeli would say "Let's carpet-bomb their population centers/Bury every village in napalm" and a Lebanese would say "Let's wipe out their seed/Make them non-existent".
Can a human being be possibly more demonic? Raze a society to the ground and ethnic cleansing? The term "disgusting" would be an understatement. Thank God such individuals do not represent their respective communities. True, there are plenty of those victims of propaganda who allowed hate and fear to conquer their minds and tongues but there are also critical thinkers out there who are managing to think for themselves and see that peace is the ultimate solution.
So, we don't like to be told what to think. Many of us have adopted the habit of searching the internet for more background information on issues imposed upon us by our leaders or ruling parties. In most cases, we will find alternate stories and arguments that will correct the official mainstream views. But, we’re not the only people who have read and understood George Orwell's 1984. They have too and they've learned and have devised more practical parallels to the thought suppressing methods of the government of Oceania. Instead of the "Thinkpol", they created the Cyber Police. If you are suspected of not agreeing with the official story and you are outspoken to some extent, your browsing activities will be scrutinized and you will be harassed or even jailed for looking at content deemed disagreeable with their agendas.
They want us to think that we are enemies; that our children are imminent future threats. They want us to perceive each other as sub-human and therefore develop a notion that extermination is not a big deal. They have been successful to a great extent and the proof is the demise of beautiful innocent children on both sides of the border. The sad thing is that a number of those children who don't die end up victims of thought control and hence would-be fanatics. Some will have the urge to napalm whole villages and others the urge of wiping seeds.
Humanity suffers a lot of shame for the construction of Auschwitz. It's an ignominy that will blemish our universal human identity forever. We need to be outspoken in our words and actions. We need to show love and tolerance across the border and set positive examples regardless of the threats of persecution. We all need to be Ula Ostrowski-Zak and Faiz Abu Hamadiah so as to ensure no more Auschwitzes are built ever again.