Top positive review
Nobody should be punished because of what he thinks
on 14 August 2011
The main theme of this book is political dissidence in a country where a small bunch of people has an (open or hidden) power monopoly, like here in China after the Cultural Revolution and during/after the democratic wall movement.
`As people are the most dangerous animals in the world', the powerful will always try to consolidate their power base and firm their grip around the neck of the population. Dissidents have to be silenced. Here, it is a former Red Guard who became a defender of open criticism (free speech).
A totalitarian or police State forces teachers to become liars, thereby turning them into `clowns'. The media spew pure propaganda and `offices become minefields where one had to watch for oneself, constantly defining and redefining friends, enemies and chameleons. With their fates and their families' futures in their hands, these people sleepwalked by day and shuddered at night.'
The State becomes a slaughterhouse: `butchers one day and the next day you will be meat on the cutting board. Your knives that slit open others' throats will one day slit your own.'
The author's view on mankind is deeply pessimistic: `betrayals often came from the most intimate and beloved people in one's life.'
The most ambitious and cynical specimen of the `dangerous animals' even use the corpses of the slaughtered in order to climb more rapidly on the political career ladder.
This forceful political fable, which transcends its historical base, is highly recommended.
One minor remark, however: it has too many protagonists.