A mad Dutch fanatic with Animal Liberation Front background, had murdered a Dutch populist dandy, Pim Fortuyn, as the latter was leaving the TV studio in Media Park Hilversum during an electoral campaign which might have brought him to the prime minister’s office. The killer left jail a few years ago. Animals and animal lovers must have felt relieved.
The English dean of St. Patrick’s cathedral in Dublin, Jonathan Swift, had placed higher hopes in horses than in men. In a full version of “Gulliver’s Travels” we can find praise of the talking horses, the Houyhnhnms. These noble horses rule over miserable humans reduced to the status of Yahoos. Unfortunately, the digital entrepreneurs called one of their corporations “Yahoo” rather than “Houhnhnms”. Animals once again were pushed into oblivion even by those human internet users who enjoyed meaningful relationship with a cat, a dog, a parrot or a horse and a Yahoo.com.
The Polish Nobel prize (1924) winning novelist, Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont, the author of the monumental novel “The Peasants”, had published a much shorter novel, first in weekly instalments(1922), then as a book(1924). The title was “The Rebellion” and the story was that animals took over a farm and instituted a rule of the one and only liberated animal front party. The rule misfired and soon all animals begged the farmer to come back and run the farm again. Analogies to the Russian terrorist state, the Soviet Union, were clear, but nobody in Paris or London cared about the reduced but active German military units testing poisonous gases in Soviet military bases.
Twenty-two years and another world war later, an English writer, Eric Blair, better known as George Orwell, published “The Animal Farm”, which has basically been a repetition (plagiarism?) of Reymont’s novel. Shouldn’t the royalties, paid to Orwell and his heirs, be shared with the descendants of Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont? Or does copyright stop at the former Iron Curtain, behind which Russians might not be as amused as they should be? Or should we hold a referendum among animals?
Haarlem, March 8, 2018