The Most Paramount (MP) Native Authority Mandela has for the past week literally been a thorn in the flesh of Al Hajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoissoin, SC (RTD). Despite protestations from Mama Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, for us to leave the Al Hajj to recuperate in peace, Native Authority Mandela has managed to cajole and urge him to continue the story of Gorge Orwell’s Animal Farm.
“I can’t remember properly,” NA Mandela said, “You said the animals of Animal Farm had a constitution?”
“Yeah. It was inscribed on a barn for all to see and follow. It was made up of seven commandments and a slogan, motto, or aidememoire!”
“What was the slogan?” Mandela asked.
“Four legs good, two legs bad!”
“So, anything on two legs was bad?”
“Correct. It featured prominently on top of the constitution, much like a newspaper banner or vision statement in a business institution,” Jean-Philippe explained like a teacher.
“So, what was in this Animal Farm constitution?” MG 66 asked Jean-Philippe who listed them.
“1) Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
“2) Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
“3) No animal shall wear clothes.
“4) No animal shall sleep in a bed.
“5) No animal shall drink alcohol.
“6) No animal shall kill any other animal.
“7) All Animals are equal.”
“And you say the pigs came up with these commandments?” Mandela asked in disbelief, “I never expected pigs to be this intelligent!”
“Stop thinking like a pig, brother. It is fiction, I repeat. George Orwell made the pigs intelligent! You know fiction writers are like mad people. They talk to themselves. They create characters and worlds of their own to express their perception of and beliefs about the world!”
“So, the story is not true?”
“No. It is fiction, a fable, a mere creation by George Orwell,” Jean-Philippe explained.
“And why then was it banned in Malawi?” Mama Abiti asked.
“The guilty run away even from their own shadows,” I said, “If you live a criminal life each time you see a policeman, you think he is looking for you!”
“Police officer; not policeman,” Mama corrected.
“Policeman shall herein also refer to policewoman,” Jean-Philippe, forcing a smile.
“Now back to this Animal Farm story. What happened to the beautiful commandments?” Mandela asked.
“The constitution was changed, sorry, amended. Animals like Squealor, the pig government spokesman, and Minimus, the pig government poet, made Napoleon feel great and indispensable. They composed praise songs that equated Napoleon to God. Napoleon, the head pig and leader of Animal Farm could no longer be addressed simply as Napoleon, but as Comrade Napoleon, Father of all Animals, Father of the fatherless, Provider of food, Fountain of Happiness, Terror of Mankind, Protector of Sheep-fold, Ducklings’ Friend.
“The belief in Napoleon’s Godly power was such that even the oppressed such as the hens believed they laid eggs because of the wise and foresighted leadership of Comrade Napoleon!”
“Shaah!” Mama said, “that reminds me of dictators like Idi Amin, Jean-Bedel Bokossa, Muamar Gaddafi, and Ngwazi.”
“And kaNgwazi!” Mandela said, laughing.
“By and by the commandments were changed, usually in the night. After testing the splendour of mankind, the Pigs motto subtly changed to “Four Legs bad, two legs better!”
“Two legs what?” Mandela asked himself.
“Better! And the last four commandments changed too. ‘No animal shall sleep in a bed’ became ‘no animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets’; ‘no animal shall drink alcohol’ became ‘no animal shall drink alcohol in excess’; ‘no animal shall kill any other animal’ was amended to ‘no animal shall kill any other animal without cause’; and ‘all animals are equal’ was revised to ‘all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others’.”
“Thank God it is fiction, mere fantasy!” Mandela exclaimed.