It was a bright cold day in April, and the cry of the Muezzin could be heard in the distance, like the roar of a far-off sea. Winston ibn Smith, his chin nuzzled into his keffiyah in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Shahid House, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.
Inside the flat a sonorously self-righteous voice was reciting Sunnahs about something to do with bathing before morning prayers. The voice came from a decorative inlaid sphere hanging down from the ceiling. Written in curling Arabic script around the circumference of the sphere were the words of the Shahada, that every Muslim was required to say and believe. "La Illah Ilallan, Muḥummarad Rassullan." These were the first words that every resident of London heard on waking. And the last words he heard on falling asleep. Though many of the proles had never learned Arabic, they still knew to bow their heads in submission when they heard them.
The voice switched to dire warnings of hellfire for the faithful who prayed while having urine on their clothes. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the submitter) could be quieted, but never turned off. He moved over to the window: a small, frail figure, the broad keffiyah hanging around his thin neck like a noose, which was the uniform of the progressive, the liberal, the enlightened members of the party who had brought the terrors of the 20th century and its dreaded curses of colonialism and commercialism to an end, by welcoming in and reconciling the East with the West.
Though the window was tightly shut, the world outside looked cold. Scraps of paper rode the wind down the bleak streets, garrets lined with rags, small gardens smothered in backyards beneath the unseasonable frost. The world was growing colder, but the party insisted that the world was actually growing warmer. Each winter, the submitter would broadcast reports claiming that temperatures were climbing higher and that everyone would have to make sacrifices to bring it down again. Accompanying this were verses from the Koran, which claimed to have foretold this warning in one prophecy or another.
Like most Londoners, Winston knew it was actually growing colder. But he never allowed himself to think about the contradiction. This was the state of mind advocated by Dhimmispeak, the new language being developed under the aegis of the London Sharia Council. The prime tenet of Dhimmispeak was Doublethink through which one could believe two contradictory things at the same time. The Party had developed Doublethink to a high art in the waning days of the country once known as England, when it had advocated promoting tolerance through immigration and staving off economic collapse by expanding spending.
Winston looked off into the distance where the towering pyramid of the London Sharia Council dominated the skyline. From his childhood he remembered that there had been other taller buildings once, but they had been demolished so that no structure might steal away the powerful presence of the council pyramid.
The council pyramid had three sides and each side was dedicated to one of the three ministries that ran the city and the land belonging to the Caliphate beyond it. The Ministry of Tolerance. The Ministry of Truth. The Ministry of Peace. These were their oldspeak names used to communicate with a populace that had still not learned Dhimmispeak. Their proper names were the Jihad of Tolerance. The Jihad of Truth. And the Jihad of Peace. There were other subdivisions elsewhere he knew, such as the Jihad of Agriculture or the Jihad of Energy, but these were less important and therefore did not operate directly under the authority of the London Sharia Council.
Through the hazy skyline, Winston could still see the message burned brightly across the pyramid's face.
THERE IS NO TRUTH BUT ALLAH AND HE HAS NO PROPHET BUT MOHAMMED
SUBMISSION IS PEACE
TOLERANCE IS FREEDOM
Sometimes he read that first line as "There is no truth but a lie, and he has no prophet but murder." It had been a common taunt among resisters in the early days. Before they had been killed off or shipped off to the petroleum fields in the south near the holy city.
Beneath the pyramid of the Sharia Council was darkness, in its shadow ruined buildings slept and starving dogs fed on scraps and corpses amid the rubble. The pyramid had been erected in the days before the Full Reconciliation and it had been bitterly opposed. There had been bombings and shootings. The Party had been obligated to send in its corps to clear the area. Ever since then the pyramid had been growing taller and taller, as the Sharia Council continued to expand. New rooms required that the pyramid be made wider and taller. And with each expansion, the shadow of the Sharia Council spread across London.
Turning away sharply, Winston went to his cupboard. Behind a false front that would fool no one but a casual burglar, he drew out a thin narrow bottle. There was no label on the bottle. The Sharia Council strictly forbade the consumption of alcohol, particularly during Ramadan. But bathtub gin was still widely manufactured and sold. And the Party and the Sharia Council turned a blind eye to it. Some said they even profited from the sales. Others said that the sellers were their men and that they kept a record of everyone who bought from them in order to blackmail them when the time arrived.
Checking to make certain that he was out of range of the Sharia Council's sphere, he swallowed a gulp of the sour liquid, and shuddered as it trickled down his throat. It was alcoholic, but barely anything more than that. But he needed it to prepare him for what he had decided to do.
When his face was clear again, he returned to the living room, and out of range of the sphere, drew out a book from his bag. There was nothing criminal about the book itself. It was a copy of the Koran, and even the proles were expected to own one of those. Unlike the heavily annotated and translated copies owned by the proles, this was untranslated, rendered in the original Arabic. Winston gazed at the scimitar slashes of the heavy black letters, remembering yesterday.
It had been midday in the Department of History in the Ministry of Truth. Winston, along with hundreds of others, had been tasked with rewriting the history of London in Dhimmispeak, beginning with the early introduction of Islam and ending with the Full Reconciliation between the Party and Islam. Like all the others, Winston had trickled out into the hallway when the horn shrieked. Once upon a time it had been a bell, but the Sharia Council had forbidden bells as they were too similar to musical instruments. And music of all kinds was forbidden. Except during the Two Minute Hate.
Winston was just taking his place in one of the middle rows for the beginning of the Two Minute Hate when the dark haired girl whom he knew by sight, but had never spoken to, came unexpectedly into the room. He did not know her name, but he knew that she worked in the Fiction Department. She was a bold-looking girl, covered in black from head to toe, her burqa wound around the waist just tightly enough to bring out the shapeliness of her hips. Winston had disliked her from the very first moment of seeing her. He took his seat.
The screen began with the usual clips courtesy of the Jihad of Peace and the Jihad of Tolerance. The Jihad of Tolerance showed lavish high resolution scenes of justice being meted out to adulteresses, homosexuals and blasphemers. The crowd laughed and cheered as an elderly woman was pelted with stones, her body buried up to her neck in the ground. The audience was informed that she had been a Jewess. A fat man accused of blasphemy struggled with the headman, the sword slicing through his neck and sending his head flying into the dirt. A grinning cleric read verses from the Koran while a young girl had a rope placed around her neck. The narrator informed the audience that she had been raped the night before, so that as a virgin she would not ascend to paradise, but rather the hell that the Prophet Mohammed, Peace Be Upon Him, had declared to be the lot of most women.
Then it was the turn of the Jihad of Peace. Martial sounding music blared, followed by scenes of Ghazis subduing revolts and bombing cities. Piles of Asiatic heads lay in the gutter. Somewhere in the jungle, a tribe of natives was assembled and given a choice between the Koran and a machine gun squad. The announcer in a somber tone that could hardly mask his delight informed viewers that they had chosen the machine guns. More footage showed an ongoing battle against heretics in the desert. Chemical warfare left an entire city filled with the dead. Winston was reminded of Rome. And Moscow.
Suddenly the music was cut off. The next moment a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil, burst from the big screen at the end of the room. It was a noise that set one's teeth on edge and bristled the hair at the back of one's neck. The Hate had started.
As usual, the face of Geert Wilders, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The programs of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Wilders was not the principal figure. He was the symbol of intolerance, the emblem of bigotry and hate. All subsequent crimes against the Party and the Sharia Council, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching. Somewhere or other he was still alive and hatching his conspiracies: perhaps somewhere beyond the sea, under the protection of his foreign paymasters, perhaps even -- so it was occasionally rumored -- in some hiding-place in London itself.
Winston's diaphragm was constricted. He could never see the face of Wilders without a painful mixture of emotions. There was something unreconstructedly European about him. Something perversely and unashamedly reactionary. Wilders was delivering his usual venomous attack upon the Caliphate, -- an attack so exaggerated and perverse that a child should have been able to see through it, and yet just plausible enough to fill one with an alarmed feeling that other people, less level-headed than oneself, might be taken in by it. He was abusing the Sharia Council, he was denouncing the dictatorship of the Party, he was advocating democracy, equality, zionism, freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, freedom of assembly and freedom of thought. And all the while, and the while behind him there marched endless columns of solid-looking men with expressionless Asiatic faces.
In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. In a lucid moment Winston found that he was shouting with the others and kicking his heel violently against the rung of his chair. The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but, on the contrary, that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge-hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.