By Tom Winnifrith
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Additional resources for 1984 and All’s Well?
The only piece of real evidence Winston ever finds comes to him by accident (unless it has been deliberately put in his way in order to trap him), and it is the old photograph of the three 'traitors' in New York at the time when they had confessed to being on Eurasian soil. It is not that he believes what the party says; how could he, since his own job is to alter the accounts of the past? But this was concrete evidence; it was a fragment of the abolished past, like a fossil bone which turns up in the wrong stratum and destroys a geological theory.
Religion is very far from being banned in Iran, where the Ayatollah Khomeini was able to force overnight a revolution against what he saw as the dangerous decadence of the Shah's regime. The Ayatollah was the object of some comic doublethink among Western liberal progressives when he first came to power, as they saw him as leading a revolution against authority, while blinding themselves to the strict and savage penalties the Ayatollah exacted against adultery. In China it would appear that there was an attempt to break down family ties at the time of the Cultural Revolution, but Love 29 bourgeois values have now reasserted themselves.
Winston knows that the Party is engaged in the destruction of the past and he devotes much conscious and rational effort, at considerable risk to himself, in an attempt to discover something about the genuine historical past. He fails. The only piece of real evidence Winston ever finds comes to him by accident (unless it has been deliberately put in his way in order to trap him), and it is the old photograph of the three 'traitors' in New York at the time when they had confessed to being on Eurasian soil.