Final Word from Thursday, April 16, 2020

A poster with an enormous face gazed from the wall on each landing of Winston Smith's building. "It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran." The face in the CR of the coronavirus resistance was initially Andrej Babiš, who attacked the cause with verve until ceding to the expert, Roman Prymula. Just as public opinion was turning against the crackdown, Babiš made Jan Hamáček the face of repression. Czechs were prepped for a relaxation after Easter but have instead been told that it will take seven weeks for restaurants, bars and shopping centers to reopen. Someone is going to have to pay the political price. Babiš's ministers are all pointing their fingers at the epidemiologists, some of whom wanted to use the army to patrol open spaces at malls. A poster is a proven alternative. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE, the caption could run. But whose enormous face will gaze from it? [ Czech Republic 1984 George Orwell Rastislav Maďar ]

Glossary of difficult words

repression - the action of subduing someone or something by force;

contrived - deliberately created rather than arising naturally or spontaneously;

landing - a level area at the top of a staircase or between one flight of stairs and another;

to gaze - to look steadily and intently;

verve - vigor and spirit or enthusiasm;

to cede - to give up (power or territory);

crackdown - a series of severe measures to restrict undesirable or illegal people or behavior;

to prep - to prepare.

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