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The most famous use of animal allegory in political satire was by George Orwell in his 20th-century classic Animal Farm. Its place in the canon of the most influential books of our time is cemented because of its brilliant, indirect, but coruscating account of a magnificent and just revolutionary cause morphing into a nightmare of state corruption and power abuse evinced by Stalinist Russia. A siren voice against the dangers of Utopian states anywhere, critic Christopher Hollis noted that the real lesson of Animal Farm went beyond Stalinist Russia or state systems. It was also, he wrote, about "the corrupting effect of power when exercised by anybody". So, when on Tuesday a jumped-up legal nobody, Shaun Abrahams, wearing his powerful garb as national director of public prosecutions, struck against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, SA experienced yet another Orwellian moment.


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