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Presented by State Library Victoria

Everywhere, Everything, Everyone compared with real life events.

Warning – There will be minor spoilers pertaining to the way the government functions in Everywhere, Everything, Everyone, and because of that, minor plot spoilers. So yeah, read at your own risk. Also deals with very real history which can often be bloody.

This is hopefully an in depth discussion of the Lit Club book Everywhere, Everything, Everyone and how much of the book relate to the real events, both in the past and also the present. Controversial things will be discussed and there will be lots of history and politics, but I’ll try my best to make it interesting if that is not your thing.

To begin with, a totalitarian government, in a way, I feel like is perceived as a more modern thing, with dictators like Hitler of Germany, Stalin of Soviet Russia and Franco of Spain, to more modern examples such as Kim Jong-Un of North Korea to al-Assad of Syria. However, the first dictators emerged in the fifth century in the good ol’ Roman Republic, and whether this may surprise you or not, it was actually given to a person for wartime military powers in times of crises by the Roman Senate. What ultimately has not changed about this is that dictators, for the most part do seize power in times of military conflict to ‘save’ the people. What was different in the early-mid Roman Republic was that a dictatorship of absolute power was set for a period of just six months, and after that period, the dictator would relinquish their wartime powers. 

Which is like, wow, imagine actually surrendering your powers! The funny, if not surprising thing about this is that they did every single time for centuries. But alas, human greed is something that cannot be stopped unfortunately, in 82 BCE, Sulla was proclaimed Dictator for life, and essentially, it has stayed the way since then. And thus, the first dictator in Roman history, and world history for that matter was proclaimed. I could talk about Roman history forever, but that would be going off topic. 

A bust of Sulla, the first proclaimed dictator for life in Western history.

Right at the beginning of the novel, we are told that the protagonist’s father had been taken away, and throughout the course of the novel, more people are taken away by the state. Governments that want to control the population and to curb dissent would often do this, so that one; there would no chance of revolt, and two; there would be nobody left to challenge their power. We aren’t told of the extent of how many people were taken away in the book, but since it seemed the government was merely trying to exercise control over the population, I would not think the numbers would have been too great. This sort of things has effectively happened whenever a totalitarian like government has seized control, though the most extreme of these cases would be Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge. Wild estimates range from a low 600,000 to well over a million killed as all conceivable opponents were brutally murdered, including most officers in the Red Army. This way, there was no one left to challenge Stalin’s power. This did happen to bite them in the back a little bit when the Wehrmacht invaded in 1942 as they are no capable commanders in their army at all.

Something mentioned briefly in the novel is the cancelling of elections as a way to bring peace and effectively making the leader of a country a dictator in all but name. While it is never mentioned that the head of state is a dictator and merely trying to bring back stability back to the country, but like, it’s pretty darn obvious and I don’t know why they even bother trying to hide it. To find an example of this, we need look no further than China’s President, Xi Jinping. While he is technically a ‘president’ the Communist party of China voted last year, 2964-2 to remove presidential terms. That’s right, 2964 voted yes, to only 2 people who disagreed, which looks just a tad bit fishy to me, but oh well. Another example that springs to mind would be Hitler, who turned the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich.

In Everywhere, Everything, Everyone, there is a constant reminder that the government, whether in the form of guards, drones or cameras, are watching them, and this is done to watch out of dissent and to crush it. Often in times of dictatorships, it is hard to see who may be a spy or a member of the secret police for the government, as these things have existed. It can be quite a terrifying thought during such perilous times like the Second World War as you truly didn’t know who may have been a spy.

It is mentioned in the blurb that a wall is put up, which was done to separate the ‘Threats’ and the ‘Good citizens.’ The most famous of such walls put up to either keep people in or from escaping is by far, the Berlin Wall. The reasoning as to why the Communists put up the Berlin Wall is not entirely dissimilar to what occurred in the book. In Berlin, after WW2, West Berlin was controlled by the Western Allies, whilst the East was in control of the Soviet Union and was part of the Warsaw Pact. The West was heaps more prosperous than the East, which caused millions of Germans to flee to the other side and thus, a wall was built. It has been said that when a country needs to build a wall, it shows that it is a huge failure of the system. The wall worked, before it was torn apart. The wall in the novel was to seperate the Threats, who undoubtedly would have been poor, whilst the Good Citizens received the benefits. Instead of trying to keep people in, it was built in the book to keep people out as a way to keep the government’s supporters ‘safe.’ This wall worked, until it fell down. In more recent news, President Trump has begun the construction of a wall on the southern US border as a way to keep illegal aliens(in their words, not mine)* out of their country, which I think is ridiculous. This wall worked, oh, wait it never did as people can easily climb over it. Then, going way back in time, China too built a way, a Great Wall, which was intended to keep the steppe people, like the Mongols out. This wall worked, until Genghis Khan led his army around the wall and proceeded to conquer everything. To summarise for world history and this book, building up a wall never works, no matter how tall, wide or long it is.

People climbing over America’s border wall.

A crucial aspect of maintaining a dictatorship is the controlling the media and spreading propaganda of how magnificent their nation is and how great everywhere, everything and everyone is in their country. This is explicitly shown in the novel and the only source of information comes from what the government approves of, which apparently was just 3 channels(if I remember correctly) on T.V. Living in a democratic society, we are used to press and media freedom, which is why everyone is talking about how bad of a Prime Minister Scott Morrison is, when the country is in a climate emergency. The thing is, we are allowed to talk about such things, the characters in the book, and for billions of people worldwide, such a thing is not allowed. Well, it technically is but don’t blame me when they lock you up, or if everyone in your family ‘disappears.’ In all seriousness, countries like China have their own media that is very much so different to the rest of the world and many things that we take for granted, like Youtube, is banned in China. In some instances, certain lines in movies have to be altered to fit what the Communist Party wants. People are not allowed to speak out against the government lest they risk prosecution which is something, uh oh… seen here in Australia after police raided ABC journalists this year which was incredibly undemocratic. Not only did this act breach media freedom in Australia by the police, but it also ruins this idea that people are allowed to tell the truth here. It may seem shocking, but things stated and told in a YA novel of all places, may very well reflect the current situation not only in distant far away countries, but here at home as well.

Yes, Instagram is banned in countries like China and North Korea.

 

Something else that I think is important was the government attempting to stop a large scale protest against them in the book and then later when people did go out to protest, the Unit Guards firing upon the civilians which caused people to die. If this was the case, Extinction Rebellion or the Friday’s for Future rallies on Climate action would not exist or the protests for the Iraq War in 2003 which were the largest anti-war protests ever involving up to 30 million people, which is more than everyone in Australia. Where were there no large scale protests however? China. I’ve already mentioned China many times already, I know, but in China, protesting is illegal unless approved by the Party, which I think is basically useless. Like the death of some beloved characters in the book, there was a horrific incident that took place in 1989 known as the Tiananmen Square massacre. Students in China were protesting about more fair reforms that benefited the many and not just the few. Instead of taking action, as many as 300,000 soldiers were mobilised and brought to Beijing, where they opened fire on innocent people. Up to many thousands of people died, with many more thousand wounded and the government proceeded to tighten freedom of speech and media freedom. Now, anyone in Australia can Google Tiananmen Square protest or massacre and it would come up, yet in China, there are very little traces of it and is one of the most censored events in the country. I think that we need to take the freedom of the press as a gift and not through it away as some people in this country want to do.

The Art Classroom was removed in the book; Scott Morrison recently announced that Australia will no longer have a Federal Arts Department. 

Unfortunately, it is hard to not see a trend in events here. 

This is quite a lengthy post, but I hope that some of the things I talked about and compared with the novel has at least been somewhat interesting to read about. I could easily have made this way longer since I can ramble on and discuss history with people for FOREVER, though it might get a bit boring. If there’s an errors that I have made, please let me know, I would hate to give out false information to people. Ultimately, some things are my own opinion so feel free to either agree or disagree with me on that, but until next time, thanks for reading my post and happy reading!

*See what I did there? Honestly though, these people calling their own species aliens makes me feel sick and twisted inside. It’s disgusting.

6 comments

inky State Library Victoria

This is brilliant zitongbooks! It's important to be aware of how those in power abuse the position to gain more power through censorship, media control, punishing dissent and surveillance. I can't wait for you to be old enough to vote.

16th Dec, 19
zitongbooks

Thank you so much!

16th Dec, 19
bookhaven

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED READING THIS!!!!! It was so well-written and researched!

19th Dec, 19
zitongbooks

Haha thank you so much! I’m glad you like it!

19th Dec, 19
lauraamabel

Wow! What great parallels you've drawn and so true. Talking about the situation in China, there are even further similarities that can be seen. People who openly and loudly disagree with the government often "go missing" or are wrongfully arrested, as are those deemed "Threats" in this novel.

19th Dec, 19
zitongbooks

Thanks and I’m glad you agreed with the things I said.

19th Dec, 19