The elephant in the room

"Suddenly I realised that I should have to shoot the elephant after all...it was at this moment, as I stood there with the rifle in my hands that I grasped the hollowness, the futility of the white man's domination in the East. Here was I, the white man with his gun, standing in front of unarmed native crowd--seemingly the leading actor in the piece; but in reality I was only an absurd puppet pushed to and fro by the will of those yellow faces behind. I perceived in this moment that when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom he destroys. He becomes a sort of hollow posing dummy...He wears a mask and his face grows to fit into it. I had got to shoot the elephant."

-George Orwell, "Shooting an Elephant"

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