Monday, March 23, 2009

What is Freedom?

Freedom is a never-ending search for the self. One can not talk about freedom without personalizing it. In my own words, freedom is achieving one's liberty not necessarily anchored on an objective viewpoint, but based on the needs and wants of a particular individual.

To put it more clearly, what is freedom for one may be imprisonment for the other. Therefore we could not come up with a uniformed definition of freedom, for in fact, it is very individualistic in practice and appreciation.

The Wings to Fly..

One can desire to own the wings of freedom to fly to its soul. For some, defining it and achieving it through one's personal means allows the mind to achieve unconditional peace-where one's heart can dance and sing without remorse.

Focusing on the fact that freedom is subjective in its actual form, let us therefore explore it in this article, using all other angles, outside ourselves.

One can never find the authentic essence of freedom without its complications nor can it fully exist in a vacuum. You know you have it when your thoughts and conscience are free from restraints. It is like a wind song, an aria that lasts, satisfying the soul without limits. It is an incessant desire, an invaluable passion-a passion to die for.

The Absence of Control..

Let us define freedom on the context of its absence and not on the premise of its materiality. Let us explore its relevance in the minds of many men who live from different social strata and standing from varied perspectives.

Is a rich man really free if he is being enslaved by his own avarice?

Can a poor farmer still believe in personal freedom if he has to bargain with the middlemen for his produce, and bring home a small amount of money barely enough for survival?

Can a rape victim still acquire freedom if she constantly faces the fact that her rapist remains scot-free or the worst is having to marry her own attacker just to save her family reputation?

Can an indigent still feel being personally relevant as a member of the society where he belongs if he has no single centavo to buy food for his family? Can he still say that he is free even if he has no grasp of almost everything around him?

Is the freedom to accept present in a situation when a family member is dying of cancer? It is agonizing to think that a loved one will soon be gone permanently?

Is the word "miracle" a source of freedom for a cancer patient just to lengthen her numbered days?

Freedom is absent when death approaches. Some say that dying is freedom. Perhaps from physical pain but not for those who are left behind to wallow in grief.

Freedom is unattainable if happiness is achieved but others are pained by that joy.

Freedom is lost if a bitter woman keeps stalking her perceived enemy for she allowed herself to be shallowed by hate, a consequence of an unrequited love that she nurtures for whatever purpose. She might be thinking that she wins, but in reality, it ends her dignity as a person.

NO one is free to hurt anyone. NO freedom comes without a responsibility.

Many Faces of Freedom..

We pursue all forms of freedom:Freedom from greed that corrupts power;Freedom from poverty that eats determination;Freedom from attack on personal chastity;Freedom from fatal diseases and even freedom from the evils of societal lawlessness.

Let me therefore accentuate that freedom is never without an attached responsibility. For there are people who want to enjoy freedom at the expense of those who need it badly.

Nowadays in our midst, freedom is altered by manipulating the law to suit the privileges, whims and caprices of powerful people, hence, leading to the mockery of justice, demeaning the real actuality of freedom per se.

Where is Freedom?

Who defines the law? The rich and powerful? How about the powerless? Where do they stand in the face of injustice?

Where is the freedom of the press when those who are expected to protect it are the ones responsible for its extermination? Many Filipino journalists die for the cause they fight for and get mangled both in principle and personal dignity for depending the rights of those who could not stand up for themselves.

Where is the freedom from abusers of those whose relationship is akin to an amoebic relationship? A life dysentery killing all the people around them but they deny that they are the source of the disease.

A clear example of this is the connection between a farmer and a loanshark-the farmer borrows money to till his land for his family only to get nothing after harvest for all profit went to the hands of the amoebic loanshark.

As the loanshark gets richer, the farmer becomes poorer, and this continues until the farmer meets his end-either to sell his land or die in poverty.

Where is freedom in Mindanao, the land of my forefathers and my future generation? This author refers to the decade-old problem of Muslim rebellion in Mindanao, when the fight for self-identity became a religious controversy.

Freedom is..

Freedom is an acclaimed possession, not of the wealthy but of the poor, not of the powerful but of the powerless, and not of the fighters but of the war victims.

Freedom no matter how elusive, must prevail.

Freedom in all its form is not a mask worn when essential. It is a need of the soul that obligates recognition and respect.

Borrowing the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower:

"Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die."


Walt said...

I am thankful that as a woman you live in a country where you have some freedom. And are not in a place like this poor woman:
Girl gets a year in jail, 100 lashes for adultery)
By Adnan Shabrawi

Or heaven help the poor women in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

". . . several Pakistani laws explicitly discriminate against women. In some cases they allow only the evidence of men to be heard, not of women. In particular, the Evidence Act and the Zina Ordinance, one of four Hudood Ordinances promulgated in 1979, have eroded women's rights and denied them equal protection by the law.

Women are also disadvantaged generally in the criminal justice system because of their position in society. . . . Women are particularly liable to be punished under the Zina Ordinance which deals with extramarital sexual intercourse. . . . Offences under this law attract different punishments according to the evidence on which the conviction is based. In cases where the most severe (hadd) punishments may be imposed, the evidence of women is not admissible.

"In a rape case the onus of proof falls on the victim. If a woman fails to prove that she did not give her consent to intercourse, the court may convict her of illicit sexual intercourse. . . .

"The majority of cases tried under the Hudood laws result in convictions carrying the less severe (ta'zir) punishments, but there are also some acquittals and a few convictions involving the most severe (hadd) punishments. . .

"About half the women prisoners in Pakistan are held on charges of Zina; . . . Arrests under the Zina Ordinance can be made without a magistrate first investigating whether there is any basis for the charge and issuing a warrant. As a result, women in Pakistan are often held under the Zina Ordinance for years although no evidence has ever been produced that they have committed any offence. Men frequently bring charges against their former wives, their daughters or their sisters in order to prevent them marrying or remarrying against the man's wishes. . .

"Most women remain in jail for two to three years before their cases are decided, often on the basis of no evidence of any offence."

Bai Maleiha B. Candao said...

Thanks for this info, Walt. Sorry for my delayed reply. I am busy in transferring my blogs to a new site. God bless. :)

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