Freedom is Poison?
I was having an “kitchen counter discussion” with my father. The same kind of conversation repeated a million times in a million homes across the world. Multi-generational males blaming each other for the state of the world.
“Freedom is Poison.” my father says. “It is like a drug that you feel good on its way down but ultimately brings about your demise.” “Bullshit!” I reply in my mind, not wanting to destroy the harmony we so meticulously reconstructed after years of estrangement.
Why are we here if we just want to exist as slaves? Take arranged marriage for instance. Why are people still subscribe to this insanity? Millions of people today still want to control their children’s lives by choosing their mates. An Indian girl stands in front of my wife and I, telling us how she is breaking up her arranged marriage because she does not love the groom. Toby asks: “Do you need a hug.” She nods and the two women embrace with tears streaming down their cheeks. We all know the pain of not being able to live a life that is our own. Why do we impose it on our children? Freedom is Poison?
Another time, another continent. I sit on the grass in central Hong Kong. Thirty thousand people sit around me. We all watch and listen to the big screen, where mothers of Tiananmen Square victims tell their side of the story. I remember as a child, watching the news on TV when a tank pushes down the goddess of democracy. What compelled the students to speak out and die in Beijing that summer? All they wanted was to express themselves and take part in their future. Freedom is Poison?
Nelson Mandela wasted 27 years of his life in prison. Why did he refuse to be set free? Because he knows without equality, he will only be going from a small prison to a bigger one, one called South Africa. His people and his children deserve better. The world deserves better. Freedom is Poison?
I come home on a windy evening. My entrance is masked by the strong howls so no one hears me. Coat in hand, I watch my daughter playing on her stomach. She watches mama and turns her little head left and right. More than anything I want to protect my little angel. I want to give her all the best things this world has to offer. I also want to give her the power of choice.
We may choose the wrong mate and make a misery out of our lives. We may choose the wrong cause and get trampled by tanks. We may win the political war and end up with a mess of a country to govern. But we have to have the freedom to choose these things. For without choice life has no significance. Without danger life has no rewards. Without freedom our existence is simply a program run by a super being. We grow by feeling the hurt. We mature by facing the consequences. We become Man or Woman by owning the results of our decisions. Freedom in its truest form is not Poison. Freedom is the basis of our humanity. It cannot be subjugated or coerced away. It is the root of our existence.
If someone ask for my freedom they might as well ask me to surrender my testicles. So father, I love you but you are wrong! I disagree with you completely. But I give you the freedom to express your opinion. The day has come when the son surpasses the father. Thank you.
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