Friday, July 04, 2008

Freedom is not Free


An inscription at the Korean War Memorial at the National Mall in Washington, DC reads "FREEDOM IS NOT FREE". Yes, indeed, it is not! The price for the freedom that Ethiopians in America enjoy was paid for by the blood and tears of hundreds of thousands of soldiers who fought and died in foreign and domestic wars (excluding the so-called Indian Wars) wearing the uniforms of the United States Armed Forces. This freedom was also equally paid for by the thousands of civil rights activists who fought a valiant "peaceful war" against racism and injustice in the US. So, we should never take this freedom we enjoy for granted. One day, hopefully soon, Ethiopians in the motherland will enjoy the same freedoms that we enjoy in the US. But, it is imperative that Ethiopians opt for "peaceful war" to attain their freedom. Happy Independence Day!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who ever posted this article is an enlightened person. He expressed the feeling that has long been brewing in my soul in few words. Thank you man

enset said...

This posting and all other postings on Enset blog that are published by 'enset' are posted by me (Fikru Helebo). The exceptions are those articles that clearly state who the author of the article is on the by line.

Anonymous said...

Hey Fikru,
I have been wondering about you. Why are so quiet? Please write some more.

enset said...

Thanks for your concern. I have been busy with job and family responsibilities the last few months. As a result, I have not been following Ethiopian politics much. I am trying to come up to speed on what I have missed and I will start writing soon.

Anonymous said...

"Freedom is not free" I agree 100%. Beyond that, you can say noting is free, somebody have to pay for it.

That said; I like to add “Slogan is not enough” in my whole life, I yet to find an intellectual in North America or Europe who can mobilize the population for the “right causes” of freedom, democracy, economic justice, for famine victims, genocide victims, education, women rights, and the like. In fact, it is so bad, the only inclusive institution in North America I know of the Ethiopian Soccer Federation in North America.

If you please do an article/research why we failed our people to be their natural advocate beyond above protest and how we can overcome it, it would great service to change our attitude to form formal institutions to advocate for our people.

For example; Famine is a direct result of governance, greed of the ruling parties, lack of representation, food as a weapon of submission etc. But as Ethiopians we could not come together on a common issue of at least irradiating famine but the usual crocodile tears. So many others issues to protect our people are yet to be addressed.

Keep up the good work

Good bless

Chereka said...

With all due respect Fikru and anonymous # 1, I think this saying "Freedom is not Free" is load of propaganda crap. It is just another way to get people riled up so they will support whatever the government tells them to. In addition it being a propaganda, it is also an oxymoron. Of course freedom is free! In fact, it is the freest thing that a human being has. Everyone is born free and that is how it should be. No one should pay a price for his right from birth. It is the type of 'freedom' our rulers with guns are kind enough to grant us that is not free. Some tell us what freedoms we have using their power, and others, in a more sinistrous kind of way, brainwash us and tell us what we need to do to 'earn' our freedom. So, it is nothing more than a propaganda just like we had the past. THe US has always needed to scare or brainwash its citizens into accepting the war it waged around the world as 'just'. In the 40's and 50's it was the "Red Scare" and "Better Dead than Red" to demonize Russians. In the 60's and 70's it was the Chinese and Viet Cong with "Defending the Free World rom the Communist threat". In the 70's and 80's back to Russia 'The Evil Empire' with the 'cold war' threat. In the 90's and now it is 'Freedom isn't free' and waging war against a tactic or ideology called 'terrorism' since US seems to have run out of real enemies like a real country.

I also disagree with you on your statement about the blood and trears American soldiers paid for our 'freedom'. Those soldiers who died in almost all those wars the US has been involved in is not for our or Americans' 'freedom'. With the possible exception of WW II (and even that is disputed) all the wars the US has been in, from the Mexica American war to the current Iraq war, there is only one goal. It is to enrich the people at the top and the corpotrations which run the country. Period! But slogans like 'freedom isn't free' have to be told so the poor and ignorant can go and fight the rich man's war. Please read "Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace " by Gore Vidal to get a good understanding of the US invlovement in the world. However, I agree with the point on the civil rights activits and the price they paid for our freedom.

Ephrem Madebo said...

Chereka,

I liked your well said idea of "freedom is free" without discarding the freedom notion of Fikru.Yes, freedom is a free gift of God for humanity. If we were supposed to pay for it, we all would have been perpetual slaves. However, there are those who take our God given right and put a price tag on our own freedom. This sad and wicked incident makes us fight for freedom and pay a big price for it. I share most of the things you said about America.

Chereka said...

Thank you Ephrem. I also agree with your comment on how some people try to put a price tag on our freedoms. Our challenge is to guard against the peple who take advantage of issues and situations to enslave others. I suppose that is the question - trying to find the balance between the 2 extremes.

Thanks again

enset said...

Chereka,

I appreciate the perspective you bring to issues and I do learn from them at times. But, in this instance, I do not feel I learned much. Thanks for the suggested reading. I will put it in my to-read list. I agree with you that all human beings are born free. But that is where our agreement ends, at the delivery table. From birth on, we are only free only to the extent that our inalienable right to freedom is respected by the government of the land that we happen to be born in. Unfortunately, in far too many cases, the freedom of life itself for those who are conceived but not yet born is not even respected.

As far as I am concerned, there is no country on the face of the earth which comes even remotely close to the level of sacrifice that the United States has paid to advance the cause of freedom. You may choose to pooh-pooh the sacrifices that American soldiers have paid in the past and continue to make at present as just a means to "enrich the people at the top and the corporations which run the country", but it won't change the fact that it is precisely these sacrifices that allow you and me to enjoy the freedoms that we do enjoy as Americans. I wish human beings had no need for a government to enjoy our God-given freedoms. Unfortunately, humans were inherently incapable of achieving that with out a government, and thus the invention of a necessary evil that humans can't live with out. In the history of mankind, the American government stand head and shoulders above any in "allowing" its citizens to enjoy their freedoms. It is true that America still has ways to go before all her citizens can enjoy their God-given freedoms to the maximum extent possible. It is also true that the American government has at times been involved in wars that are/were clearly unjust, but I believe that is more of the exception than the norm. History is a witness and Reagan was right -- America is still the shining light on top of a hill! As to the Mexican-American war, that was a war between two colonizers and I am glad the Americans came out on top!

Chereka said...

Well, thanks for the nice words. I do learn from your blog and perspective as well.

So let me see if I get this. You are saying that our natural freedom, the freedom that we are born with ends as soon as we are out of our mothers’ wombs? And then our freedom will virtually be ‘handed’ over to whatever government happens to be in power? You sound like you are content with that kind of ‘freedom’. Hmm, I am not sure I call that freedom. I’d like to think that I am in charge of my own freedom, not hand it over to a gov’t or a group. Actually, reading your comment little further, I am not even sure that is the case in most cases since you also said

“Unfortunately, in far too many cases, the freedom of life itself for those who are conceived but not yet born is not even respected.”

So therefore, the government may even have our rights while we are being conceived?

Be that as it may, my point is that as long as we accept sayings like “freedom is not free” we are also accepting that our freedom is dictated by what someone else is telling us, in that they are putting a price on it. My argument is that my freedom is not negotiated by someone else’s agenda. So this ‘freedom is not free’ thing is a propaganda tactic to appeal to people’s emotion to mobilize the mass for their purpose. You also said

"As far as I am concerned, there is no country on the face of the earth which comes even remotely close to the level of sacrifice that the United States has paid to advance the cause of freedom."

Can I ask you to give me one example with the exception of WW II which as I have mentioned as debatable, that the US has paid to advance the cause of freedom?

Fikru, first of all, I’d have to accept the premise that American soldiers have paid sacrifices for me in order to pooh-pooh it. My point is that there are no sacrifices that the US soldiers paid for me, for my natural freedom’s sake, that I know of which makes me appreciate them. I don’t know about you Fikru, but as far as I am concerned, the US has caused more grief and disaster than any other nation in the world and those are the facts.

It is also interesting that you make these points at a time when civil rights and even universal rights are being trashed by the United States in the name of ‘defending against terrorism’. The Constitution is being trashed, innocent people are being kidnapped and tortured around the world, sovereign nations are being occupied for manufactured reasons, dissidents are being harassed and even being imprisoned. This is being done by the US. Now if you chose to ignore all these facts, then there is nothing else I can say or do except to provide you the facts and evidence.

I also am not sure I agree with your point that humans were ‘inherently incapable’ of enjoying our ‘God-given freedoms’. History has shown that humans were perfectly capable of living a peaceful life without the intrusion of outside force. America itself is a perfect example. Native Americans were living a peaceful life until Europeans came and took their land by force and imposed their way of governing.

"In the history of mankind, the American government stand head and shoulders above any in "allowing" its citizens to enjoy their freedoms. It is true that America still has ways to go before all her citizens can enjoy their God-given freedoms to the maximum extent possible. It is also true that the American government has at times been involved in wars that are/were clearly unjust, but I believe that is more of the exception than the norm."

It is funny that there is always that caveat, that “we are not perfect” disclaimer every time someone points out the inequities and faults the US. The interesting thing is every country in the world, including our own dictator Meles, uses that same line. So, where does that put the US?

I am sorry Fikru, but I guess my version of history is very different from yours. The US, especially in the last 30 years, which coincidentally is the start of the so called “Reagan Revolution’ has started heading towards Fascism and that move is being accelerated by Bush currently. Oh and BTW that saying “The shinning city upon a hill” was not a Reagan original, it was first said by J F Kennedy. :)

Anonymous said...

Who are all those people who say "Freedom is free"? The answer, no one.. they do not exist. It is the biggest straw-man ever created by the right-wing.