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Free as a Bird??

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Lifestyle & Philosophy

Monday May 9th

Uganda’s conservative lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would make being gay, bisexual or trans-sexual a crime to be punished with death. While on this other side of the globe, people of Amsterdam have a festival that celebrates gay pride. Is this the difference between being free and not being free?

I was born in Bolivia, a country, just like many countries in Latin America, that has undergone multiple political transformations. When my mother was about my age (during the 1970s), she experienced an oppressive and dangerous military government. Democracy was nothing but just a word, and silencing people with a bullet was a daily activity. Along with friends she fought for the right to have a voice, the right to an education of her choice, the right to be able to read the books she wanted and listen to the music she loved.

Today, western world young generations need not to worry about oppression the way people did twenty or thirty years ago. As a young woman it could be said that I have all the freedom I can possibly have. Though, am I really free as a bird? I can recognize that in this part of the West I have a lot of choices and options. However, there are new ways that prevent people from being free, and truly experiencing freedom. One of these is the labeling and stereotyping of people, and the present but never talked about racism, sexism, and discrimination towards community members from all different backgrounds. We do not need to be in Uganda to witness hatred, because it’s still happening every day, everywhere.

Yes, in this country I can post whatever I want on the Internet. Yes, I can wear what I want. Yes, I can sleep with whomever I want. Yes, I can pray or not pray to whatever god I feel like praying to… But am I free? Maybe this only gives us the impression of freedom; perhaps it gives us the idea that we no longer have anything to fight for because we live in a "free society".

Today I have the luxury to say that freedom is an abstract concept, and that it means something else to everyone. However, even living in a place where I have the opportunity to express myself, I still need to seek freedom. While doing a bit of research for this piece I ran into a quote by Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stenson (who wrote 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'), that says:

"To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you, you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive."

Freedom is something that I need to find within myself, as I need to find the strength to follow my lead instead of following others.


Photo © Andrea Huls

 

Andrea

AndreaAndrea loves photography, filmmaking and writing. She dreams about travelling the world and learning new things. Inspired by strong driven people, she aims to be one too.

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To change bad habits, we must study the habits of successful role models.

Om slechte gewoontes te veranderen, moeten we de gewoontes van succesvolle rolmodellen bestuderen.

Jack Canfield