Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Pendulum Swings

"Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started, is no reason for us not to try to win."
--Atticus Finch

I've been trying to decide how to approach this subject, or whether to address it at all. I try to stay away from politics on this blog. My own political views are independent, and personal. But this is not an issue of politics.

It's an issue of freedom.

I was barely politically aware in 1989, at the time of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. But I will forever have, burned in to my memory, the image of a defiant young protestor facing down a Chinese tank.

In Iran, right now, there is massive upheaval over the results of the recent elections. The regime in power claims a landslide victory. The people in the streets say otherwise.

And the world is watching.

Make no mistake. There are no free and democratic elections in that part of the world. Elections are held simply to bolster the strength and image of the parties in power. The outcome is never in doubt.

Until the people have had enough.

Until they decide to take a bullet, over the status quo.

Until they determine to live free, or die.

That's when the pendulum swings.

Freedom isn't a bestowal from on high. It is won, from the ground up. Your freedom is seized, and held, either by you, or by someone else. It is maintained through determination, and eternal vigilance. And sometimes by blood.

"The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed, from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
--Thomas Jefferson

That is great rhetoric.

But watching the birth of liberty isn't always pleasant, is it? And, in the world we live in, this revolution isn't taking place half a world away, it's in our homes. It's on our phones. And that may be it's saving grace.

I believe that greater freedom anywhere, is greater freedom everywhere.

I don't know how this will end. In Tiananmen Square, it ended in blood and death and repression. But it planted a seed. And, in Iran, as in (and even more than) China, this cannot be ignored. It cannot be swept away and written out of the history books. It has happened.

It is happening.

And we are all witnesses.

"The birthday of a new world is at hand. We have it within our power to begin the world all over again."
--Thomas Paine


Mom24 said...

Beautiful post.

I hope the will of the people will win out in Iran. Unfortunately, it looks like the government is starting to get the upper hand. It's a very powerful reminder to me of just how much we (I) take for granted.

Alex @ I'm the Mom said...

I don't pretend to understand or know what is going on around our world. I do not watch or read the news and it affects me far too much.

However, I do want to say that you wrote a beautiful post Chris. It was well written and I could hear you speaking what your wrote.

Kelly Deneen Raymond said...

You write beautifully. It is so hard to watch from afar, but thank goodness we do know what is going on elsewhere. Technology gives us that at least.

Holly said...

Like Alex (I think), I don't know all the details of what's going on in Iran. But I feel so proud of those protesters. That really takes guts, especially in a country like that.