As a follow-up to last week’s editorial on current events, I’m dedicating this week’s column to everyone’s favorite concept: freedom. If event in Egypt have taught us anything it is this: true power lies within the wishes of the people, many of those people are our peers, and they have a much greater appreciation for freedom than we’ll ever be able to understand.
(Former) Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak bowed to the power of the people on Friday morning following over two weeks of protest and a similar event in neighboring Tunisia. The protestors did not stage a bloody coup (although the military did kill ~300 people), they achieved revolution through non-violent means. Their weapons were websites. While Twitter and Facebook might be a time-waster in the US, they have been the tools of regime change in the Middle East. However, the true power of the people did not lie in their cunning use of social media; rather it was their goal that displaced a dictator.
Freedom is an impressive thing. In the course of history millions have sacrificed their lives for freedom, honoring it above their own well-being. Freedom, you see, has weightier implications than most Americans can comprehend. As someone who is four generations out from emigration, I am entirely comfortable with the concept of freedom- a fact which may lead to some apathy about its true meaning.
Watching the Egyptian people overcome fear to embrace freedom has had me thinking: what does freedom actually mean? How does it affect my life? How will it affect the future? These are all questions without quick answers. If people half a world away, who are my same age, are willing to die for freedom shouldn’t I at least consider how important freedom actually is? Take some time this week to stop and think. Ask: What does freedom mean to me?