Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Do We have Freedom in the World Today?

Do We Have Freedom in the World Today?

Maryam Sakeenah

The Western world prides itself for its values of freedom and democracy, and has used the excuse of freedom and the like to justify so many of its bloody adventures. Afghanistan was humbled with bombs for the Divine Cause of Freedom. Iraq was torn apart for the same Glorious Cause. The message is clear: the U.S and its allies reserve the right to occupy and plunder as they please, to impose globally their cult and the sham values they believe in, simply because it claims to champion the cause of freedom and liberty.

A much-touted word, how does one define freedom? If the West, particularly the U.S sets the standard of freedom and if its society epitomizes human freedom and individual liberty, how must one understand its meaning? Does freedom then mean a permissive society where one is free to fornicate, do drugs, drink vodka to the seams? Is the topless woman on the dance floor entertaining the ogling onlookers the epitome of the free woman? Can the meaning of freedom be constricted into the dark hole of the free sex zone?

Or, on the political level, does freedom for you mean putting hundreds of thousands in animal cages at Guantanamo and subjecting them to inhuman atrocities without so much as a shred of evidence or proof of crime? Or does it mean occupying states to implant unpopular stooges and puppet regimes on nations reduced to war-torn rubble by U.S-made bombs?

Universal values cannot be twisted to fit narrow expedient definitions. Freedom means being free to discover and live your God-given humanity that makes you ‘The Best Creation.’ It means the freedom to choose your direction and then freely pursue it, without fear of deliberate obtrusion in the path: free of the worry of where the next meal will come from, free of the fear of someone spying on you from the CIA Headquarters, lying in wait to drop the next bomb; free of the fear that another will infringe on your rights, on what you hold dear. Freedom means being free to improve the quality of your life (not merely in material terms), to reach its meaning and purpose, and be free to pursue it. It means the freedom to attend to the needs of the spirit, it means to be free to hear clearly the voice within and not let anyone put fingers in your ears, to let that still, small voice mark out the path for you, helping you to use your God-given abilities the best way, for the best purpose. Freedom means that the whole socio-political system and its institutions conspire together to protect your humanity and to facilitate you on your freely chosen path in life; that no one limits your choices or hinders you from making the right choice by drilling prejudice and bias, or by using propaganda that makes robots of men; that the reality, God-made, would be unclouded, unhidden by guile for you to see, understand and carve out your road to it. Freedom is the freedom to be fully human.

Do we have freedom in the world today? And is the West its real upholder?

In Afro-Asian developing countries, the scars of the West’s colonialist adventures are still alive. In those colonialism-ravaged societies, the first light of real freedom is still elusive. South American societies reflect the economic exploitation, criminal neglect and indifference of the powers that be. Muslim States, having replaced Communism as Enemy Number One, are fair game_ either under direct occupation or remote-control occupation through unpopular pro-West dictators. Instead of freeing their people from poverty, hunger, illiteracy, unemployment and disease, they fight the U.S’s dirty wars on home ground. For instance, the ‘crackdown against militants’ especially on American demand in Waziristan goes on in the face of intense opposition and public disapproval. But that does not matter as long as the remote-control Occupier in the White House casts his approving glance.

Across the Great Divide, Western societies do no better. As G8 leaders meet to write the fates of nations and peoples, a few stage protests on the streets, enfeebled, ineffectualized. They don’t matter. On Western news channels, the mayhem unleashed on hundreds of innocent civilians in Palestine and Lebanon as a result of Israel’s offensive forms part of the routine news, a very normal event in the ill-fated territory. On the same channels, Hezbollah’s counter-attack killing eight is flashed across screens as ‘BREAKING NEWS.’ The viewer, safely distanced from the heart of the crisis in his comfortable apartment, is duped, brain-controlled. Predictably, public opinion in Western states is sympathetic to formidable Israel’s ‘right to self-defence.’ A telling coincidence: hundreds of thousands gather in the streets of a German city for the funeral of a dog that was killed chasing a criminal. They pay the animal rich accolades, and shed tears for it. Newspapers carry pictures of sore-eyed German fans shedding tears as their team couldn’t make it to the FIFA World Cup Final. On the other side of the page is a picture of a Paletinian girl shedding tears over the corpse of her young brother killed in an Israeli gunship attack on her village. The tears in the World Cup match, on the dog’s funeral and while watching a movie poignantly reflect God-made human sentiment steering directionless, wandering blindly. Innate human compassion and sympathy is steered cleverly away from the shocking injustice and oppression on human societies and seeks its expression in meaningless ways.

Drunken with the American Dream, starry-eyed Americans strengthen the hands of the oppressors simply because the oppression they unleash is in far-off lands and on people who_ as their leaders and their media tell them_ are subhuman ‘blacks and Islamists’. And so, it doesn’t take away their comfort. They eat, they drink, they make merry, they take their dogs to the park everyday. As the media and the lifestyle choked with the comfort of multinational brands dumbs down the nation, they lose their ability to think out of the box, to ask, to question, to discover for themselves. They have been robbed of their freedom to be their selves. Humanity today is terribly sinned-against by those who hate freedom, but pretend to be its upholders in order to play safe their ugly Great Game. It is a terrible deception_ millions of citizens of the most prosperous nations, living lives lesser than human, lesser than themselves, robbed of the freedom to choose; living plugged in to simulated reality.

‘Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains,’ said Rousseau.

Freedom will be attained when we begin to see and realize that we are gagged, blinded, deafened, dumbed down, and when we begin to identify the agents that cast all these chains in our necks. Allah makes us free by giving us a free will and the freedom to choose when we come into the world, but the treachery of those at the helm limits the choices and imposes stereotypes for expedient ends. Freedom will be attained when we turn back to that God-given, natural state, the state of ‘fitrah’ (innate natural essence) by saying ‘No!’ to these false gods who have subjected us to their oppressive rule; to the gods of the lustful Self and its animal desires fanned by permissive societies; to power, fame, money, wealthy lifestyles, the America Way… This denial of ‘La ilah’ (No god) will make us take away the ‘right’ of these false-gods to subjugate, and will make us willing submitters to the Only Rightful Owner of our lives. When the space created by the denial of ‘La ilah’ is filled up by the realization of the Only One Truth, self-discovery is possible. The soul is set free, and life begins with the acceptance of ‘il al lah’ (except Allah).