What does freedom mean to you?

I asked this question recently of my friends on FB, and got a great mix of replies.

It is a hard question to answer. It’s one of those naval-gazing opportunities, because if we have time to question what it means, I’d say, we have the freedom of time to consider the answer.

If you are not free, you would more likely to be too busy living within whatever subjugation you are suffering. However, you probably would be able to answer far quicker, knowing exactly what freedom would mean to you.

Those of us taking time to answer because we feel we are already free should be grateful for those freedoms, and recognise that many in the world are not as lucky as we are.

Many, of the answers to the question, not surprisingly related to lockdown, and the definition of freedom when we are ‘allowed out’.

Answers were: being able to hug my children, my grandchildren, my family and friends and the ability to travel to wherever we want, without limitations.

A few other people took a broader view; having free speech; choosing to do what we want, when we want and a poignant response, ‘what I dreamt of when I didn’t have it’.

Choice is not a universal

Freedom for me means having choices, and importantly, being able to choose who I love without persecution.  Had I been born in some countries, this may not be true.

In some cultures marriages are arranged, and if you love someone of the same gender, your life may be threatened.

I still find it unbelievable to recognise that had I lived during the time of apartheid in South Africa, I couldn’t have been legally married to Conrad, just because of the different colours of our skin. This ended in 1994, the year after we met.

There are still places around the world where marrying outside of your ethnicity is a problem.

Slavery was abolished hundreds of years ago, and yet today still exists in a variety of forms.

People around the world are living in poverty, and not just those in the third world.  People live with abusive partners; in fear of sexual assault; attacked for their religious and political beliefs…. And so it goes on.

When we come out of lockdown, some of our freedoms will be curtailed for however long required, but they will be for the safety of others and ourselves.  Those freedoms are nothing compared to the ones that many people in the world still seek and desire.

“Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish? Nothing else.”