A few years ago, I was coming back from football practice in Beirut with my friend. We were on our way to Antelias where my friend would drop me, because that was where our roads diverged. It was a long way back, due to the massive midweek rush hour traffic. We stopped at a red light, and I started looking at some graffiti designed on a wall to my right. Suddenly, one very special one caught my eye. The following design said: “Freedom will never come for free”.
Throughout the rest of the trip, I kept thinking about that phrase; how much does freedom cost? If it has a price, is it worth it?
Jean-Paul Sartre once said: “We [the French] have never had freedom so much as under German occupation”. You do not understand the worth of something or someone until it is gone.
Freedom is everything we are and use. As I write this article, I use a very common human right called the ‘freedom of speech’; this freedom allows me to state my point of view and share it with everyone. Still, a question remains: if freedom of speech is right, why can’t everyone make use of it? Sadly, in this world, many leaders brainwash the people to have them think just as the governors want them to. A right – which is an aspect of freedom – is free of charge in the sense that one does not pay in order to gain that right. However, in some places, conditions make people value such liberty just as much as they would do for gold. In this case, that right could be worth everything, because it is the key to a better life.
Therefore, whoever drew that graffiti on the wall purposely wanted to tell society that many rights are violated; and so a lot of people live in subhuman conditions. Think of Palestine. Think of the Chechen people. These two societies are the perfect examples of people living unacceptable lives, due to the violation of their rights by more powerful nations, who only care about their own interests. By the simple fact of planning such things, one is no longer free, because one’s freedom stops when it intoxicates another person’s freedom.
No matter how many rights, or signs of liberty, are taken away from you, you always have the freedom to make the following choice: to rather die for your rights or live the rest of your life as a robot. Yes! A robot! Once you lose all your rights, you will not be able to make a decision anymore; you will be forced to do what people tell you to do. Is this the kind of life you want?
Today, I understood what that graffiti meant.
Freedom is free.
The only price we have to pay for freedom is the freedom of choosing freedom.
Fight for your rights.
Life is worth the fight for freedom. It will come for free. You just have to set your mind to it.
“I do not hope for anything. I do not fear anything. I am free.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis