Monday, May 30, 2011

Give me liberty or give me death

It is Memorial Day, a day to remember our soldiers.  And I do, with gratitude.  Their service guarantees our freedoms. 

But, I want to look beyond our borders in a strange place to find the essence of Memorial Day - the Arab Spring.  I have read that the fundamental cry of the young in the Muslim world as they fight for their own freedom and self determination is "I am a man."  It is a response to decades, perhaps centuries, of being humiliated and being tyrannized.  

Back in February I read that another rallying cry in Egypt was "Give me liberty or give me death."  And, isn't that the essence of democracy?  Isn't that the essence of America?  Isn't the very founding of America based on that powerful ideal:  liberty? freedom?  The ability of people to create their own lives out of their own responsibility?  Isn't the push for liberty in the Muslim world a culmination of an over two hundred year world wide push first declared in America in 1776?  Isn't it time for all of the world to be free?

Although there are many reasons to be afraid of the progress toward freedom and democracy in the Middle East, I am fundamentally hopeful.  I don't believe that those who risked and lost their lives throwing off the ossified tyrants of the Middle East will allow their hard won freedoms be stolen from them by newly minted religious tyrants like the Taliban or al Qaeda.  I expect democracies in the Middle East to be unlike Western democracies, but I expect that they will adhere to the fundamental ideal of allowing greater self determination of its peoples.