Christian Science Monitor
'Live within the truth'
Global freedom has suffered increasing assaults. The words of Václav Havel offer encouragement.
December 24, 2007
Vladimir Putin is Time's "Person of the Year"? What about Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov, forced to withdraw his presidential bid because of state harassment? What about Burma's monks, beaten into silence? Standing for freedom is much harder than suppressing it.
Liberty around the world has taken it on the chin, and worse, this year, no small thanks to Mr. Putin. Freedom House, a nonprofit which tracks the progress of civil and human rights, concludes that 2007 saw an "increased assault" on freedom. This follows a decade of "freedom stagnation."
When rights are under attack is exactly the time when individuals need to take a stand for them. Václav Havel, the former anti-Communist dissident from Prague, talks about this in an essay called "The Power of the Powerless." He wrote it 11 years before the 1989 "Velvet Revolution" brought democracy peacefully to what was then-Czechoslovakia.
Imagine, he posed, that one day a greengrocer no longer places a propaganda slogan in his shop window, then stops voting in farcical elections. The grocer starts to say what he thinks at political meetings and even expresses solidarity with those whom he supports.
"In this revolt the greengrocer steps out of living within the lie," wrote Mr. Havel. "He discovers once more his suppressed identity and dignity. He gives his freedom a concrete significance. His revolt is an attempt to live within the truth." Of course, the grocer's actions invite consequences. For Havel, standing for truth brought imprisonment; for others, it costs their life.
In itself, the greengrocer's action has no power, Havel continues. Its potency lies in the light it sheds on his surroundings – light that others see. That is what gives it power, and why, he maintains, living the truth is the greatest threat to autocratic governments built on lies.
Leading such a life is easier in some places than others. In Venezuela this fall, university students successfully campaigned against a constitutional referendum that would have allowed President Hugo Chávez to run for president indefinitely. Mr. Chávez vilified the students, who also personally watched over ballot boxes to insure the integrity of the vote. The referendum failed.
In Pakistan, lawyers and others staged protests this year against emergency rule and manipulation of the Supreme Court. Media images of attorneys in suits and ties, hurling tear-gas shells back toward police, shone a light – Havel's metaphor – on injustice.
Those pictures helped pressure President Pervez Musharraf to give up his military title and formally end emergency rule in advance of next month's elections, though their fairness is still in doubt. Pakistan's lawyers met with some success. But that is not the case for many defenders of liberty who patiently carry on in the face of hopelessness and repression.
- [NOTE: So Bhutto is dead. Hey, that's how the Islamists do it. And these are the people who want to set up shop here in the US?]
Burma's military brutally dispersed protesting monks in September. Will they regroup and try again? Like Havel, who later became president of a free Czechoslovakia, those who take a stand for liberty don't know when their actions will bear fruit. But they persist. Small or large, their actions expose repression for the lie that it is, and radiate encouragement to others who seek to live freedom's truth.
RANT: Is it just me, or is the CS Monitor missing the point here? Seems to me that the CSM is ignoring the attack on freedom within our own shores, where there is evidence aplenty that we have just such a condition of intellectual dishonesty - of Orwellian blindness right here in the US.
Islamic terrorists are afoot, doing what they do. So the politicians, aided by the MSM, pound us over the heads daily, hourly, for example, with memes of the so-called "War On Terror". A dizzying array of government policies, wars, and expenditures are given legitimacy under the cover of such false hysteria. Go after the
terrorists Islamists, and stop trying to export Democracy. The rag-heads are sitting on all the oil, which gives them money & power? Declare war on them and kick their ass into the next world. That's all.
At the rate we're going in America, the Socialists will soon have complete control over the federal government - the masses have been positioned to swallow damn near anything dangled on the hook of TV - TV being the main means of disseminating the PC, multicultural bait. Like an animal swallowing a piece of meat that has a coiled steel spring inside, we ignore the disaster which awaits us at the hands of militant secularism - the demise of freedom, the end of sovereignty.
Americans must come to see that it is we who are living the lie by swallowing the multicultural bait, and professing to celebrate diversity - when in fact we have dropped to our knees at the alter of Totalitarianism, awaiting absolution which will never come.
This madness has it's root in man's unwillingness to accept the divine reflected within himself - being unwilling to worship the divine, he must bow to a lesser god, which has many names and faces. It is in the names of these gods that all the attrocities throughout history are committed.
To borrow from Thoreau, we are already "living a life of quiet desperation"; we have already entered Chief Seattle's prophetic vision: ..."the end of living and the beginning of survival".
What can we do? We must stop living within the lie, and live within the truth. Do you believe the secular humanists have destroyed our system of public education? There you go...We can begin by taking back the public square from the atheistic secular humanists, and that includes the public arena of your child's school. We must demand, not ask, for our values to be taught to our children. If the schools will not teach them properly, then the schools must be shut down. If we do not do this, then our only alternative is to hunker down, and "live the lie".
Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to prosecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Christian Science Monitor
Posted by No Apology at 6:25 PM