Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for Freedom

F is for Freedom

“The lights were out in the Christmas Island detention centre. Extinguished as they were each night at 9:30. In much the same way as the hopes of the detainees for freedom were quashed with each sunset. This was her eight day of boredom and relentless depression.

She rolled on her side and stared across the room, visualizing all the other rooms filled with restless bodies. They did nothing to exhaust themselves during the day for there was nothing to do. Often they slept from tedium which made it harder to sleep at night. Thuza imagined muffled conversations of discontent emanating from the shadows as she prayed for deliverance: death or freedom.”  From chapter 8, Ashmore Grief

Books have been written about freedom, movies made and songs sung. The concept of freedom, the experience of it, the lack of it, the search for it and the fight for it have filled the hearts and imaginations of people throughout the ages. Freedom and its sibling control are issues which preoccupy mankind, fuelling philosophical debates, and tantalizing those without it.

Certain freedoms are taken for granted by particular people in specific situations. In democratic nations we have freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association but these are not without conditions. With rights come responsibilities, and therefore it could easily be argued that there is no such thing as true freedom. There is no scope to debate the point here.

In Asmore Grief, Thuza prayed for freedom. She wanted to get out of the Immigration Detention Centre. However, escaping her incarceration would only free her from a physical prison. The trauma she suffered in there, and on her journey to Australia which she hoped was a journey to freedom, will itself become a jail. Our memories can construct liberty depriving walls around us.

We are only truly free when we realize and accept the fact that we are not as free as we think we are. I’d love to hear your thoughts on freedom? Illusory or real?

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