Libertas Supra Omnia

Posted on March 4, 2010

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As written for The March 18 Movement

Freedom of expression.

A term that weighs different on the scales of every individual. Be it invisible fetters that hold back tears, or physical restraints that gag your right to scream. Be it the dread of a tyrant’s wrath, or the fear of thoughts out loud breaking that bubble of denial.

We all have our own hurdles to overcome, our own liberties to fight for. For freedom is most valued and most dear to the ones for whom it is forbidden. For only the shackled truly get to taste in full effect the sweetness of liberty.

Now I’m no polical blogger; preferring instead to take the more cushioned route of broadcasting a few select whimsical musings. Not because I fear for my life, but solely because I’m not passionate enough about a subject to give political science the justice it deserves.

But for those who do; for those who choose to assert their hypotheses/ideologies onto print or online realms, more often than not they do so at the risk of their own lives. Knowing very well that they are provoking the ire of the government they’re resisting or the influential figure they oppose.

As human beings we have a societal duty towards the one another. When two people are in danger, they’re in it together. When a whole community is in peril, they all fear with each other. When an entire nation has a crisis, every single individual is at risk.

So when made aware of a potential threat, will you not warn your neighbour? When informed of impending danger, will you not signal the others?

In most Western nations, anti-regime blogs aren’t given a second glance; the governments preferring instead to ignore the opposition and in some (very rare) cases make an actual effort to  resolve the existing conundrum. But in countries with high sensitivities, a passionate anti-administration blogpost is quite literally (and rather cliche’edly) a matter of life and death.

With media censorship causing a serious problem in the relaying of information, most reporters resort to blogging or other online forums to get their message across. To inform the public of what they have learnt, but cannot be said ‘out loud.’

It is incumbent however, that in spite of the licenses bestowed on us by online forums, it is our moral obligation as bloggers, tweeters and purveyors of information, to tread responsibly. In factual reportage to make sure our sources are verified, and in the expression of opinions to ensure that our viewpoints are not baseless’ly declared.

We all have a responsibility towards the leaders that govern us, and to the parliament we represent.

Having said that however, but what if they disappoint? If a friend (let alone a foe) does something to displease, will you not let it be known? If your meal was unsatisfactory, will you not reflect that in your review?

And when it boils down to the voicing of opinions or feelings being emoted, no one (technically) has the right to tell you you’re wrong. Quashing an individual’s right to speech is on par with nullifying thought. Synonymous even, with the censorship of expression as a whole.

The principal questions still linger. How far does the horizon of the term ‘freedom’ take us, and who allocates these boundaries? Who are we responsible for (putting Divinity aside), and who is that has the right to stop us?

Is expressing dissatisfaction a crime punishable by law? Deserving of the death sentence even? If so, how is it then that the punishment delivered for the articulation of a personal viewpoint is on level with the charge doled out for the assassination of a human life?

The March18 movement was created in memory of Omid Reza Mir Sayafi, an Iranian blogger and journalist who died in Evin Prison in Tehran on the 18th of March 2009. The movement intends on commemorating this day to highlight the risks taken by bloggers around the world, when all they want to do is tell their story.

Omid was the first blogger to die in prison. Let him also be the last.

To show your support for the movement visit www.march18.org

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Posted in: Blog, morality, Published