by Annabelle Roitzsch

Just imagine a world based on tolerance, equality, peace and individualism. How amazing would this be?

Freedom, being one of the most important words in every language, unites all of those moral attitudes in itself. Tolerance is about accepting people as they are and equality means not having any differences compared to others. But the most significant aspect is that freedom offers rights. The rights of free speech and thoughts and the rights of free and individual choice in every life situation. Sadly not all countries on earth offer those rights to everyone.

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This injustice makes humans stand up for their rights and let them fight together against their government or other political or militant groups. These people are dreaming of free life and are willing to fight for their dreams and will not hesitate until they have reached their aim. Therefore freedom mostly occurs after successful revolutions and dreadful times like wars change into peaceful periods. One of the most well-known representatives of free speech is Martin Luther King. He became famous because of his speech „I have a dream“ in front of the Lincoln Memorial. King was an activist standing against the racial segregation between people of color and whites in the United States of America.

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Other great representatives of freedom and equality are Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. The amazing and exemplary Mandela fought against the apartheid laws and policy in South Africa and went into prison for 27 years as a detainee. Like Mandela Gandhi revolted against the apartheid system in South Africa and fought for the equality of Indians as well. He was an Indian lawyer, revolutionary, resistance fighter and leader of the Indian independence movement. These three representatives stood behind the power of freedom which is even nowadays capable of mobilizing nations against criminal leaders or groups. People looking for freedom are mostly willing to give everything they have to fight for a better social basis and improved living conditions. These conditions include all political rights and the freedom of speech. But even though the dream of freedom might be the same in every human being the intention behind it and the understanding of freedom can differ because there are different living standards and conditions in the countries. People growing up in emerging nations will have different notions concerning freedom compared to most countries from the Western World. Growing up in an emerging nation without having anything except yourself and suffering from oppression and persecution people are more likely to fight against their misery than those who grew up into an almost perfect life without any restrictions or issues.

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Nevertheless freedom creates a reality which people wish to be part of and are willing to fight for. Great examples therefore are the Arab Spring and the journalists and illustrators of the satire magazine „Charlie Hebdo“ in France. Politically active journalists and illustrators lost their lives by a terrorist attack inside their office. But still other illustrators continue drawing their cartoons and get a huge encouragement from all over the world. Contributors of „Charlie Hebdo“ do not want the freedom of speech to become extinct by some criminal and religious fanatics.

The Arab Spring is a revolutionary wave of riots and civil wars in the Arab world. It began in 2010 with riots in Tunisia and affected the neighbouring states. During the Arab Spring people stood against the illiberal regimes and fought for their right of freedom and democratic elections.

While occurring in one country a liberation movement can affect adjacent states like a chain reaction.
Wherever people are demonstrating and fighting for their rights in any way freedom reveals to the problem that there is no equal or global society in which every human is treated the same.

Nowadays there are still countries or religious groups that will not accept human rights as a basis of a democratic and healthy society. Because these groups are mostly armed and spread terror, freedom is partly more important than it was at the time of Mandela or Gandhi. Achieving freedom after terrible times of suffering is like breathing again after being under water for quite a while. But although freedom in any way is an important value, it requires great responsibility. Accomplishing freedom may provide great rights but firstly those people who haven’t had freedom in years have to learn to deal with freedom. Living in a society based on freedom offers the opportunity to make own decisions but necessitate responsibility for the consequences. Therefore people mostly do not want to assume responsibility because freedom and responsibility will never go apart.

George Bernard Shaw, 1903

Because freedom and equality are the greatest pleasures mankind can have, they should be taken for granted and should be a basic requirement for each person on this planet. But still it is not common in every country on earth that a people, religious group or an individual has the same right for freedom like elsewhere, more work has to be done.


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