Monday, August 20, 2012

What has happened to freedom

I don't like to post about anything to do with politics. Its a dirty, dirty business, and everyone has their opinion, each having some validity and each being arguable. That's part of the reason why I don't belong to any group, association or organisation (apart from making a monthly donation to Greenpeace - that street hawker in Hyde Park was very convincing!).

My American readers in particular will no doubt have their own sensitivities to what I am about to post. But here goes anyway.

I find the situation with Julian Assange to be a very, very upsetting reflection of the place that Western society finds itself in 2012. As regards the charges of misconduct in Sweden - is he guilty or not? I have no doubt that he was at the very least having some naughty-boy "fun" on that occasion, and as a result he has undoubtedly left himself open to accusation. As to whether there was indeed misconduct, I cannot claim to know. But what I do know, is that I have never seen so much concerted government, police and international effort to arrest a man wanted for similar charges.

I wonder - if Assange was not a self-declared whistle-blower, would the authorities be pursuing him with the same remorseless attitude? Somehow, I really don't think so.

Can I just say for the record that I do not regard the man with the hero-worship that some accord him. Because of his rather sad childhood, the man may indeed be prone to weaknesses of the flesh. I am not pronouncing judgement on him one way or the other. In fact for me, the question of his guilt or innocence has now paled into insignificance. The far more pressing issue is that the world I once cherished as a place of freedom of expression seems dangerously close to becoming a police state.

We should all consider the current events as a warning. The actions of the UK authorities to me smacks of fear - fear of reprisal from the US. And if that's the case, since when has the relationship between the UK (and by extension the rest of the English speaking world) and the US become one of fear? Are we so afraid of America, have they really become the international bully-boy?

If that is the case then all people of right mind need to speak up NOW. In fact I am shocked that in the face of the TAA scandal, MORE Americans have not spoken up. A disturbing  meek complacency seems to have crept over the American people. As Assange said in his address this weekend, that revolutionary spirit that sparked the birth of America seems to have faded to be replaced by rigid dogmatism and totalitarianism - the very things that the Founding Fathers wanted to avoid.

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely, so perhaps it was inevitable that this occur to what was the most powerful nation on Earth. Therefore it won't be long before another nation is handed that mantle. If the European and European-descended nations forsake their own founding values, then perhaps the rise of China will be complete. It's ironic really - at a time when China is opening up to the free market, with all the decadence and the benefits that come with it, we in the West seem to be going the opposite way. (I wonder what those American-as-apple-pie  Republicans make of this?)

What I'm trying to say is that I feel disgusted and ashamed of my own culture. It only takes a quick skim of the kind of material that Wikileaks was leaking to see how corrupt the American armed forces have become. The 2007 air attacks on Baghdad make it clear that for many in the armed forces, fighting a war has lost all honour and has become little more than a glorified computer game - with human beings (aggressors and civilians alike) little more than icons on a screen to be gunned down without remorse or discrimination. Its so very sad - 70 years ago Americans fought with honour and with pride to free the world of tyranny. Now it seems, America is on the verge of becoming that tyranny.

And my own government is little better. I have never felt the need to disown my own government - now however, I do. I am so ashamed of what we are becoming, and it now falls to the people - everyone, you and me - to start demanding better. We must start with ourselves, and work our way out to the world.


  1. WOW I loved it... I hear ya. Great read and very insightful. It is getting worse and worse, isnt it???? I am quite interested in American politics; so intense!! Well, Let's band together. We can't do much else than at least BE the change we want, if no one else will be.

    Lots of love to you!!

  2. Thanks Jasmin for your kind comments. I felt sort of badly afterwards, because it is one of the major pitfalls of being on the "path", the tendency to project outwards one's own fears and shortcomings on the world "out there". As you would be aware, there are a lot of healing energies circulating at the moment and more than ever I am conscious of how important it is to be just what you say - to BE the change we want to see. If I see corruption "out there", have I truly weeded it out fully from myself? If I see violence "out there", what about my own anger issues? And so on. I do think however that if we take the attitude that we must FIGHT evil "out there", we tend to become what we fight. Hence the road that the US armed forces seems to be going down. Sad but true. Thanks again.

  3. I know! Oh Anthony you are such a gift! :) I hope you cherish your beautiful nature! :)

    BTW, I know you follow my blog I changed the name and now no updates show up on the reading pane! Kind of crappy! It went from jasminlaflamme.blogspot to celestial-blessings.blogspot – just an FYI in case you want to update your reading pane.

  4. Gosh thanks! And yes I have updated my blog list - its just that my Blogs of Interest show BOTH your blogs. Don't worry I'm keeping up

  5. I'm really inspired by this Anthony. I had written a blog on the same theme but you've managed to sum up what i originally meant to say far more eloquently

    I agree that the UK does seem to be treating Assange this way for fear of reprisal from the U.S. It seems almost to be a continuation from the same kind of relationship that Bush and Blair had a few years ago.


  6. Thanks James. My heart breaks when I read your blog. When is Might no longer going to seen & accepted as Right? When is Right going to be sufficient to be considered Right? The rumblings are happening in all of us individuals all over the world. We think we are alone, but we are not. We are together, we are one in our anger at injustice and in our burning desire for something better. It can be disheartening and discouraging at times, but there is a rolling tide of change moving through the hearts of humanity, and while it may throw into relief the evil that still exists, I still truly believe that their time is coming to an end. The beast roars and lashes out when it knows its time is near. Thanks James, I'm glad what I wrote inspired you, and it does my heart good to hear from you as well.

  7. Very insightful and VERY VERY well summarised. It IS a disproportionate amount of interest/mis-use of resources by some BIG BOYS on one individual isn't it? Certainly DOES beg the question: WHY?
    congrats Anthony - and keep it up!