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Thursday, July 14, 2005

Happy Bastille Day!

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!
(Fraternity... its not just for alcoholics anymore!)

For those of you unaware, July 14th is Bastille day in France (and I guess wherever French people are, like Canada). It is the frilly equivalent of our 4th of July, in that it marks the common man's revolt in 1789 against all things monarch, but didn't reach its full aims until sometime around 1875. History lesson over.

If you'd like to learn more, check out many of the wonderful books on the subject at your
local library , or read this article I found about it on the world wide web, located here.

Having recently celebrated our own independence from the unrighteous tyranny of the British Monarchy, Bastille day reminded me of other countries' own fight for their own independence. Both the American Revolution and the French Revolution and the Taking of the Bastille go to show that a people oppressed can only be oppressed for so long before they get so fed up that they change things for the better. Both America and France did this on their own (though the French did step in and help us battle the British in our revolution, kinda funny when you think about it, after 9/11 a big French hating spree occurred, when in all actuality, if not for the French we would still be drinking tea and having extraordinary vacation and sick day packages at our jobs, but I digress)

And all of this started me thinking about the Freedom of Iraq. When they look back years down the road are they going to take the pride in their freedom that we do, even though we handed it to them?

Is freedom given, as sweet as freedom boldly fought for?

Will they look back on the day Bush declared Mission Accomplished aboard an aircraft carrier as their independence day?

Will they make movies about aliens attacking them on their independence day, and a small group of brave, zany, and in some cases a little crazy fighters, fighting back, against all odds to defeat this juggernaut from the stars?

It makes me wonder, if France were still horribly ruled by Monarchs (the kings and such, not the butterflys... though... that would be funny) today, would we feel it our obligation to give them their freedom? Or would we be friendly with King Louis XXXXIV while it benefits our nation, and then once he tries to kill our dad (or raise the price of wine) we decide its time for the frenchies to be free?

Also, it took France almost a hundred years to throw off the yoke of oppression, will it take that long in Iraq?

I think the biggest thing I realized is that in both the American and French revolution, it took the entire population coming together to beat their oppressors, whereas in Iraq, once we over threw Saddam, we still had a country full of differing opinions. Apparently Saddam wasn't so bad as the British or French monarchs that it forged a common bond among the Iraqi people to put aside their differences to come together to create a free country. Instead, we are fighting factions that merely wish to replace Saddam with themselves. Now, I'm not saying that there aren't some Iraqi people who want peace and equality (except for women), the numbers reported of men showing up to join the Iraqi army (or whatever) were astounding, but it seems like the country is still torn over who should rule, and how.

And I'm not saying we should pull out of Iraq before we can honestly say we made a positive difference. We committed ourselves to this path, and the only upright thing to do is to finish it. I support our troops for their honor, courage and dedication to our country (or to paying off their college loans), and respect their decision to stand up for what they believe in. I don't think that we should have gotten involved in the war when we did, but now that we are there, we have to see it through.

But I do hope that we learn from this in the future. I hope we discover that freedom can't be forced on a people that don't want it. That freedom can't be handed out like food, medicine, education or health care (which are all much better ways to achieve freedom, after all a healthy, well-fed, educated population is the best defense against tyranny) . That a people will be free when they can join together to fight on their own for that freedom.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." ~Thomas Paine

"In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved." ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

"We have to call it "freedom": who'd want to die for "a lesser tyranny"?" ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

"Freedom is not enough." ~Lyndon B. Johnson

"Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance." ~Woodrow Wilson

"Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches." ~Will Rogers

Posted by timothy :: Direct Link 2 comments

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