|Posted on July 8, 2011 at 11:30 PM|
This is my song * oh God of all the nations * A song of peace for lands afar and mine
This week in the US we celebrated Independence Day. We “let freedom ring” with fireworks, parades and festivals. But, I have to wonder, how many people took a moment away from the barbecue to consider what freedom really means? In America I think it most often means the freedom to buy mass quantities of things, very cheaply. Most of us do not understand that consumerism fuels a world order that rewards greed and not freedom. While many here cheer the ‘Arab Spring’, and hail what they see as people desiring to have American style democracy and freedom, they don’t take the time to understand America’s role in creating the very despots the revolutionaries are seeking to overthrow. And, woe to those same revolutionaries, if their version of Democracy isn’t American enough.
This is my home * the country where my heart is * here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine
I do understand the advantages I enjoy because I was born in America. I value our constitution and the values enshrined in that document. The founding fathers, although flawed, were visionaries. They gave us a foundation of which we can be proud. The men (and women) that put their lives on the line for the conviction that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” call on us to honor their sacrifices by living up to those ideals.
But other hearts * in other lands are beating * with hopes and dreams * as true and high as mine
My personal celebration included rereading the declaration of Independence (http//www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/) It is an inspiring document. Unfortunately, too often those words have been used as a political tool of convenience – that apply to these people, but not those people.
My countries skies are bluer than the ocean * and sunlight beams * on clover leaf and pine
We cheer for the young people in Tahrir Square, but turn a blind eye to the crackdown on activists in Bahrain. We laud the change in Tunisia, but hesitate in Yemen. Libyans need our protection, while Syrians die. And over and over we tell the Palestinians to be patient and we refuse to hear the Palestinian cry for justice. Even (and this breaks my heart to say), some close to me seem to be forgetting that as stated so well by Desmond Tutu; "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
But other lands * have sunlight too and clover * and skies are everywhere * as blue as mine
I value the freedom that is promised to me, and I believe that freedom is a responsibility. I know my freedom depends on yours. So, I will continue to work in my small way for the day when all children are free to live, love, laugh, learn, cry in peace and justice, then we will all be free. That will be an Independence Day to celebrate!
Oh hear my song * oh God of all the nations * a song of peace * for their land and for mine.
~ Finlandia (Jean Sibelius)