The cost of Freedom

Today is freedom Day in South Africa but what does this mean?

Before I go into the politics of South Africa’s Freedom day, this week Jews around the world celebrated their freedom from slavery. Passover is a reminder that most freedom is hard fought and hard earned and that we should be grateful to be free every day of our lives.  We must teach our children about it, not with bitterness but with joy that it is done and they should move on without forgetting.

Remembering Slavery helps appreciate our freedom
Remembering Slavery helps appreciate our freedom

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”  Abraham Lincoln

“Freedom is oxygen of the soul.” Moshe Dayan

On this day in 1994, South Africa held its first democratic election in which all South Africans, over the age of 18, could cast their vote regardless of their race. Prior to this, only whites were allowed to vote.

freedom-day

I found this slogan on the site http://scnc.ukzn.ac.za/ when looking for something to write about on this important day. ‘South Africans are “One people with one destiny”. Sadly it appears that, unless our next election has the population exercising their freedom to vote for change and make a dramatic change, the destiny of our country is not looking good.

I love South Africa and have faith that the good life that we have here will continue.

On Human Rights day I wrote about the right to strike. Today I want to write about what that right does to our freedom.Human rights day

You have the right to strike!  It appears that this may have become a national pastime! Striking, however well intentioned, may infringe on the very freedoms that we hold so dear. From watching the news and reading the articles, it appears that those striking are infringing not only on the rights of others but also on people’s freedom of choice.

The recent student strike turned violent.
The recent student strike turned violent.

If you choose not to strike or, horror of horrors, you don’t belong to a union and are hired to stand in and keep the country going by doing the jobs that the striking workers aren’t, their freedom and their rights are infringed when they get beaten up and called ‘scabs’. What about the people who do belong to the unions and are told they have to strike or else?  Or those who feed their families while the union leaders make these decisions from their comfortable homes?  Their salaries continue to be paid by those very members who contribute monthly to the union that is meant to protect their jobs?

Is this what Freedom day is about? Is this what the struggle for equality across all sectors of our population was for? Are people really more free today than during the apartheid era?

The South African constitution is one of the most progressive in the world today; this came because of the fight for freedom for all South Africans.

How free are the people of South Africa really? The divide between middle class and poor is larger than ever, the countries unemployment rate is higher than ever, the crimes are more violent than before, discrimination is worse than ever.

There are more people living below the poverty line now than ever before
There are more people living below the poverty line now than ever before (images from the daily mail and ethiogrio)

Do you think we know what freedom really is?

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