FREEDOM: Theory and Practice
Ronald Reagan's current campaign to obfuscate the meaning of
the word "freedom" undermines one of the most maligned concepts
bequeathed humanity by its ancestors.
Your president would have you believe that "freedom" is the
ability to maintain an astronomical purchasing power and an
obscenely ostentatious lifestyle. This is false. While the Chief
Executive may claim, with some truth, that you have a "right" to a
great deal more of the Earth's resources than the rest of the
planet's inhabitants, that is not what the Founding Fathers had in
mind when they said "rights."
There is a world of difference between "rights" and "freedom."
"Rights" are a benefit bestowed by a given government upon its
citizens. The United States bestows upon its citizens the "right"
to rape the remainder of the Earth, and backs up this "right" with
the nuclear weapons purchased by the citizens for that purpose.
"Freedom" is the ability to make a decision. Freedom exists
entirely inependent of rights, and rights do not guarantee freedom.
Fhyz Efrom Awadt was sixteen years old in l967. Shortly
before the Egyptian-Israeli war of the same year, Fhyz enlisted in
the Egyptian army. Fhyz had been trained a Catholic; that is, as
one trained not to question dogma. As a result of his "religious"
training and the nationalistic indoctrination to which he was
exposed in the public schools, the young Egyptian felt the six year
enlistment to be both his sacred and solemn duty.
For the first five years of his hitch Fhyz was a model
soldier. This would not surprise anyone who has ever met the man,
because he is an exceptional human being who does nearly everything
he turns his hand to with amazing proficiency. What did surprise
people was that a few months before his enlistment was up, around
the time that the Egyptians began to mobilize for the "Yom Kippur"
war, Fhyz began telling his comrades-in-arms that it was contrary
to God's law for brothers to kill brothers. He said that the
Israelis were the Egyptians'brothers. His military superiors took
exception to Fhyz's exercisein free speech, and sentenced him to be
shot. Anwar el Sadat, for some vested interest, commuted the
sentence to life imprisonment. Today Fhyz can be contacted at
Prison el Kanatra, Cairo, Egypt.
"I am only in for selling hashish, to make a little money for
my family. Fhyz betrayed his country," said a fellow prisoner.
In prison Fhyz is also exceptional. Almost always smiling,
never a foul word, constantly giving to and helping other
prisoners, he is something rare: a truly happy person.
What had prompted his traitorous actions was his reading and
contemplation of the Bible. Through his own thinking, and contrary
to what he had been taught, Fhyz had come to the conclusion that it
would be better for him to suffer a little inconvenience, or even
to lay down his life if necessary, rather than to transgress God's
law. For their sakes he also felt it his duty to inform his
Fhyz hadn't the "right" to speak, but he did have the courage
to exercise his freedom.