9/20/2007

Freedom of expression blah blah blah

There's no question: when it comes to the suppression of freedom of expression, everyone is willing to raise their fists and pens in protest. They are angry because, heck, it's the right to speech they're pummeling to ashes. If we don't speak out now, when will we react? And if we do decide to react then, will we be able to?

This is all well and good, but with this kind of thinking, we are forgetting that the right that is being violated is not only an individual right, but the people's right. That civil liberties are at stake here. That how we fight against this abomination determines how the generations after us will live.

We also tend to forget that this being a case of oppression, there is always the oppressor, and the oppressed. And (as with all cases of oppression), the oppressor uses all available means to get its way because it needs to subjugate the masses (or the oppressed). Which is not hard, as the oppressor has power. Having power means that s/he has much to lose when the status quo changes. Therefore, s/he must maintain society as it is to retain power.

Looking at it closely, the freedom to express one's self is not only about churning out inanities in one's blog and not being scared of having a libel suit delivered to your doorstep. Or having to worry about your unique outfit not being suitable to your office or school's dress code. It's about the power struggles in our society, and how the powerful take advantage of everything for their own good. And how the people struggle to uphold their rights in a society that looks at rights as privileges.

Actually, it's the history of freedom itself.

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