Friday, April 17, 2009
What Sacrifice Would You Make For Freedom?
I stumbled across this OpEd in the Washington Post. They titled it "A Voice for My Husband." It stopped me in my tracks.
I can spout the same old platitudes..."we're so lucky...we take our freedoms for granted...American has become complacent..." Blah blah blah.
This isn't a theoretical discussion. This is about a couple who lives in China and have made the conscious choice to speak out against a repressive regime, fully aware of the consequences it will mean. These are people who live in a country where the government is something to be feared. They have chosen to have no children - it would be too difficult for a child to live without a father.
Liu Xiaobo has been in jail since December, though he's been charged with no crime. His wife has seen him only twice. All the letters they write, all the books she sends, are confiscated. And now his wife, Xia Liu, has written an appeal to President Obama to intervene on her husband's behalf. She believes he is about to be tried as a subversive as the Chinese government strives to silence pro-democracy voices.
Liu Xiaobo is an internationally recognized champion of human rights. He has won an award from Reporters Without Borders for his defense of freedom of the press. He is a well respected teacher and a strong advocate of advancing the cause of democracy and human rights in his country. He is a symbol - and symbols make excellent targets.
These are heroic people. These are people who put many of us to shame, people who risk not just their comfort but their safety for what they believe is right.
I look in the mirror, see the woman who worries about paying the bills, despairs of her country when she hears reactionaries on both sides of the political spectrum scream too loudly to hear each other, and wonder - would I be willing to do that?
I don't know. But we should help those who will.