Community Update

Digital Empowerment Toolkit Now Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits aim to provide the resources you need to advance your social change work.

We are excited to introduce our Digital Empowerment Trainers’ Toolkit, a dynamic resource to help you bring the benefits of connecting online to women in your community. Check it out today! »

Freedom

costa_rica_.jpg

I'm often debating with myself on the question of freedom. The most common understanding of freedom is being able to do what you want to do, or not to do the things you don't want to do. Here in America, freedom is the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

But the more I think about it, I don't know that freedom is always such a great thing. I can think of many examples where giving certain freedoms to one person or group, infringes on the happiness or rights of another group. Take the Western free-market system; it gives multinational companies the liberty to amass entire supplies of staple goods like corn or rice, thereby affording them control of whole economies. I'm thinking here predominantly of large agribusiness, which is a topic I know a great deal about. Another example is the freedom of industrial countries like the US and China to consume the great part of the world's natural resources and to cause the most pollution. This right, based on the eagerness to create wealth and consume freely, impinges on the right of humanity as a whole to clean water and clean air.

Does this not go to argue that we as global citizens should introduce a new dialogue on freedom? That perhaps, in terms of systems of governance, we should explore the center between the two dominant ideologies of capitalism or socialism/communism. Is it that impossible to consider that individuals could both pursue their own happiness through free enterprise while also considering the greater good and the health of our planet? It makes me incredibly sad that we do not have a real world governing body that correctly represents our planet - a governing body made up of half men and half women and people and who can justly speak for the least fortunate of us all.

As women, we are inherently nurturers and care-takers. It is a pivotal time in the world's history to bring voice to these types of issues. I encourage all my sisters across the world to speak out when they see injustices caused by one person or one group's liberty to exact control on another.

Looking for inspiration? Check out Vandana Shiva - one of the most inspirational speakers I've ever heard. With the power of her single voice, she fights large agricultural companies who control food production in India by patenting the genetics on seed varieties.

Downloads

Comments

LauraB's picture

Trapped by our freedoms

Lili,

I too have been thinking about freedom of late. It seems that this mad dash to buy, do, consume- has come a crashing at our feet with widespread chaos. It's a vital question for us to be asking, "What is freedom?"
I like the way you said, "explore the center". That's a cool phrase that could describe a lot of situations. Do you feel that
we as a planet are being asked to look at the heart, the center, the crux of things? It feels a pivotal time.

Thanks for opening a very interesting dialogue.

Warm regards,

Laura

Maria de Chirikof's picture

Mixed feelings...

I am always of two minds when I read of things like this since it is always a bit of frustration mixed in with the joy that another western mindset person is 'awakening' to how the world is. One day I will learn to express this better so I do not sound offensive or feel like I am being extremely rude to mention it at all. Part of the frustration is the knowledge that the indigenous peoples of America have always known this 'new age' other Americans seek yet our views or lifestyle is never seen as a valid way of life or ever considered however briefly. At least that is how it seems.

It is what I hope to change though. The indigenous peoples are working very hard to enter all the fields important to the world so our contributions will be felt in a real way. Empowering ourselves and learning how to speak up and show a better way of life will be good for all of America and the world since other indigenous peoples will be asked their views then too. It is like the world is caught in a trap where the Christian/Jewish/Muslim point of view is so vocal that it can seem the only voices around. But if they take the time to stop and listen then they will hear the wisdom of our peoples and begin to embrace some of our world views.

The main problems I see in America is how this idea of itself as a world power and leader of the "free" people is all built on a lie. Ignoring this aspect of itself leads to being blind to many areas where the corruption and dishonesty are free to grow and overtake even the best and kindest people. It is enforced in the school books so it is seen as 'real' when it is mostly a sham. Think back to reading about the foundations of America and how it portrayed the indigenous peoples and how this view was never challenged by anyone in a real way (proof is how it is still portrayed in this way). It is a beautiful time in America though since it is struggling to come to terms with it's destructive lifestyles and views. Where the word 'consumer' is seen in it's true light as a "taker" instead of a good thing.

I am very glad that the 'mindless sheep' view of people is being looked at and examined by them. Many see that they were never a part of that bad viewpoint but also never worked to change it or challenge others who were that way to 'get real'. If they truly want to change the world they only need to look to their neighbors to see which group really needs their awareness raised since the rest of us know how the world is since we live in it daily and not that fake dream world where "everything we do is blessed and right and thank God I am a Western man." It seems rude to bring it up but many who wanted to "help" the unfortunate did it from the point of view that what the person needed was to become more like them and wondered why this idea was not heartily embraced by all. It lead to those trying to help becoming frustrated and those they wanted to help feeling even more frustrated by this lack of understanding that it helped keep that weird cycle going.

We can change it though by talking about things in a honest way though it does feel very weird and like I am being extremely rude. It is one thing I hope to learn during this VOF to learn how to express my point of view without seeming to be 'against' other people since it is only their actions and maybe some of their ideas that I would like to challenge and change.

It was a very interesting post and I thank you for sharing your views with us! When we can all start from the same page and understand each other then we can bring about the changes we want so I look forward to exchanging more ideas with everyone. It is very true that we need to work very hard to raise awareness and bring people to the point where they can not "not act' on these things anymore. There was some old saying that went something like When they came for this one group, I did nothing since I was not one of them. They came for another group and I did not act since I was not one of them either. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me. I can't remember exactly how it went but that is the idea of it. Having the courage to do what is right just because it is the right thing to do needs to be encouraged and embraced more widely. We can help make this happen and it is one of the reasons I love PulseWire since it is woman from everywhere and all walks of life joining together in friendship to change the world.

Maria

Lili Miller's picture

Spirit of truth

Dear Maria,

I reread my article in light of your comments... it made me consider why I automatically went to the two ideologies dominating global politics in search of a solution. It is very possible that freedom lies no where near their center but somewhere completely different. In my mediation and prayer, my spirit is guided not to any ideology but to the states of love, faith and compassion. It guides me to the respect of nature and to finding balance in my heart. These are the values that grow strong communities - certainly not politics.

Thank you for your comment. And for reminding how easy it is to think in a "Western" box so that I might work to stay more open-minded.

Respect,

Lili

Lili Miller

Maria de Chirikof's picture

Smiles and hugs

I get carried away sometimes, so sorry if I sounded at all rude! Love, faith and compassion are beautiful guides for your life and your thoughts! I read your other one but wanted to wait to respond so others could give their view points first for you. I sometimes feel like I get carried away and should take a moment to reflect as well since I know your heart is in the right place.

love your sister,

Maria

Lili Miller's picture

Western Woman

Dearest Maria,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post. I wish I could respond right away but I must wait until I have a little more time. In the meantime, I am processing everything you have written. I am looking forward to writing back.

Love and Respect,

Lili Miller

jap21's picture

I share the view

Dear Lili:

Thank you for talking about this. It is the kind of issue I would like to see more often raised in every femenine and labor forum of the world. Not only because this would make the fear of talking go away from the minds and hearts of women from all backgrounds, but because the discussion of these issues by women around the world will result in better policies, and better policy making.

Please keep posting about this. I hope the voices will raise in this topic.

Best regards,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

Myra Musico: My Disability Is Not an Obstacle

Myra Musico: My Disability Is Not an Obstacle

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

EMAGAZINE: Bridging Borders

EMAGAZINE: Bridging Borders

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative