Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Freedom is Never Truly Free

Freedom is undoubtedly not free. The freest civilizations in the World, have arrived at that freedom, through a long history of struggle. It is also, an obvious fact that some countries are freer than others. It is a fact of history, that many individuals have had to fight for their freedom. It is also a fact that freedom once gained, can be quickly lost.

An example of the struggle for freedom from history, was the Battle of Lepanto of 1571. This was the last time in history, that both the Christian Church and the Catholic Church came together in a common struggle.

The struggle was against the Islamic forces of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman State had designs on what it called, infinite expansion. Its goal was to convert, enslave or kill and in doing so, expand its empire. Muslims were indoctrinated with the belief, that they are duty bound to 'expand the domain of peace'.

The coming together of Christians and catholics to defeat a common enemy, was done under the banner of the 'Christian Coalition'. The Battle of Lepanto was the beginning of the end for the Ottoman Empire and is just one example of the struggle to defend against its expansion... the Ottoman forces were eventually, utterly defeated and the expansion of the Ottoman Empire was ultimately halted and eventually ousted and pushed back to the Middle East.

While their are tyrants in the World, who believe they have the right to enslave and kill others, for the sake of expanding their own brand of tyranny, while this is the case, then in many parts of the World, freedom will have to be fought for, and in many cases, where there is freedom, or at least a degree of it, there will be struggles to hold onto it.

Another example for the struggle against tyranny and in the defense of freedom: In 1778, when America was still young and barely a country; the Barbary States of the States of the Ottoman Empire and North Africa where kidnapping American sailors, from ships and taking them into slavery. It has been estimated that about 1.5 million Americans and Europeans were taken into slavery between 1750 and 1815. Jefferson and Adams visited Tripoli’s ambassador to London in March 1785...

Jefferson asked the question of the ambassador: "Why do you do this to us, we have never had a quarrel with the Muslim World, we were not in the Crusades, or the War in Spain?" - The ambassador replied: "Because the Koran, gives us the permission to do so, because you are infidels". Jefferson's reply was swift and aggressive... He said, "very well, I will send a navy to utterly crush your State". That is exactly what Jefferson did.

In more recent History, there was of course the struggle for freedom against the tyranny of the Nazis. Indeed, looking through history, it seems to be scattered with periodic wars, started by dictators, and defended against by those who love their freedom.

Islamic fundamentalism, is once again raising its ugly head. Islamic fascists, once again are fighting a terror battle, to 'expand the domain of peace'. If they were to succeed, then everyone of us, who does not convert to 'true Islam', will be defeated and put to death, or into slavery.

So the answer is no, freedom is never truly free. Freedom has to be fought for, and the cost is often very high. But, the cost of doing nothing, in defense of our freedom, would be the highest price of all. It would be the collapse of western democracy as we know it.

Jefferson Versus the Muslim Pirates, Christopher Hitchens
Infidels by Andrew Wheatcroft (published by Penguin books).

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