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Archive for Wednesday, November 21, 2001

The joy of liberty

November 21, 2001

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The delighted people in Afghanistan should remind us again how fortunate we are.

Flash back to the street scenes after the Allied liberation of Paris in World War II, Victory in Europe Day in May of 1945 and then Victory over Japan Day in August of 1945.

There was delight, delirium and renewed devotion to the concept of liberty after long periods of death, destruction and devastation because of the Germans and Japanese. One could see joy unbounded as the freed parties used any possible way to express their happiness. Anyone wearing an Allied uniform was considered a hero.

Time and again, graphic films and photographs from events such as these remind us just how delicious it can be to have a choking yoke lifted from one's neck.

So it was in various parts of Afghanistan of late when anti-Taliban forces prevailed and people again felt able to express themselves. Denied the right to shave under the threat of death, many males got shaves, hair cuts and shed the various headgear the ruling powers forced them to wear. Women who had been prevented from showing their faces or any other part of their anatomy welcomed the chance to "break out." Females even had been denied the chance to leave their dwellings and enter public places under penalty of beatings, at best.

Many Afghans were playing tapes and recordings to feature the music they had been officially denied enjoying under the Taliban. Women who held jobs in the pre-Taliban regime and were forced to beg for a living now could consider going back to jobs. Women were denied the chance to be educated, and now they and their families could consider the merits of a change.

Even a long-shuttered movie theater became cause for celebration when the entertainment reopened this week and crowds jostled to get in.

The blessings of liberty were readily apparent in Afghanistan just as they have been so many times in so many places in the past. We tend to forget from time to time how favored we are to be allowed to pursue goals we take for granted but others cannot even aspire to.

The exhilaration of the people in Afghanistan and the documentation of their thrill is another reminder to Americans to reiterate "the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

How sweet it is! How often we forget that.

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