Friday, May 22, 2009

Land of the Free

While cooking for Shabbat, I heard on the news that Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi, 32, was released by the Iranian government despite their assertion she was a spy. Though apparently she had access to a classified document, she claimed she was arrested for buying wine on the black market. Of course, buying alcohol is, in Iran, an arrest-worthy activity.

I don't know much about her, and can't assess her affiliations or merits. But one thing did touch me about her story. It was a clip on the news in which she said that she kept going during her 100 days in prison by singing the US National Anthem. Her statement to reporters upon her arrival was, "It may sound corny, but I'm so happy to be home in the land of the free."

Those who are complacent about that freedom, our President included, may at some point be forced to reconsider. I found Dick Cheney's press conference excellent--he reminded us that we are under attack, and have been for decades, with far more than the 3,000 casualties of the World Trade Center and 9-11 to mourn. We dare not become lax or casual about those who plot every day to destroy us. I think Vice President Cheney is completely right to continue his public persona, and use his status to speak out, regularly. I don't care if the current debate is framed in terms of Obama versus Cheney--we Americans take our liberties for granted, and we need constant reminders that what we enjoy is precious and endangered.

It's only after experiencing the land of sharia that, like Roxana Saberi (pictured in the BBC photo above with her parents), one can fully appreciate the land of the free.

1 comment:

  1. I'm an immigrant, and I do appreciate the freedom this country provides. It's hard to get this message across to someone else who does not understand how bad life could be elsewhere. They only think of the bad as poverty not lack of freedom.

    Recently, I received a gift that reminded me how much freedom I enjoy here. I am about to be married soon. In my culture, people give cash as wedding presents. I received a card from a friend who could not attend the wedding with cash placed inside the card. (I know it wasn't the smartest idea to send cash, but my friend is young and naive.) The card and cash reached me safely. It would not have reached me safely if I were living in my home country.

    It's also the little things like this that unappreciative Americans overlook. But it's the little things like this that reminds me how blessed I am for being here.