3 May

I realise I promised an entry revolving around our menu from last night’s dinner. Unfortunately, low lighting and only an iPhone (as brilliant as they are) meant the pictures came out below par. I can promise you that the meal was delicious: falafel, chicken skewers grilled with onions and spices, copious amounts of homemade humous and topped off with lemon and mint juice. Utter delight.

I must admit that I’ve been having problems trying to come up with one particular focus for today’s entry. Adam even suggested that I forgo today’s entry, lest I leave you with some rambling and unfocused entry. Then it hit me. Something so blatant, yet so underlying that it’s nothing more than a whisper. Instead, it is a nod or a crooked smile of acknowledgement. Nothing needs to be said, but we all recognise that it is very much present.

Would you trade up one freedom for another?

Before I continue, I must explain that this entry, more so than any other, is without opinion. I am merely making note of what I’ve experienced, seen and heard during my (almost) two short weeks here.

For the first time in my life, I find myself living in a country where censorship goes above and beyond the bleeping out of certain words on the radio. It goes beyond a book or movie being put into the back of the store so that it’s out of sight of impressionable minds. Sure, these are all still very much present. Whole chunks of movies are cut. More words are bleeped in music. But no, this type of censorship finds itself in the deepest part of how one lives. It is found in conversations had in public. In radio broadcasting. In books not found on shelves in bookstores. In internet content and access. And most of all, in the press. Freedom of press does not exist here–at least, that is to say, not to the level that it does in the UK and US. Not even close.

And yet, each year, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Westerns flock here to find jobs. To improve their financial status or secure one for the near to distant future for them and their families. They are willing to give up what they know–and have always known–for a life of comfort, excitement, new experiences and financial security. Limit one freedom and offer up another. It’s an interesting trade off, but one that so many are willing to make and accept, even more so now in a world currently in the middle of yet another economic crisis.

I realise that this post was short. I promise my next one on Sunday to be longer and full of exciting pictures. So to make up for it, I’ll leave you with this question to think about: Would you, someone who has grown up in the West, make the trade? Would you give up what you’ve known, for the opportunity to create a more comfortable life for you and your family?

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2 Responses to “Cens**ship”

  1. Azevedo May 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    It is not a question if we’re willing to give up one freedom, it’s a question of which one are we more inclined to give up.
    Nietzsche said that “whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.” It is an interesting enough thought. Will we give up, say 10 years of freedom of speech working abroad, to gain enough money to be able to choose not to work for the rest of our lives? Or choose to give-up 8 hours a day to for 40 or 50 years to a company as a means of sustenance?
    Unless we’re rich enough from the get go, there will always constraints to our liberties and those who can choose to give up one for another are luckier than most.

    • vagranttraveler May 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      I admit, I haven’t really read much of Nietzsche beyond what was required of me at college/uni for a Political Science course, but he certainly does make an interesting point. And I have to say, unless I’m doing a job that I’m so totally in love with that it doesn’t really seem like ‘work’, the idea of working for 40-50 years is just depressing. Sign me up for 10 years of minimal ‘freedom of speech’.

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