This year has proven across the entire globe the fragile state we, as humans, find ourselves in. With the pandemic, some of the most ordinary daily activities have been taken away from us. Going out, meeting our friends and family, physical demonstrations of affection to others, not having to cover our face in public, are some of the little actions we have been slowly taking out of our routine. Does this mean our freedom is at risk? Have we been, bit by bit, losing our ability to make choices in our own lives? How can we put together our freedom and a lockdown?
In my opinion, the precautions we have been obliged to insert in our way of living does not affect our freedom. The condition of being free goes beyond being able to always choose what we do. Throughout the history of the world, we can find plenty of examples in which people are in a situation where they can’t decide where they are, or what they do. These decisions are arbitrarily taken away from them, but the freedom of choosing how to confront these difficulties is something others can never take away from them.
Take for example Anne Frank in the concentration camp, Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment, or Policarpa Salavarrieta’s capture, a heroine of the independence of Colombia. These three people share the same value: the freedom to face up the challenges and suffering they experienced. Accepting challenges that arise is a way to give meaning to our lives. And the existence of a person who uses her freedom to face it in the best way demonstrates the true capacity of freedom.
Although our current situation is not the cause of social injustice or an oppressing system that is unfairly attacking a group of people, we empathize with the feeling of not being fully able to make the choices we had before. That’s why we should seek inspiration from the people that have shown their courageousness in difficult situations.
Additionally, it’s important to reflect the meaning of true freedom as the capacity to think on a higher cause. Freedom goes beyond our own interests and focuses on a common good. With the threat of the pandemic, it is selfish to prioritize our personal liberties. By taking the precautions we’ve been asked to take, we are recognizing the right to health and fighting for the protection of the community. We are still free, and we are also showing solidarity with others.
As the challenges brought by the pandemic increase, we should make the correct use of our freedom, fighting for our community and our health, by taking the necessary sanitary measures. A contrary behavior would put at risk the fulfillment of others’ well being, as seen in the anti-mask protests arranged around the world, for example. “We must defend our freedoms” say some attendees at these events, and they’re right. We must, just not like that.
Published: December 3, 2020
Written by Diana Sofia Angulo, a current HQ Marketing Intern from Latin America. She is an Audiovisual & Multimedia Communication student from the University of La Sabana in Colombia.
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