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Is a want for Freedom holding us back?

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How could freedom ever hold anyone back when freedom is what drives us? The human spirit’s hunger for freedom is why, despite all those years we’ve forced them to waste, those asylum seekers we imprisoned on Manus island won’t give in and go home.

We celebrated freedom when we spent millions sending out a patrol boat to see if Tony Bullimore, a man attempting to sail solo around the world, had survived after his yacht had capsized in one of the loneliest parts of the ocean. And he had. And we rejoiced, for this little man had sailed right up to the border of his freedom, which was his death, and survived.

Freedom is a Cambodian woman known as Sony, who used to sing all the easy listening classics while working in a laundry in a nursing home in Murrumbeena. A woman who had managed to not only survive the killing fields of her home, Cambodia, where several times she was marched away from her children and made to kneel before her countrymen’s corpses, as other armed children pondered whether to kill her. A woman who, while walking to Vietnam with her five children, adopted another child on the way and brought him here too, to freedom, where I believe he became a lawyer. And while her job here entailed cleaning soiled sheets and clothes and those expensive cloth nappy wraps, still she sang, every day, her sweet out-of-tune voice rising above the mechanical sound of the industrial washing machines and dryers, like a song sung to celebrate freedom.

Freedom is a cyclist riding across the Nullabor and wondering one minute why they are doing it because it’s such a long way and the next moment they are in awe of all the space, the freedom, that they are slowly peddling through.

Freedom is the right to meet a stranger in a café, and then twenty minutes later be in a bed somewhere getting it on.

Freedom is the right to choose not to take chemotherapy and instead tackle the great test of cancer in the way that your soul feels is best for you.

Freedom is the right to put your family home on the line, in order to fund a business that all your friends are telling you is a mad risk, but you know that if you don’t try, you’ll end up feeling like while you were here, you never had the courage to chase dreams and live.

Freedom is the right to accept that you’ve been born into the wrong gender, and in order to free the real you, you can decide to have yourself medically reassigned.

Freedom is the right to know how precious life is, and then smoke and drink and take drugs, or ride motorbikes, or sky dive or swim with sharks, regardless. It’s the right to know you are going to die yet live like you are immortal.

Freedom is the reason we have prisons, for to most of us, the thought of losing our freedom is horrendous. Then again, it’s also the right to risk breaking the law. Freedom is the right to be good, quiet, opinionated, noble, or selfish. To be a saint or an arsehole.

The other day, on the steps of the shine of remembrance, built to celebrate freedom, a load of Australians defending freedom, sang the national anthem with gusto, especially the words “We are free” at all your storm troopers, who were here to remind them, that despite being in a free country, and a part of the Western World, which is built on democracy and freedom, that they were no longer free.

And that you would now order your troops to use violence and tear gas and rubber bullets and outrageous fines to make sure these Australians got the memo. But the one who hasn’t received the memo is you. You don’t want to be lectured about freedom by people who are holding everyone back. Holding everyone back from where? An apartheid country ruled by tyranny? A country where freedom is a status that to attain, they will have to constantly update this status through the needle of another booster shot? A country where the freedom to critically debate, to think, to question is censored? A country where freedom is a lie. A lie you will force us to teach our children, is freedom.

Now I admit, it has been and is a tough time, a time where defending individual freedom is more expensive than usual. And the cost is death. Yet in the past, we sacrificed over one hundred thousand soldiers to it, even though, in many cases, our freedom wasn’t under a direct threat. And so if people have to die now, it is an unfortunate and terrible price to pay, but the cost of losing freedom, which may mean nothing to you, is to our society in general, and our children’s future, simply unaffordable.

I don’t know how you justify what you are doing now. The millions you are spending on your personal media team and on your storm troopers that you could have spent on hospitals. And apart from the emotional and spiritual damage, your plan of a segregated community, where unvaccinated people could be jailed for entering a vaccinated only establishment, will make it economically impossible for businesses to thrive and start paying back the enormous bill we have all racked up with these endless lockdowns.

Now you are making it socially acceptable to brutalise those who disagree with you. You have divided work colleagues, friends and worst of all, families. You have threatened to jail doctors and nurses who dare to question the narrative, and you have had your troops open fire on unarmed protesters. And now you are about to take a sledgehammer to our already broken economy, as you force those who wish to hang onto their freedom, to walk away from their jobs, their livelihoods. Australians who know something you’ve forgotten, or don’t care about.

And that is what the core of our freedom is. It isn’t about being able to go to a pub or a concert or to travel or any of the other things I have mentioned; they are the privileges of our country’s deeper and most fundamental freedom, the freedom of choice, which, for whatever your reason, good or bad, you want to steal and replace with the freedom to be a part of an obedient herd.

Trouble is, for you and us, and this is why we protest, the bedrock of our free society is the individual’s freedom to choose. Especially the individual’s right to say no and this includes the choice to decide for ourselves, without retribution, what does and does not go into our body.

So Mr I don’t want to debate, you have a decision to make, either you can back off and let our free society heal and deal with this virus with decency, tolerance and common sense, or you can become ever more violent as you try to crush our freedom of choice. And to anyone else out there, please try to remember, this is not our leaders’ country, it is our country. Despite all the lockdowns, we are architects and the custodians. So perhaps it’s time for us to discuss what that means.

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