Today I look at definitions of freedom, realizing each of us perceives it differently, and, that, too, is freedom. It does seem a battle hard won, and a word that in representation is constantly in motion. How does each of us find the place to stand? My sense is that we feel it within, know a peace and flow there, and within our community, at the most basic level, we find a place to speak. Perhaps, it is to trickle up, not down. It may be that freedom requires a defiance of gravity for we humans as we consciously reach to align and honor all species on the planet.
The town leader from Tiburon did respond to my son's letter and she spoke of defending ourselves from "crooks." I take offense at that word. Might we think of people who think it is okay to take from another as those who are like us and yet who now perceive themselves in desperate need. The word "crook" seems divisive to me, too loaded for the crimes at hand. It separates us into us and them. I always find it amazing that we pay a fortune to see the musical Les Mis and then walk out onto the streets where the homeless sit with their cups and pleas, and walk on by. How is the message so missed? Can we not take it all in? Do we need to defend?
I now know there is a camera focused on the fountain in Tiburon where I sat with Zach. It is creepy to me to realize how much we are watched without realizing it. I do nothing wrong and yet I find it disturbing. I'm not going to run my skateboard through the fountain and yet do I want the person who does so to suddenly be gathered up as a criminal, a "crook."
My house has been broken into a few times, and it was traumatic and we survived and now we lock our doors and it is not that hard to do. I actually like the consciousness of it in some way, the tucking in of the belongings within, the sound of the key as it turns the lock.
So, it is Bastille Day and the anniversary of a 1958 Revolution in Iraq. Freedom's ring requires the death of some.
From Writer's Almanac:
Today is Bastille Day. It's France's national holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789. The Bastille was a fortress in Paris that had been a place where political dissidents were sometimes held for arbitrary offenses at the command of the king. But on this day in 1789, the fortress-prison housed only seven prisoners and none of them were actually political dissidents. Still, for the French people, the Bastille had become a symbol of the royal tyranny they needed to overthrow.
Revolutionaries gathered at the base of the fortress in the morning, and just after lunchtime they stormed the Bastille. After hours of bloody skirmishes inside the fortress, 98 of the revolutionary attackers had died and only one of the fort's defender guards had been killed. But the French government's commander, fearing an all-out massacre, had surrendered. The revolutionary forces stabbed him, decapitated him, and put his head on a pike to carry around in victory.
It was a catalyst for other events of the French Revolution: Soon, feudalism was abolished, and then the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" was proclaimed. One year after the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, the French established the holiday "Fête de la Fédération," or Feast of the Federation, to celebrate the successful end of the French Revolution, with a constitutional monarchy they'd just established. But France was still a long way away from a modern democratic republic. A few years later came the Reign of Terror, in which French citizens executed Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette and other fellow French citizens. And then in 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte seized power and declared himself emperor.
Today is also the 14th of July Revolution in Iraq, celebrating the day in 1958 in which the Iraqi military overthrew the King of Iraq.
It was a military coup to replace the monarch, King Faisal II. King Faisal was largely propped up by the British government, making and upholding alliances with the British that Iraqis resented. He consulted his own cabinet ministers and seemed to be earnest about ruling the nation well, but some of his policies helped fuel a growing disparity between rich and poor. There was unrest and revolution in neighboring Arab countries in the early 1950s: Egypt had shed the British monarchy and declared itself a republic in 1953, and Egypt and Syria and allied themselves into the United Arab Republic. Calls for pan-Arab nationalism swept across the region. The King of Jordan, worried about anti-Western uprisings in nearby Lebanon possibly moving into his own stable country, called over to pro-western King Faisal in Iraq for some military reinforcement help.
So the Iraqi military was dispatched and started on its way to Jordan. They had to pass by Baghdad, the seat of Iraq’s government, to get Jordan. The Iraqi military commanders leading these brigades were committed Iraqi Nationalists who resented the British-allied regime. And on this day in 1958, the military commanders conspired with their army brigades en route to Jordan and diverted them instead into Baghdad. They marched into the city, seized control of the state broadcasting station, and over the airwaves they denounced Britain and King Faisal. They proclaimed that Iraq was now an independent republic and would soon hold elections for president.
They went into the Royal Palace and executed the king and his family, who had actually surrendered already. Two weeks after the revolution, a new constitution was drawn up for Iraq.