When I was 12 years old I had a pet budgie. It was a beautiful bird, in two tones of blue, and lived in a little cage under the enclosed veranda of my family’s home. I never bothered to close the cage door because I knew the veranda was a safe place for it to fly wherever and whenever it wanted; most of the time it sat on the outside of the cage, whistling a sweet tune.
Freedom is an important thing in life; being able to move about, go where we want and say the things we want to say without feeling trapped. Freedom is also the knowledge that we have a safe place to go when we need it and never being afraid of not knowing where that safe place is.
If a bird is encaged and you never let it out, it will never realise the potential of the bigger space outside to fly in, and often if the cage is left open, it takes a while before the bird will realise it’s free to leave. I read in the paper today about a young woman who was stolen from her family to marry a leader of the LRA (Lords Resistance Army) at a very young age. She was forced to be his subservient wife and do whatever the forceful and cruel man asked her to do. This was her new family and through fear, she obeyed every command. She had a child to him and after five years of being on the run the rebel group leader was shot during another raid of rampage organised by the LRA.
As I read on, the young woman continued to say that at first she mourned her husband’s death, because that was the only life she knew. She didn’t realise that she was free to run if she chose to. The woman recalled staying for another three months before she woke up to a revelation of the man’s cruelty.
She remembered the way in which he treated her and took away any semblance of her free will. She got up the courage to run away to a refuge camp – a place she knew she would be safe.
Just like closing the cage door on a bird which should be free to fly - or even worse, clipping its wings - is like taking away the freedom of a human being’s right to live the way they should be rightfully living. We live in the 20th century, and quite frankly I am more than moved in agitation to know that people are allowed to exist in this world who demoralise the rights of other people for the sake of power and greed.
There are many who live in this world who cannot stand up for themselves; but I know I can be a voice for the downtrodden and oppressed, I wonder what voice you will be?
The world’s darkness seems not so black when I look up at the rainbow; I feel encouraged to know its beautiful colours reach from one end of the earth to the other.