ON A PERSONAL NOTE/By Maramis
I wouldn’t be surprised if many people were shocked to read that headline. But I wouldn’t be surprised if many people might be able to see some kind of a comparison with our present government and the Taliban when they start imposing their will on the people again.
While a lot of people might think there could never be any such comparison; that the United States, right or wrong, is still the best country in the world, it still doesn’t mean that those making the decisions for this country never make a mistake or never impose their will upon an unwilling population. It doesn’t mean that the decision-makers don’t have an agenda, thinking only of the good of the whole country at large.
Personally, I’ve always been glad that I was born and raised in this country, but that doesn’t mean that if I would’ve been born in any other country, that I wouldn’t likely have been fine with that.
Unless, of course, I was born into a country where there was no sanitation, no clean water, no access to fresh food, no necessary medicines or medical care (doctors or any kind of healthcare practitioners), no decent place for our family to live, no sufficiently warm clothing during the cold months, no comfortable beds to sleep in, as opposed to sleeping on the bare ground, and no freedom to improve our lot, or at the very least, exercise our free will.
Can you imagine living in such conditions? Well a lot of people in the world already live in conditions similar to what I just described — and some of them are right here in the United States! I know, because I visited such a home in the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia. Many people living in this country cannot comprehend that some people are actually living that way, mainly because it is too unbearable to even contemplate.
But we can contemplate that last one — no freedom to exercise our own free will. No matter how bad things can be, if people at least have the freedom to improve their own state of affairs, or make their own choices, there is always hope. And that hope can see them through to a better day.
Until a few days ago, things had been improving in Afghanistan in that they were a lot better than they were back in 2001 and the following years. Women were not required to wear the burqa and could actually go out alone, not needing or being forced to have a male relative accompany her. They could attend school to improve their education and the chances for a better job or even any job. They enjoyed music, and perhaps had friends and family gather in their homes for some kind of celebration that included the music of their choice.
But now they are back to facing the old ways under the Taliban, although the restrictions have not been handed down as yet. There is talk that things will not be exactly as they were, but the women especially are fearful that they will lose all the freedoms they have been getting used to.
Not only are the women remembering the encumbering burqas they were required to wear and the restraints put on them when it came to leaving their houses, but their music had been banned, punishments were severe and swift (those caught stealing had their hands cut off and adulterers were stoned to death) and there seldom was a smile to be seen on a woman’s face. There will not be people waiting at the border to enter Afghanistan.
But let’s now find ourselves back in the land of opportunity, the land of the free and the home of the brave — as we used to call it — our very own country, whether we were born here or adopted it because the land we left was no longer bearable on any number of levels. Freedom of choice was always important to us. Didn’t God himself grant us free will so we could make choices and not have the government’s will imposed upon us?
No matter the material things we didn’t have, we always at least felt we could choose what we wanted to be put into our bodies: we were “allowed” to say no to medicines we didn’t want to take, or to operations we didn’t want to have. It was our choice. (Does anyone remember how it was under Hitler’s regime?)
Many people might come here or try to stay here because they believe it is indeed the land of opportunity and freedom — where they could just come in and be fed, housed, schooled, given medical care and such, and never give a thought to how it will all be paid for. Don’t they know that by getting all those things, some in this country will end up being denied even what they did work for? Everything has a cost, and while we in this country would probably love to be much more humanitarian, I’m wondering how citizen families in our very own country are still in such dire straits in some areas.
But putting all those things aside (not that they don’t matter so very much), we are losing the simple freedom to make our own choices about things that are not the government’s business, even though they keep pretending that it’s all for the good of us to obey. It’s good for those who want to take control of us, and by constantly telling us how good and necessary it is for us to simply give in and follow all their mandates during this coronavirus fiasco (yes, I know), we may end up being a country of sheeple bowing to our master. Those of us who choose not to acquiesce to the mandate to be vaxcinated (yes, I deliberately misspelled it), have our reasons. Suppose we know that the vax will make us deadly sick, or—using the Taliban as an example—that it might be against our religion. Does the government really believe that it can override one’s religious beliefs? And there are many other reasons, not the least of them being that it hasn’t had a long enough test period to be proven safe.
I’m fine with anyone who wants to get that vax. I believe in freedom of choice. But when the government demands that this MUST be done, whether you agree to it or not, how is that any different from the Taliban demanding that their women wear the burqas and not leave the house without a male relative?
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.