On the 14th of July 1798, heads rolled in the streets of Paris as the Bastille was stormed; and on the 14th of July 1999, I was born – two equally significant events! The spirit of rebellion and a drive for freedom percolates through every fibre of my being, inspiring me to push back against any threats to freedom I see! And, as a good-looking, straight, cis man, my freedom is, of course, threatened constantly. Granted, I have way more freedom than anyone who is anything other than a good-looking, straight, cis man… but I still have something to say about the fight for freedom! So, if you’ll permit me, dear reader, let’s talk about freedom! And rebellion…

There’s a famous quote by French philosopher Albert Camus about how “the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” I’ve not read the book the quote is from – and I believe anyone who says they have is lying, and probably just watched a YouTube video about it – but it is a great quote. Camus has this incredible ability to find triumph in bleak circumstances – to present you with an unfree, volatile world, and show you how just existing can be something awesome. Our world can be incredibly bleak, and it’s easy to get swept away in the seemingly endless slurry of bad news and dizzying discourse that saturates our social media feeds. Camus teaches us that we can’t ignore the state of the world, or downplay society’s issues – instead, we need to acknowledge reality for what it is, and choose rebellion.

So, how do you actually choose rebellion or become as absolutely free as Camus wants you to be? Well, I think you do so by embracing empathy, and love. I know, it’s very clichéd, but maybe it’s a cliché because it’s right! Not everyone shares the same level of freedom, and a lack of freedom often stems from societal apathy, bigotry, and greed – all of which are the antithesis of empathy. By choosing to be an empathetic, caring person in a world that profits off bigotry and sustained apathy, your very existence becomes an act of rebellion. Our world has never been this liberated and accepting of diverse identities before! The struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community, people of colour, and differently abled people have never before been acknowledged at the levels they are today. It feels like people are starting to take notice and speak up against these inequities – and that should be celebrated! But we can’t ignore the fact that the freedom these communities have earned – the freedom they are currently fighting for – is still under threat.

At this point in the blog, you’re probably wondering how I’m so young yet so wise. The truth is, I got really lucky in the parent department. Both of my parents embody the values of love, empathy and freedom perfectly. My father’s charity, Waja Ka Meno, provides free oral and optometric care to differently abled children and adults in South Africa, and my mother… where do I even start? There does not exist a more caring lady than my mother! I know you probably think your mother is better or more caring, but you’re wrong, and that’s okay. Growing up, my parents stressed the importance of actively practicing empathy, encouraging me to get involved in food drives and volunteer work – and I will always be grateful for that. Because of them, I’m not just a good-looking, straight, cis man… because of them, I’m a good-looking, charitable, straight, cis man!

It’s scary how persistent hate is. It’s scary how easily our culture can regress. We can’t ignore the reality of the situation, but we can fight to change it. It’s our responsibility to fight to change it – a responsibility born out of our shared humanity. It’s what Camus would have wanted… at least I think it is; I don’t know, I’ve not read his books. I just watched a YouTube video about him.

One thought on “How to Fight for Freedom and World Peace for All: A Student’s Guide to Solving the World

  1. It’s amazing that empathy and love is the new cool, and perhaps even an act of rebellion in such an exclusionary world. Incredible blog, yet again!!!


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