Tag Archive for 'equality'

Heather’s Journal (7/5/2010): On Freedom

Good Evening SuperForest! The subject of freedom has been heavy on my mind lately. Perhaps it was SuperForester Tawney’s post about Free the Slaves that reminded me of one of my most precious resources: my freedom. (To take action and help free the slaves, click here.)

I am so grateful that I live in a country that allows me to choose freely what I can do and who I can spend time with. Aside from the extremely upsetting situation surrounding the G20 recently in my former home city, for the most part living in Canada represents a relatively free life for many. Unfortunately during the G20, many innocent people were stripped of their freedoms and basic rights, in an attempt to ”control the masses”. Rather than expand on this upsetting situation in this post, I would like to focus on the positive. If you’d like to read more about the G20, you are obviously free to do so.

Canada isn’t usually a place where tear gas is released. Recently we celebrated Canada Day here (July 1st), and living in Ottawa now I realize even more how big of an event it really is, especially here in the nation’s capital. It reminds me that I live in a country that is, for the most part, quite liberal in some ways (regardless of our leader at the moment). With Independence Day in the recent past, I am sure many of you in the U.S. are also thinking about your own freedoms and rights. How many of us are thinking about the many people throughout the world who don’t have the same liberties as we have? I am grateful to people like Tawney who remind us of this.

Freedom is definitely not a new topic on SuperForest; the concept of freedom has been on the virtual lips and keyboard-tapping fingertips of many a SuperForester over the years; SuperForester Julius spoke about his country’s annual day of freedom, SuperForester Jackson spoke about peaceful protest, SuperForester Ewa introduced us to this amazing song and performance, and I myself have also spoken about being grateful for my status as a relatively free individual. Whether it’s the freedom to marry whomever you choose, the freedom to choose your career or lifestyle, the freedom to protest peacefully or the freedom to simply express your views publicly, I believe we should all be free.

SuperForest is also a harbinger of freedom, as I am able to share whatever inspires me with all of you and for that I am extremely grateful. For example, you might have noticed that Friday Films has gone on vacation. I have decided to take a break from posting film reviews because although it was very fun to do and I’m glad many of you enjoyed them, what I love about SuperForest is that I have the freedom to post about anything, and I found that binding myself to one weekly series was limiting my freedom of expression on SuperForest. I may bring back Friday Films from time to time, but I think I’d like to diversify my posting from now on and try to get more personal with all of you. I’d like to use my freedom of expression to share my thoughts, feelings and experiences more! What do you want to know? Let’s chat freely, SuperForest.

I realize this has already been posted, but I’m sure you will all agree, there can never be too much love for this lovely friend of SuperForest. I’d also like to give a huge shout out to Luc & the Lovingtons and the children of New Orleans for writing this amazing song. When I listen to the words, sounds and gorgeous voices, I feel happy and grateful for the freedom I enjoy in my life, and of course, grateful for SuperForest!

Yours forever singing “freedom” at the top of my lungs,

SuperForester Heather

Robert Burns: A Man’s a Man for A’ That

Hihi SuperForest

I know Burn’s Night is almost a month away still, but I figure that since many of us will be singing Auld Lang Syne while joining hands with friends, family and people we’ve never met come midnight Thursday that’s good enough reason to post on another of Scottish Enlightenment-era poet Robert Burns’ songs – with a message that needs no excuse to revisit!

I don’t really read a lot of poetry (one of the reasons I’ve loved SuperForester Jordan’s Found Poetry Friday posts so much) but “A Man’s a Man for A’ That” is one that’s been with me since childhood, ingrained into the psyche, and that I love.  It’s written in Scots rather than English  (for full effect, do a Scottish accent in your head when you read it;) – but I’ll put an English ‘translation’ too:

A Man’s a Man for A’ That

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

1.
Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an’ a’ that?
The coward slave, we pass him by –
We dare be poor for a’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
Our toils obscure, an’ a’ that,
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The man’s the gowd for a’ that.
2.
What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an’ a’ that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine –
A man’s a man for a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
Their tinsel show, an’ a’ that,
The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
Is king o’ men for a’ that.
3.
Ye see yon birkie ca’d ‘a lord,’
Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that?
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a cuif for a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
His ribband, star, an’ a’ that,
The man o’ independent mind,
He looks an’ laughs at a’ that.
4.
A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an’ a’ that!
But an honest man’s aboon his might –
Guid faith, he mauna fa’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
Their dignities, an’ a’ that,
The pith o’ sense an’ pride o’ worth
Are higher rank than a’ that.
5.
Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a’ that)
That Sense and Worth o’er a’ the earth
Shall bear the gree an’ a’ that!
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
It’s comin yet for a’ that,
That man to man the world o’er
Shall brithers be for a’ that.

Is there for honest poverty
That hangs his head, and all that?
The coward slave, we pass him by -
We dare be poor for all that!
For all that, and all that,
Our toils obscure, and all that,
The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The man’s the gold for all that.

What though on homely fare we dine,
Wear coarse grey woollen, and all that?
Give fools their silks, and knaves their wine -
A man is a man for all that.
For all that, and all that,
Their tinsel show, and all that,
The honest man, though ever so poor,
Is king of men for all that.

You see yonder fellow called ‘a lord,’
Who struts, and stares, and all that?
Though hundreds worship at his word,
He is but a dolt for all that.
For all that, and all that,
His ribboned, star, and all that,
The man of independent mind,
He looks and laughs at all that.

A prince can make a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, and all that!
But an honest man is above his might -
Good faith, he must not fault that
For all that, and all that,
Their dignities, and all that,
The pith of sense and pride of worth
Are higher rank than all that.

Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a’ that)
That Sense and Worth over all the earth
Shall have the first place and all that!
For all that, and all that,
It is coming yet for all that,
That man to man the world over
Shall brothers be for all that.

by Robert Burns (1795)

And, because it’s a call to brotherhood and a song to be sung, here’s Paolo Nutini giving it laldy – awesomely, uncharacteristically, singing with his Scottish accent (if the intro makes you cringe, skip to 0:40)

Respect a Man, not a position. We are all brothers, we are all equal. An earnest, defiant, joyful and powerful ‘ode to humanity’, and I think the spirit is as valid today as it was when Burns wrote it over 200 years ago – it’s coming yet.

You? You are Golden.

Love

P