“1963 is not an end, but a beginning”—the words echoed by Martin Luther King Jr. from his “I have a dream” speech. At hindsight, this can also be applied to Kenya’s independence and the attaining of freedom by the granting of internal self-rule by Britain on the 1st of June in the same year, 1963.
To think of freedom, especially for a country’s people, is to look into the guarantee of having unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Freedom is defined as the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants. However, freedom does bring with it various justified or unjustified actions to the doers who practise it wrongly and these actions can create punishments from those who execute and enforce laws or from people in the society.
A bit of a paradox, isn’t it? Freedom gives you the right to do whatever you want but there is a repercussion if what you do causes threats to the society and the nation we dwell, or if it doesn’t adhere to laws- the same laws that tell us that we have free-will to practice freedom. The bittersweet characteristic of freedom, wrongly used freedom has repercussions.
This is where a line is drawn and integrity is adapted as defining good and right behaviour. Justice is also brought in as the ideal of fairness. Freedom should not draw the curtain neither should it turn a blind eye when it comes to considering the rights and feelings of other people around us.
The best use of freedom is within the confines of societal restrictions, to seek to be educated daily by stringing your imagination to new found ignorance. This is the ultimate personal freedom; it is the absence of any pressure from the social, political and religious environment that we live in, it is unimpeded by external factors.
Unfortunately, negative exertions such as police brutality when disobeying laws, incidents such as killings, discrimination, corruption and others come up as a result of practicing freedom.
Sometimes we seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred which only results to harsher outcomes. No society can survive if all within it have absolute freedom to do what they please.
As a country, before 1963, it had been a battle before we finally attained our own power. Even after achieving this, we are sadly still confined in the build of ignorance that is evident; ignorance that stems in some forms of leadership, ignorance rooted in the country’s homes. As a people, we have become blind to some injustices that have chained us to others’ doing of cruelties as we say, “there’s nothing we can do”.
Luckily, people who advocate for social justices are coming up (and they have always been there, as a matter of fact) wanting their voices to be heard and their actions to impact others, people who seek better lives, better services, better systems of health-care, better governance and generally, a better future. This can be seen as we practise the freedom of speech, that of expression and the freedom to make a choice by winnowing out that which we do not want and replacing it with the good that will benefit the country as a whole.
We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt, that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. That is where our freedom as a country lies-for everyone.
As we all practise freedom, let us remember that the wiser the choice, the more proficient use of freedom you will realise.