Personal Freedom

I awoke from a dream last night disturbed. In the dream a woman in exile from Iraq or Afghanistan was being congratulated on the liberation of her country. Her response was mixed.

She explained by pointing to her clothing. She named the attired and pointed out that she'd been forced to wear this specific type of clothing since certain religious leaders had come to power and that these restrictions remain even if a particular regime had been overthrown.

The emotion in her response hit me. I think it was based on my recent reading of Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. The point of my dream was that freedom is measured more on the individual level than on the national level. Exporting freedom isn't about installing new regimes more friendly to western countries. It is about giving local individuals the freedom to make their own personal choices.

Freedom from torture or severe oppression is certainly welcome, but a society isn't free until its people are free to choose any or no religion, to choose personal styles in dress, purchases and housing.

Right choices aren't as meaningful if a person hasn't the freedom to make wrong choices.