In this world of casual global travel, high-speed telecommunications, television, computers, cars, planes, and all of our other toys, we think we’ve moved on, past the dour, old world where freedom toiled in dark, gothic, corners for a glimpse of light. We take freedom for granted.
On battlefields old and new we pause and honour the fallen. We thank them for their legacy, then go about our day, and in haste, impatience, or careless indifference, fritter it away.
The world now craves security, first, and freedom no better than second, in a climate of anxiety and fear ripe for the erosion of our liberties. It is a path to tyranny in a world permeated by more fear, suspicion and, ultimately, despair. A path, in the end, to no security at all.
Slowly won, quickly lost, freedom must continually be renewed.
We must awaken to this challenge before the dawn rises on a country that we cannot recognize: where you question or criticize your government at your peril; where mere suspicion is enough to bring that knock on your door in the middle of the night, and you vanish into some secret prison; where you can be convicted in secret for imagined crimes with no real opportunity for defence; where you, an ordinary citizen, must register your comings and goings with the police; where you can be stopped and searched and be required to justify yourself on any whim; where your home is no longer your castle. Where open justice gives way to the caprice of power and influence, and you live by permission, not by right.
It is a story all too common in this world. Let it not be our story. Let us heed that faint cry of “Freedom!” echoing from those ancient battlefields — while it still rings true.