A Chinese writer named Chen Wei, was sentenced to 9 years in prison Friday for publishing an essay that was critical of china’s government and communist political system, and ive been too lazy to write a new blog. This demonstration of one nations restrictions on free speech have me thinking about my own privileges and what i've done to both abuse and waste them.
Every day i realize more and more how much i have and how much of it i take for granted. At first it started with food and starving children around the world who have none. Then, as i got older, it was clothes, then warmth, shelter, education etc. Now that im 20, ive started noticing even more things i would never have understood at a younger age. The right to vote, for example, a right thats abused by half of the population every election. But the right to free speech is whats on my mind now. This is a right that is both abused and wasted by almost all of those who are fortunate enough to have it bestowed upon them. Theres proof of this too. Just look at all the facebook statuses and twitter updates that are constantly popping up online. At least 90% of them are just garbage. We are privileged with the right to express our thoughts and ideals in whatever way we want and were facebooking about how little of last nights party we remember. Most people never think twice about the fact that they can walk into a mall and yell out “FUCK STEVEN HARPER HES A SHITTY PRIME MINISTER AND THE LIBERALS SUCK” and yet, the second you confront someone about polluting a bus with profane language over your cellphone conversation, they immediately remember their God given right to free speech.
When we look at all of this it seems like im making a big deal of something trivial that isnt hurting anyone. So you updated your status to your favourite Ben & Jerrys ice cream flavour with a heart next to it, thats not hurting anyone. Maybe not, but heres a man in China who was AWARE of his restrictions but who STILL decided to face the full consequences of posting something he felt could inspire a revolution. Heres a man who felt that 9 years of prison was nothing compared to a lifetime of potential geniuses and leaders being oppressed by their government and who decided he was going to accept the fallout of his actions, no matter how unjust, in exchange for a chance to speak out against his oppressors. This really puts in perspective what we have and what were wasting, like the privilege to say something smart out loud, that we instead use to say something stupid. With the type of freedom we have comes a responsibility to use it wisely and effectively, something many of us have failed to do.
I for one would gladly give up my right to free speech if it meant Chen Wei could have it instead, cause he would put it to much better use that me. I mean, look at this blog for fuck sake. I make myself sick...im gonna go pour hot wax on to my chest..that'll teach me.