Monday, July 4, 2011

In Liberty's Gaze (4th of July 4 repost)

You can protect your liberties in this world only by protecting the other man's freedom. You can be free only if I am free. Clarence Darrow
She didn't know her own strength. She'd never been tested. Never been put up against man's nature to tear things down.

No one knew what would happen when the winds of advertsity blew. When the gales howled. When the hurricanes ripped through the foundations of her belief. Give me your tired, your poor...

No one knew the measure of her strength under pressure of another's assertions he knew best, that his truth was the righteous belief of mankind's salvation. No one knew.

And, when the winds came, as they often do, they howled and careened around her body, pummeling her righteous stance, her insistance that she not be swayed. Her belief that she must hold fast. Be strong.

The winds screamed like a thousand banshees roaring through desert sands, a storm of idealogies cast upon the winds, swirling around her, rising up into a hailstorm of dissent, rising up with hatred and condemnation, fear and loathing. A typhoon of evolutionary calamity in the making of war that would never know peace until quietened in an oasis of calm at the sheer strength of her steadfast gaze through time. ...Give me... Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore...

The winds roared and she stood strong and true as she stands strong and true today. True to the foundation upon which she was built, a symbol of friendship, freedom and peace, this lady of liberty. This lady of the strength to hold fast the belief of nations and the dream of all mankind. Liberty for all. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me...

Hers is the strength of a dream woven into the fabric of their collective nationhood aspiring for equality, justice, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness for all mankind. A nation of people who stand true in their belief in the rightness of all men to worship from their own separate pew. The strength of a nation that stands true to the right of all men, women and children, where ever on earth they may stand to rise up and be heard, be seen and be free. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The above is the inscription inside the base of the Statues of Liberty in New York harbour, Swan Ally Island in the Seine River in Paris and Paris' Luxembourg Gardens. The lines are found in a sonnet by Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus written in 1883.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Emma Lazarus, 1883

I have reposted this in honour of our American neighbour's July 4th Independence Day celebrations.

Happy July 4th my friends!

PS -- having since written a piece on the African term, Ubuntu -- I can see the connection in all things -- We are all connected. Ubuntu from the Bantu language, represents the philosophy that -- "I am what I am because of who we all are."

May we all be free together. May we all know our magnificence together. May we all be together.


Josie said...

To this post I can only add a fervent AMEN! As long as there are people oppressed and enslaved in the world, I can never truly be free.

Anonymous said...


I suggest you put a 'this is what this is and this is the source' at the top/beginning of this post .... because the reader is wandering/wondering if this is your writing or someone else's and what the source/rationale for it is

just sayin'


Claudia said...

oh louise -thanks for sharing this and the beautiful sonnet by Emma Lazarus...strong words!

Maureen said...

Thank you for doing us the honors!

I'm late reading today. We had a terrific storm last night and the power was out from 6:00 pm to 3:00 pm this afternoon. More storms tonight. I'm hoping to get a warm shower in somewhere in between.

Louise Gallagher said...

Thanks everyone! When I wrote this piece last year it was in response to a prompt by nance marie -- at her old blog.

Mark -- the writing is all mine unless I've noted otherwise.

happy 4th Everyone!

Ruth said...

Thank you for the honor of your tribute post, Louise! I am a day late, but no less grateful. I do love that a lady of exiles stands there as a reminder. We have grown into a cumbersome, clutzy nation, but still with the ever-changing fabric of new immigrants! If only we can keep adjusting to the changes of these current days, keep listening, always listening for who we are, we'll be all right. But at times it sure seems tough to feel that the vision of freedom and hope is still alive.

Louise Gallagher said...

I think the only way to not fall into despair is to focus on all the wonder and beauty of your nationhood. I was thinking yesterday about all the things the US has given the world -- because every invention, every deed, every book, song, creation has benefited the world -- and the U.S. has given so much!

Thanks Ruth. So lovely to see you!

trisha said...

happy fourt of july to all of you!