The Possibility of Freedom

Sixties folkie Donovan said, “Freedom is a word I rarely use without thinking.” There are many go-to lines from somewhere that people can recall for a certain concept – that one comes to me for “freedom.” Donovan’s comment makes me think of many possible concepts we thoughtlessly abuse.

I am sitting here writing while watching Gerard Depardieu as Georges Danton facing execution during the Terror period of the French Revolution. “They kill freedom before your very eyes and you do nothing,” Danton tells his guards. Georges Danton was a man executed by the revolution he helped lead. The French Revolution was a history subject that came up in high school from the same teaching team that gave us The Catcher in the Rye and Dr. Strangelove in the curriculum. I would find Napoleon disappointing afterwards. I think I even told my teacher I didn’t want to write about the pretentious Corsican. I was told to write about why I didn’t like him. After all that effort, could there not have been a better idea than another dictatorial force? That sounds like hippie idealism now that I’m looking at it and that class was 31 years ago.

“Freedom fries” was a phrase used to sell potatoes to Americans when France disagreed with their government. However, what more ubiquitous symbol of freedom is there than New York’s Statue of Liberty? The statue arrived as a gift from France. Freedom is something that takes effort. The efforts of the past will be echoed in the future, because we are living in the freedom that came from the work of individuals in the past. There are easier choices that could have been made. France gave us the “Rights of Man” and more concepts of freedom would be heard in the West subsequent to these rights. These were universally intended, not just for the West.

Freedom is as large a concept as air or water. Freedom can feed so many possibilities. Losing it can mean darkness and death.

Reinhardt lives in Boyle Street with his wife, Keri Breckenridge.

More in this issue

Neighbourhood Views

  • Welcoming the Year of the Dog – Lunar New Year celebrations took place in Chinatown on February 17, organized by the Chinatown and Area Business Association. Pictured with Lion Dancers, from left: Kerry Diotte (MP Edmonton Griesbach), Frankie Lee (Director with the Chinatown and Area Business Association); Brian Mason (MLA Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood; and Mayor Don Iveson. Paula E. Kirman

  • Mercury Opera’s La Traviata in McCauley – A scene from Mercury Opera’s production of La Traviata at one of the matinees at Studio 96 during March. The opera also played to sold-out audiences at Chez Pierre Cabaret. Cecilia Ferreyra

  • New Mural in Chinatown – A new mural on 97 Street near 107 Avenue was unveiled in February. It was created by artist Kris Friesen with the full support of McCauley Revitalization/City of Edmonton. Paula E. Kirman

  • London Villas Hub Grand Opening – London Villas Hub’s grand opening on March 14 featured food, entertainment, and the chance to experience the new space for the first time. It is located in the former church at 9620 109 Avenue. Paula E. Kirman

  • More Music from Musical Mamas – The Musical Mamas, a group of women singer/songwriters who meet and mostly live in or near the area, released their second volume of original music in March. Pictured is performer Sylvia Khoury. For more information visit Shauna Specht

Around the Neighbourhood

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