A salute of hope to my adopted country on its Independence Day.
Seemingly as antithetical as it could be to my birth country, modern to its mystic, Individualistic to its divinistic, I dreamt of liberty as I stepped off the plane, a lone suitcase in my hand and infinite dreams in my mind. The weight of centuries of history and shackles of traditions fell in shambles at my feet. I smelt, I felt, I breathed, freedom. The freedom only a young country built on the future, not on the past, can deliver. The freedom the soul yearns to start anew, not pegged to this belief or that, to this cultural coordinate or that. A country where the only limitation is your imagination, where ethics is religion, politeness a habit, any work a badge of honor and most of all a country where you could just be. Yourself. Oh yes, one could still feel ripples of racism in a mispronounced name, or in subtle hints in the whitewashed recesses of suburbia, or even in an extra frisk at the airport, yet overall it was still an optimistic America, still fundamentally a country of hopeful and aspiring free immigrants.
And yet today, that very same freedom and liberty stand in danger of being crushed under tumultuous politics that have rattled democracy to the bones the last few years, of getting drowned in a recursive recession, of being shot at in a strip mall, of being torn apart by rulings that shear the very fabric of liberty we so cherish, of bodies being held hostage by laws and to the danger of swaying to the vagaries of extreme rights and extreme lefts shutting down free speech that define the very vocabulary of a great nation …
And yet… I hope.
I hope that the old soul-liberating, freedom loving, spellbinding beautiful, brashly successful, distinctly diverse, ever welcoming, generous and glorious indomitable free spirit that is America will prevail. I still hold immense hope we will all be truly free again in body and spirit. That the euphoria of freedom washing over at first touch down on American soil is once again a reality.
O’ America, may you once again be the statuette of liberty from sea to shining sea.