Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Birthday America!

Today is July 4th.   America is celebrating it's 237th year of freedom.

In the spirit of independence, I recalled the events leading to Indonesia's own independence.

I recall the events leading to the fall of the Japanese empire. It was a time of uncertainty. When the whole world is at war.  For the second time.   The nations of Europe was fighting the  German / Italian regime, while in Asia, Japan expanded its borders. They swiftly capturing many Asian nations.

In a pre-calculated move, Japan swiftly destroyed America's navy in 1941 during the attack on Pearl Harbor completely destroyed America's ability to intervene their conquest of Asia.

That didn't stop America from retaliating.  After fierce continued fight over the Pacific, in August 1945, America released a weapon of unprecedented destruction over Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

That moment turn the tide of war in Asia.

Because of that critical moment, the empire of Japan realized that they have lost the war, and began to pull out from South East Asia.

That singular, swift, and deadly attack changed the course of history for many Asian countries.
Thus was borne the independence of many Asian nations.  China, Korea, Phillippines, Samoan islands, Malaysia, and many more.

And Indonesia.  The land of my birth.

Indonesia and America may not see eye-to-eye all the time.  But Indonesia may not have been a free country if it's not for the American intervention.

It's true that Indonesians did have to defend their declaration of Independence from the Dutch, the old masters of the East Indies.  A bloody conflict that took the lives of over 5000 dutchmen, and 100000 Indonesians.  But that's another story.

Today, I do remember that once, America too was under an oppressive power.  Driven by greed, (it's always about greed), England was trying hard to tighten the grip over the 13 colonies in the new world.  The colonists disagreed with the subjugation by the empire of Britain and extremely unfair taxation practices.

So what did Americans do?  They fight.  They fight for their right to determine their own destiny.  For the basic human right to live free.

The cost of freedom is  high.  It's always is.  It was a bloody fight, a very costly war, in terms of finance and life.

But you simply cannot put the price on freedom.

Two hundred thirty seven years later, a few of us realize how much freedom cost.

For Indonesia it is only a  68 years.   And a lot of Indonesians already forgot about what it takes to earn that freedom.

So, today I lift up my cup, for all of us share.    A basic right that we often forget, and fail to cherish.  Often not only after it has been taken from us.

We may not see eye to eye.  We may disagree on the motives and various actions called by leadership of this country.  But today, we celebrate what it means to be free.  Why we fight for freedom, and why we will not cease to pick up arms, until the last of our dying breath, to defend what is rightfully ours.  

Here is to to life liberty, and pursuit of happiness.  Let freedom ring, from sea to shining sea!

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