Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pres. Obama Speaks About the Middle East. Now We Must Decide

Now we must decide. President Obama spoke today. He said that the USA should support the growing democratic movements in the Middle East. Is this going to translate into a strenghthening of civil liberties at home? What price are we willing to pay to feel secure and safe? When do we cross the line between taking reasonable precautions and acting on feelings of paranoia?

This past Sunday, we saw a play that examined these issues in a provocative, dramatic way. Freedom, NY written by Jennifer Barclay was expertly staged by Teatro Vista at the Theatre Wit in Chicago. The story takes place in a predominantly African-American town in upstate New York.  Mayflower, her granddaughter Portia, and their neighbors confront their basest fears when Gabriel, a Mexican immigrant, moves in next door and begins preparing for the Day of the Dead. How the story unfolds and how they reconcile their fears with their desire to act fairly and decently presents a gripping story. I won’t say anymore about the story line because you should see it for yourselves. You won’t be disappointed.

Although Freedom, NY is about the conflicts among three main characters, it provokes thought about larger issues some of which are being debated in the United States as we speak. Are we actually keeping ourselves safe by continuing the War in Afghanistan against Al-Qaeda? Do we make ourselves more secure by continuing to keep Payton Manning in prison without formal charges for allegedly leaking secrets to Wikileaks? Or is it actually dangerous to have fully open speech? What price do we need to pay to be reasonably secure from further terrorist attacks in our post 9/11 world? All these questions are brought to mind in Freedom, NY. Where does the line of being reasonably cautious end and the line of paranoia begin? I think that we as a nation need to examine these issues and find a good balance that assures our safety as well as our civil liberties. I’d appreciate hearing from all of you here. We all need to raise our voices about this subject.   


martha said...

Well, since Obama was also talking about land swaps and telling the Palestinians they couldn't deny Israel's right to exist, it doesn't seem as bad as I first feared.

Lisa Sachs said...

Thanks, Jeff. We know you just wrote that but I couldn't figure out how to fix it.