F is for Fighting

R is for Resistance

E is for Enlightenment

E is for Entitlement

D is for Don’t give up

O is for Overcome… (We shall…)

M is for My life, My choices.

I am a child of the 50’s, raised in the 60’s and 70’s. Born in India (Pakistan) after the Partition. Raised in Vietnam – in between the French and American wars; in Cambodia after the end of the French Protectorate. Then in West Africa, right after Independence from the French, later in East Africa, free from the English. Independence. Freedom.

The 60’s and their “line extension”, the 70’s, were two decades of Fighting for Freedom. Dr King, Kennedy, the civil rights, the pill, freedom for blacks, for women, freedom for minorities. Woodstock with Richie Havens. Then abortion in the 70’s. I remember Simone Weil being insulted in the French Parliament for promoting the abortion law. Those were hard years, but Freedom grew.

Then what happened? Not sure. Reagan? Michael Douglas in “Wall St”? Greed came back.

I don’t know the young woman’s name in my drawings above. I guess the photographer didn’t have much time to ask her when she was arrested and taken away by the Po-leece, somewhere in Asia. Asia? It could be anywhere now. Her age? Between 20 and 30? Her crime? She demanded Freedom. F.R.E.E.D.O.M. And she was willing to go to jail. Are we?

I did this sketch between January 30th and February 3rd. There were already boots stomping around Ukraine. Though no-one really believed war could start in Central Europe. Well, it has. On February 24th, the second military power on the planet attacked a small independent country : Ukraine. To this day, Ukrainians are still fighting for Freedom. Their Freedom and ours. 🇺🇦

According to various bona fide media, more than 10,000 people have been arrested in Russia after protesting against the war on Ukraine. close to 5,000 last Sunday alone. I understand they risk up to 15 years in jail. Just for FREEDOM. Freedom is now officially a crime.

Feel FREE to share this post.

Happy women’s day. Freedom is under threat everywhere and for everyone.

125 thoughts on “F.R.E.E.D.O.M.

  1. Thank you for this post. All this progress lost, just because people let an evil man take power, knowing full well he was a threat. I read someone say that World War 3 has already started, whether we acknowledge it or not. (In Politico). It’s mind-boggling what they will do with 10 000 people in jail, apparently they have big jails over there… And so ruthless, bombing hospitals, shooting children and setting mines on the paths of evacuating folks. And still so many people believe the unnameable person is the good guy!!!

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. We might well be at the eve of WWIII. 10,000 people is an Army division, give or take. Imagine where to put them? Siberia I guess. Russia has known freedom in fact. They still had serfs until the end of the 19th century…
      I’ve gathered images which I may or may not use for a future post. But I don’t know…
      Around you, is everybody aware of what might happen or are most blind?

      • In Finland, most people are scared. I read somewhere that 74% now believe Russia will attack us too and professors of international relations and whatnot have called it a very probably scenario within the next couple of years. Mind you, we are much smaller than Ukraine, only 5 million people. Raising two sons, I’m terryfied of raising them only to feed them to a war machine.

      • 74%? Makes – cruel – sense. And 5 millions could be seen as an “easy” target for the madman… But then easy targets tend to prove not so easy.
        I’d been thinking of your sons. They’re still way too young for any war machine, but the prospect of war is scary enough for any parent or grandparent… Merde, merde, merde! (Pardon my French… I am so angry…)

  2. Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,
    Nothing don’t mean nothing honey if it ain’t free, now […]

    (Janis Joplin – Me and Bobby McGee)

    Freedom is the most dangerous weapon we could wield… if we could grab it. And the bastards know it, that’s why they’re ready to do anything – murder included and so many times done – in order to keep the many from achieving it. Our freedom would mean their instant loss of power. They won’t allow it.

    Dunno what happened to that young lady in the photo/sketch but she may not be with us anymore. Wish I was wrong, especially today.

    Best regards to all women of good will and warm hearts!

    • I don’t know either what happened to her. The photograph was… “poignant”. Her look to the photographer who captured that moment and inspired my sketch… Man!
      She’s probably alive though. Given the location. (Undisclosed. It doesn’t matter. Like I said, it can happen almost anywhere). But in jail for a while.

  3. La guerre en Ukraine est une triste réalité mais pas une nouveauté pour ce pays. Depuis sept ans maintenant, elle se joue à l’intérieur du pays, entre séparatistes pro-russes et soldats ukrainiens.
    Quant à la Russie, c’est un pays ou le mot liberté n’existe pas vraiment et pas seulement la liberté de la presse. La plupart des russes ont été surpris par cette guerre et ils n’ont pas leur mot à dire.
    Bel article Brieuc

    • Merci Mélie. En lecteur assidu de l’histoire, je me rends compte que la Russie n’a jamais vraiment connu la liberté. Ils sont passés directement du Tsarisme au “Bolchevisme” puis au Stalinisme…etc. Gorbatchev a été une – heureuse – exception…
      Comment dit-on Liberté en Russe? Pravda? Non. Je crois que Pravda c’est la vérité? (Ironique). Svoboda?
      (Tu dois savoir…)
      Biz Mélie.

  4. Lovely that you acknowledged International Women’s Day, Brian!
    The drawing and acrostic presentation was brilliant and captured the attention.
    Just yesterday I was speaking to a Russian-Ukrainian lady who feared that the Russians will not rebel against Putin. The way she spoke of the culture and fear reminded me so much of the Stalinist era. I applaud those courageous folks that protested, but when you lose 75 million people to the gulags under Stalin, 25 million in WWII, however many in Afghanistan/Checyna, the arrest of 10,000 protesters is hardly a significant concern for Putin. Sadly, his control is omnipotent and fear-based.
    Freedom is under threat and why? Greed happened.

    • Yep. Greed. I understand he is possibly one of the richest men in the world…
      You’re right. 10,000 doesn’t even tickle him. yet, yet… pre-1989, not one would have gone to the streets…
      And international women’s day is a must in this family. 2 years ago exactly, daughter #2 took her older sister and her mother (my wife) to the street to march. The next day, the world shut down for two years for COVID.
      What will happen next?
      “Stay tuned”. 🙏🏻

      • Glad to hear you support your strong indeoendent thinking women! No wonder we connected through
        blogging! I don’t think many misogynists follow my blog🤣
        About a year ago, I was protesting in a street march against misogynist attacks on female staffers working at Parliament house!

      • Misogyni is one of varieties of human violence. None is acceptable. Daughter #2 is a consultant on gender issues and violence… Scary how it still happens every day everywhere…
        Keep up the fight.

      • It seems our parliament live in the era of the eighties. What would be totally unacceptable in an Australian workplace today is tolerated and possibly even lauded by some politicians. Drinking, sexual assault of women, bottom slapping, lewd remarks etc…. disgusting!

      • Weird. I finished High school in 1970. Started College that very same year. I don’t think it would have occurred to any of us “boys”. And any one who would have dared would have got a beating… Something really bad happened along the way…

      • We have allowed ourselves to be “ruled” by people who are not “Gentlemen” (or Ladies), uncouth, ill-mannered. And we will pay dearly for that.

      • I see we agree. I have thought that for a few years now. If you look at Brexit and the coming French election we have all been passive, with resulting pitiful candidates then pitiful elected “leaders”. Coming to a point I’m not sure I will vote in April. I think it might be the first time ever I don’t vote in the presidential election… Grrr.

      • You are not the first person to speak of suffrage apathy in recent times. It is compulsory to vote in Australia, so for me to not do so would feel alien. Especially when so many people fought to achieve universal suffrage for so long. But I do understand that no choice is sometimes better than choosing for a pathetic or dangerous candidate.

      • I am in favour of compulsory vote. Abstention has grown in France in the past 10-15 years. I always vote. But sincerely? This time? They’re all morons… Starting with Macron.
        Have you read Saramago’s “Seeing”? (Ensaio sobre a lúcidez). In a parliamentary election 83% vote blank. The rest is pure genius.
        There is a growing issue of competence of politicians. I suspect the “good ones” go into business, and the others into politics.

      • Unfortunately it seems this current era of politicians are all of a certain plumage. It is about greed, power and a career as an attention seeking “media tart!” (to paraphrase one of ours)
        I plead ignorance about Macron. I don’t really know anything about French politics but did applaud Macron for calling out our PM about lying about the submarine deal cancellation.
        That book sounds interesting. I will see if I can locate it here.
        Thanks, Brian!

      • Plumage indeed.
        The submarine cancellation was a shame. (I do suspect some sort of bad client service on our part, but still, not a way to treat allies…) And Biden didn’t do it well either…
        The book is strong but amazing. I like Saramago a lot. Did you read a related book called “Blindness”? Where most people go blind. Lemme check the English title. Yes. Blindness.

      • I saw ‘Blindness,’ was another title by Jose when I searched for ‘Seeing’. It was more readily available.
        As for the submarine fiasco, it sounded like it was poorly thought out from the start by Aussie politicians. Australia has a very complicated relationship with nuclear power and, especially, France. Like guns are in the psyche of Americans, being nuclear free is in the psyche of Australians and New Zealanders. It was always controversial if a US Navy warship with nuclear capabilities even dared visit our ports! We have a lot of Uranium resources here but it is political suicide to suggest mining it.

      • I read a preview of the book online and it grabbed my attention so I have ordered the book! I look forward to its arrival within 3 weeks! Thanks so much!

      • That was a fast order! I hope you like it. It is a hard book. But I still think it is a very good insight into the current state of Democracy… (Under fire!)

  5. It just hit me, what you wrote in your last answer to Forestwood: Your women went on a march, and the next day the world closed down.
    Many protests were going on at that time, which were shut up by the closing down of countries and Corona rules. We didn’t hear anything about refugees anymore either. And I just read that in 2020 the American military base on Greenland (Thule) was reorganized by the United States SPACE Force, which does not add to my feeling of safety. I wonder, what else was silently done all over the world during these two years.

  6. I find it profound how the drawings take colour and how that progression takes on a more powerful feeling for me. The potency and sinister nature of the situation is increased by the progression.

  7. Snow wrote: “In Finland, most people are scared. I read somewhere that 74% now believe Russia will attack us too and professors of international relations and whatnot have called it a very probably scenario within the next couple of years.” SERIOUSLY?

    • When clients would tell me “You’re the expert”, I would tell them “No. I’m not an expert. Experts have always been wrong… Look at the state of the world.” 😉
      Right now? I think no-one knows. It can go either way. What I believe is that we must not repeat errors of the past. i.e. Munich 1938.
      Reagan – as much as I dislike him – did the right thing in the 80’s, along with Kohl and Mitterrand. He, they stood up to the Russians.

  8. Those who stand up for equal rights and freedom have more courage than most politicians could ever imagine ~ from this nameless girl in your drawings above (very well done I might add), to the Russian Network Production manager who took great risk to her life and well being with her live performance on a news program… It is unfortunate in this day and age, people still must risk it all for the very basic freedoms that should be in place everywhere.

    • Very well said. I’d seen other photos of young women arrested in the same country. I don’t want to name it, but you know the place. You’ve lived there. I don’t know whether young women are more active or whether (male) photographers are more attracted to the dignity and willpower they show.
      The sketch was difficult, because of the content and I couldn’t help thinking of that frightened look she shot to the photographer. (I’m not sure I could be a photographer. I think I’d run to the cops and at least ask her name…)
      And yes, the producer on Russian TV was very brave. So brave, they could not even hit her with the full power of the “Law”. They’re probably lurking in a corner.
      Freedom is in peril indeed. Who will fight for it?
      (Have you been in touch with your Ukrainian friends? The ones you featured in a post?)

      • Yes, I’ve been in almost daily contact with them. The men have stayed behind, but their families and the women and their children have all made it to Hungary, Czech, and Poland to safety. Yevgeniy continues to send messages from Sumy with some video and photos (he is also a great photographer).

        I do remember the photo of the young woman arrested, and like all of these brave souls – once the spotlight is off, I wonder what becomes of them (the tank man of Tiananmen decades ago being one I’ll always remember). In a sense, they all make us braver which is a very good thing. Take care my friend, may the springtime treat you and your family well.

      • The images of your friends stay with me. The Ukrainians really deserve our respect for their courage. A blogger friend form Latvia (she now lives in Ireland) told me her brother-in-law is Ukrainian, with 3 “kids” from a previous marriage in Ukraine. He went to the border in Poland to pick them up, after a long trip on their side. After a few days, safe in Latvia, his daughter said: “I can’t do this. I’m going back to fight…” And she did.
        Yes, the Tiananmen man… All those anonymous heroes who probably end up in jail to waste their youth away… They do make us braver, but some comments I read in France make me shiver…
        You too – and yours – stay safe.

      • I’m really happy to hear you say this, as my family/friends in the States felt the same as you – and it made it easier in a sense. It is this courage, unexpected courage, they are showing that is beyond respect. It is inspiring and for people like you and me, something that makes us want to do all we can to help those on the ‘front line.’ Makes me believe in
        humanity and in the end freedom will win out (and I naively believe all works out well for all, almost a necessity for me to believe this). And yes, the noise from the other side is disconcerting. Take care my friend ~

      • Hmmmm….
        (And yes – it is Mother’s Day – (even though every day is Mother’s Day in a way and “Hallmark holidays” have pros and cons)

      • Hahaha
        I am on the “con” side for the way some of these holidays have stupid pressure
        And an old boss of mine (huge mentor in my life too – named Kyle Reed) once mentioned something like ” these holidays can be so cheesy yet if you abandon them altogether we will be a schmuck” – he said that as he got his wife roses for Valentine’s Day…

      • Lots of things – management and then he opened a restaurant in Denver – around 95 – and just retired to Florida with his wife – working for him was amazing and we still
        Keep in touch with Christmas cards —

      • Oh tha is awesome to
        Keep in touch it’s the Brit boss!
        When I stopped working for Kyle in late 2000 – I knew I was leaving a good boss – but later realized I was leaving the numero uno boss ever.
        I mentioned him in my
        Dissertation because part of the reason I do work research today is because of his motivating influence.

        Hope your week is going well –

      • Thanks again for doing the interview and putting a little thought into it! When we share pieces of our life it can have many ripples (I know we know this – which is why we even blog )
        And things here are nice – enjoying some cool temps and transplanted a few plants (new post to spread the roots)

  9. So sad how ruthless this world can be! When I watch the news with my grandfather, all you mostly see is somebody fighting for their freedom. And to get it and keep it seems to come with a price…

    • It is sad, but probably inevitable, given the nature of the human beast… The Ukrainians will never be the same. When they eventually kick the Russians out we will have a new strong nation in Europe, ready to bring new ideas…

      • Very truthful! Let alone having a detrimental disease that kills…It just saddens me how so many lives are taken by homicides and for what?! I just believe we all should have a life of longevity and peace…why we all can’t just leave this world peacefully without our lives being taken by another…

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