Happy Independence Day – wherever you are!

Jul 04, 2008
In 2006 on this day, the biggest news were that Broad Peak summits kicked off the Karakoram season while on Everest; Harry Kikstra’s guiding of the disabled climber Thomas Weber raised concern.

In 2007, the big topic was Conrad Anker’s Everest second step claims while in Pakistan, the first summits were made on Broad Peak again. This year, the biggest news is yet another Broad Peak ascent; made by Dodo Kopold and shadowed by the death of his mate Vlado Plulik.

More than anything though, the 2008 edition of Independence Day must focus on Free Speech: the very First Amendment that our forefathers gave their lives for.

A right that climbers today so easily trade for summits; journalists so readily trade for access; and statesmen so comfortably trade for profit.

Above the law

Let’s check the definitions:

Freedom is the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints.

Independence is freedom from control or influence of another or others.

On Mount Everest this Olympic year, some understood the significance of people from free nations giving up these privileges by choice. Freedom and Independence are above the law – they are human rights, given to us by God. Yet they are not free; our ancestors died for them and if we don’t defend them at every step, we will lose them.

Together, freedom and independence set ground for Democracy. Democracy is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” In a just and free election, people of all races and nations choose Democracy. It can and must be achieved for this entire world.

Happy Independence Day everyone – wherever you are!

The First Amendment prohibits the federal legislature from making laws that infringe the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. These freedoms were intended not only as rights, but also as an obligation for the press to serve “people’s right to know.”

Freedom of the press is different from other liberties of the people in that it is both individual and institutional. It applies not just to a single person’s right to publish ideas, but also to the right of print and broadcast media to express views and to cover and publish news.

A free press is, therefore, one of the foundations of a democratic society, and as Walter Lippmann, the 20th-century American columnist, wrote, “A free press is not a privilege, but an organic necessity in a great society.” One sign of the importance of a free press is that when antidemocratic forces try to take over; their first act is often to muzzle the press.

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One Response

  1. Thanks for this thought provoking post. I’ve been wondering whether the USA’s strong drive for independence, is in any way due to the nation’s history – with its pioneers risking all to sail the high seas for an unknown destination.

    I’d really like to know what you think.

    Url: http://catchthevision.wordpress.com

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