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Freedom Is Seeing Past Lies #Artforfreedom

Freedom Is Seeing Past Lies  #Artforfreedom

The most genuine American act is to speak your opinion freely without fear of repercussions.

1. Ignorance Is Bliss

Ignorance Is Bliss

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Freedom is addressing the issues no one wants to talk about.

2. Freedom Is Speaking Your Mind

Freedom Is Speaking Your Mind

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Whether it is good or bad, freedom is when you can speak your mind.

3. Freedom Is Being Allowed To Ask Critical Questions.

Freedom Is Being Allowed To Ask Critical Questions.

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So often our voices are silenced when we ask, “Why are we at war?”

4. Freedom Is Acknowledging The Truth.

Freedom Is Acknowledging The Truth.

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“Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it.” -Emily Dickinson.

5. Freedom Is Putting Down The Gun.

Freedom Is Putting Down The Gun.

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So often our freedom is used as a fear tactic, justifying hundreds of thousands of deaths across seas in order to gain some false sense of security.

6. A Poem For Freedom


Child ran up to me yelling, “what does freedom mean?” Bouncing in every direction. Which one of you gave him too much candy? Chocolate

Smeared on chin. I got caught rolling through a stop sign, I checked three times, there weren’tAny pedestrians. I keep reading about how I am free. So, I walk across the street approximately

1000 Feet too early, 42 dollars later. Ticket for Texting and driving, “Does anyone want Chinese?”

I swear it was an emergency, officer, these people mightBe starving. Steadily jotting down information

With noisy pen and notepad. No, you don’tHave a quota and I don’t have a last name.

7. An Essay On Contradictions

“Welcome to the Divided States of America!”

Forgive me in advance, but someone has to say it.

When did the word “paranoid” change definitions? Since when did the word “paranoid” mean critical analysis and asking questions about your surroundings? The word “paranoid” in America means anyone who questions the United States’ government. The word “paranoid” in America means to ask, “why are we at war?”

When the questions are asked, no one has answers. No one truly knows the reason behind why we are at war, yet the citizens continue to fund it. The citizens continue to willingly join the military, “because it has good financial benefits.” The citizens continue to stand behind their government, with full blinded trust. For our pledge of allegeince to the flag told us so, for our hand across our heart told us to pledge all of our trust to our government. Even when the government blatantly tells its citizens that they lied to go to war, we still trust their reasons for making these decisions. We still stand behind our “freedom” loving nation. But, what does the word freedom truly mean? Does it mean to hold an American flag on the Fourth of July and have a BBQ, while drinking our Budweiser?

Does freedom mean invading and terrorizing other countries for profitable reasons? I guess so, I guess this is what freedom means. For me, as a citizen, the word freedom has twisted itself into some absurd definition. As I rack my brain, trying to make the most sense of our actions, trying to understand the reason behind the reckless war crimes we continue to fund. And I am torn into pieces. For I cannot come up with a logical excuse to invade other countries and say, “this is how you shall live your life.”

But, decade after decade we continuously decide to be the world’s police. We decide to invade countries and place our ideals on their lifestyles. Risking our own men’s lives.

The reality of the United States’ actions on other countries is obviously a sad contradiction. We claim to be involved in a war on “terror”, yet allow ourselves to terrorize other countries. The problem that comes up with our behavior is that it is not against actual terrorists. It is against citizens in other countries, citizens like the normal American citizen, who follow the rules and do not disturb others. Yet, we have allowed our soldiers to defend us, by using extreme military powers against other nations, who are innocent. We have allowed our government to tarnish the American name and turn our powers into a full-blown joke.

It makes me sick to my stomach that we engage in such detrimental actions against other countries. It makes me completely debilitated to the point of no return. For I feel like I am looking at all of the problems within our country and trying to address it to others, but no one cares. No one wants to know the truth, everyone wants our government to lie to us. Because if they didn’t lie to us, then maybe we’d have to take some responsibility for the war crimes.

I take a step back from the ultra patriotic standpoint and think of what it means to be a true American. For me, questioning our government’s actions, is one of the most genuine American actions you can do.

For when our founding father’s created our nation, they gave us the right to freedom of speech, they gave us the right to privacy, they gave us these basic civil rights because they knew without them, there would be an authoritarian power against the people. Over the course of ten years, we have completely reversed the freedoms our constitution so forcefully defines for us. We as citizens quietly stood by as the government passed the PARTRIOT Act, allowing for us to give up our freedom of privacy, in order to gain some false idea of security. We have also willingly given up our freedom of speech. For, whenever someone speaks against the war, against the government, then they are always considered, “paranoid”, a loon, crazy, delusional. These preconditioned thoughts about people who question the government, creates a population of people who just do not want to speak up because they are content with how things are.

The United States lives in a pretend bubble of security, allowing for the enemy to not only put fear into us, but also to control us. It will not take long before there are full blown military on every street corner, or shall I take a huge leap and say that the military is already on our streets in the form of brutal, “whatever I say goes” police officers?

We are sitting in a nation that is losing its freedoms on a daily basis and oddly enough we are okay with it. We are okay with all of the terror we place on other countries as long as the terror is not happening here. Well, the United States needs a wake up call, the United States needs to say, this type of behavior is not okay anywhere. This type of extreme power against other countries is a form of terrorism. And if we, as Americans, are to fight against terror, then we must dissect and analyze our very own actions.

The American government is in a war against its people and if you are not aware of this, then you shall find out very quickly in the future. The government will continously take all of our freedoms away because they can and because we are letting them. We are willingly handing over our rights to the oppressor. We are willingly allowing the United States government to see everyone as a target, everyone is seen as a criminal.

By letting the United States government intrude on our privacy, we are letting them accuse us all of crimes, until we are proven innocent. We are constantly having to prove that we are not criminal, that we are not terrorists. Yet, they are never content with the amount of control they have over us. The United States government will continue to take away our freedoms until we are all imprisoned. Why? You may ask…well, because they can and because no one is stopping them.

The fact that the U.S.A. government has admittedly started tapping into all of American’s private documents, online profiles and phone conversations, shows a scary reality most are not ready to bare. The act of taking away all American’s private conversations, email’s, text messages, phone conversations, is not only a violation of our fourth Amendment, but it is also showing us that the United States has redefined “terrorism.” Since the government needs every American’s private Internet documents on file, this means that the United States government views every single American as a terrorist. We gave our fourth amendment rights away to the government willingly in a means to target terrorists. And then the government turns around and uses it as a means to monitor the American people, thus concluding that we are all a threat to the government. Why else would they want to watch us all? Because our very own voices, personal opinions and privacy are considered a threat to the established government. Any voice against the establishment, any opinion against this regime is a threat to the United States “freedom” facade.Us, as citizens, must ban together, as citizens, not as democrats, not as republicans, not as Yankee fans, not as Laker fans, not as east coasters or west coasters, not as southern or northern, but as Americans. There are all of these different affiliations that are constantly splitting the population into contrasting categories. This is so we are always divided, so we do not have the power to unite against the oppressor. However, if all of us were to stick together as a United States instead of a Divided States, then we would be able to go after change. Then, we will be able to fight the oppressor for our basic human rights. For the oppressor has binded our legs and arms, we are completely owned by the United States way of life. And if we do not fit into this box, then you are no body.

Just when you think there are not any more freedoms to lose, they take away another right. Currently, Obama has passed the NDAA, allowing for the government to imprison any American at any time, for the suspicion of crimes this person might commit in the future. This means we are literally arresting people for being innocent! Of course, the passing of this act is fine and dandy because it is not impacting you. However, there is a reason for their madness. There is a reason behind them passing Acts like this. Because in the future, they are going to be able to arrest anyone because we allowed this act to pass. They are going to use these acts against us. We idly have sat by, while our government steals our freedom and turns it into their freedom.

And it is fine if you shrug this off as a paranoid conspiracy theorists ideas. Because you will learn in the future, when you are looking back thinking, “we should’ve done something.” For the end of our rights is not only inevitable, but it has already occurred. If you are blinded enough to stand behind our treacherous actions, then I envy you. For the truth of the United States government is a tough burden to hold upon your shoulders. But, once you see the light, once you see the truth, it is hard to go back to your Budweiser loving fourth of July parties. It is hard for me to celebrate a nation, which places military hatred as its main priority.

Our only way to change our nation is if we stop looking at people who critically analyze our nation’s actions as paranoid. And start thinking to ourselves, maybe there is some truth to their words. Maybe these people are actually mad for a reason. If you are not mad by our nation’s actions, then you are simple not looking hard enough. And I will allow for you to stay in your ignorant bliss, but I’d much rather not have to tell you later on, “I told you so.”

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South Sudan, The World’s Youngest Country, Is Spiraling Out Of Control

South Sudan, The World's Youngest Country, Is Spiraling Out Of Control
Handout / Reuters

South Sudanese rebels attacked the United Nations compound in South Sudan’s Jonglei state on Thursday, three days after a suspected failed military coup plunged the country into a spiraling wave of violence.

Clashes broke out in South Sudan on December 15, after President Salva Kiir, of the majority Dinka tribe, accused former vice president Riek Machar, from the Neur tribe, of staging a failed coup. The next day Kiir arrested 10 leading political figures. Macher remains on the run and has denied the allegations.

In the three days since, more than 500 South Sudanese have been killed, according to U.N. estimates. Witnesses have also reported that South Sudanese soldiers have fired indiscriminately into highly populated areas, and are targeting people from Macher’s Nuer ethnic group, according to Human Rights Watch.

Today’s attack on the U.N. reportedly occurred because Neur rebels were targeting civilians from the Dinka tribe hiding in the compound. There were reports of possible fatalities, but no further details. Today Pro-Machar rebels also took over the South Sudanese town of Bor, as the violence continued to spread beyond the capital, Juba.

Stringer / Reuters

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir.

Handout / Reuters

Civilians arrive to a shelter at the United Nations Mission in Juba.

The U.N. is reportedly sheltering more than 30,000 people in its compounds throughout the country. By Tuesday, civilians were already spilling out of the U.N. compound in Juba.

Amid the unrest, Sudanese officials closed the airport and imposed a curfew. The country’s communication networks were also largely shut down. By Thursday, the Juba airport had reopened.

South Sudan is the world’s youngest country. It became independent from Sudan in 2011 in a referendum intended to end decades of fighting. South Sudan is oil-rich, but continues to suffer from underdevelopment and ethnic and political divides.

In July, Kiir dismissed his entire cabinet, including Machar. The move was reportedly seen as an attempt to ease hostilities with Sudan, who disagreed with many of the South Sudanese cabinet members. Since gaining independence the country has seethed with underlying ethnic and political conflicts, which are now spilling out.

Stringer / Reuters

An injured civilian rests at a medical clinic inside the U.N. compound in Juba.

Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

A child carries his belongings into the U.N. compound.

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The Famous Bamboo Forest of Sagano

The Famous Bamboo Forest of Sagano

In the western outskirts of Kyoto, Japan there is a popular tourist district called Arashiyama. The area has been a frequent destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting. Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons. Within this area lies the famous bamboo forest of Sagano. [Source]

There is a walking path that cuts through the bamboo grove making for a pleasant and popular trek. When the sun is shining and there’s a gentle breeze to cause the trees to sway, the setting becomes quite picturesque. The bamboo in this grove is still used to manufacture various products such as cups, boxes, baskets and mats in the area.

Several travellers online have mentioned that the bamboo forest path can get quite busy. Hopefully if you visit this beautiful area, it’s not too busy so you can pause to admire the beauty and tranquillity of this special place.


Sagano bamboo forest

Photograph by MILTON CORREA


Bamboo forest : Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan / Japón


Giant bamboo forest in Kyoto: one of the most photographed places in Japan by tourists [Explore]

Photograph by IPPEI & JANINE NAOI



Photograph by AZKIN on Flickr


Sagano bamboo forest : Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan / Japón


Sagano Bamboo forest, Arashiyama, Kyoto

Photograph by CASEY YEE


Bamboo Forest

Photograph by Sebbastian on Flickr


Sagano bamboo forest


Giant bamboo canopy, Kyoto, Japan

Photograph by IPPEI & JANINE NAOI


Bamboo Forest, Sagano Kyoto

Photograph by Specialfx on Flickr


Sagano bamboo forest


Kyoto Bamboo Forest

Photograph by MIKE HOLLMAN