Libyans Re-defining Freedom

Freedom, as defined in the dictionary, is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants. This means that you are free of your opinion and thoughts as long as they have no harm to people around you. It is so simple yet made very complicated. We were all born free. Slavery in the other hand was a form of freedom restriction. We could clearly see it in the United States in the 17th and 18th century. Other systems used repression and torture to silence the people. It differs from country to country.  

Libya was ruled by dictatorship and unfairness. The word itself wasn't used at all. If you are to use it then you must connect it with the former regime. The breeze of freedom was forbidden. I maybe was young but we could all sense that the system was wrong. Imagine living in a place where you think you are free but you find out that you weren't at all. They made you think you are!

"We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense." - Barack Obama

Following the revolution in 2011, I thought that freedom was fulfilled and the country is now ruled by democracy. However, seven years later, I am still wondering what freedom really means. So what I did is that I reached out to people through Twitter and simply asked them what the definition of freedom in their opinion is? I have received a huge response from so many people and I will share some of their answers here:

"Freedom in Libya differs from the rest of the world". - Mohaned

"Freedom means to freely express your thoughts and beliefs in a way you want to as long as it doesn't harm anyone else". - Bosshnaf

Another said and I quote "I relate freedom to safety and security and to live in peace." - Khonas

"It doesn't only mean to be free in your own choices and actions but to mainly respect the laws, place, and the people in your surrounding without interfering in theirs." – Aunanoumsly   

"You are free as long as you cause no damage to yourself and the people around you." - Mustafa
"Freedom is like a sword, sharp." - Mustafa Alzobi

"Everyone has their own cycle. Freedom is your personal cycle as long as you don't get into others' cycles." - Salem

"Freedom is to have a choice." - Najah Abdulkarim

"We are still breaking down its letters." - Eman Ali

"Freedom aligns with independence. In another word, to be independent in choosing the life you want without breaking the law." - Layal

In line with the definitions given above, they all agree that freedom shouldn't be violated and used against people. Also, it shouldn't be paraphrased in someone's own benefit. Unfortunately, it hasn't been understood well enough and the result caused a complete chaos in the country. Some Libyans have been misusing the definition and it has caused a collateral damage in the end. They used it for their own good not caring for the overall benefit. I won't blame it on freedom but mainly on the people who used it for all the wrong reasons. 

Concluding, for these reasons, I believe that we must respect freedom and use it properly. Awareness is very much needed regarding it. We need to respect each other to be able to call ourselves free. We need to respect our differences as well because if we can't then there is no freedom. 


  1. It's a well written post indeed Malak, and I have to ask: What's the value of freedom without security and safety?
    Maybe we need "freedom of speech" rather than "freedom"?
    Keep up the good work!

    1. Exactly! We lost the value of these too with the misuse of freedom I guess! Yeah, you're right. Thank you


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