Saturday, September 17, 2011

Beginning New Ends

I have one more year left of living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

All going well, in a year's time I'll be at university, studying for a degree that will hopefully lead on to a career in journalism. My ideal degree (though not necessarily the one I will end up in) is Philosophy, Politics and Economics. I feel its principles are in almost all areas of the media today, and as I look further it seems that the decisions we and those around us make are governed by the social, political and economic aspects of society.

Whether we like this or not is immaterial. But having an awareness of how these principles affect our lives means we have the ability to change them. We are not made to be cogs in a machine. We have our rights and our responsibilities, and as members of our local communities and citizens of our countries we should adhere to both. For a long time, my parents have been emphasising the need for the recognition of both rights and responsibilities; freedom does not lie in the Land of Do-As-You-Please. People (and when I say people, of course I am making a generalisation) are quick to spout the phrase "It's my right!" but very rarely do I hear the words "It's my responsibility!".

So yes, I've started to take an active interest in freedom. Political freedom, economic freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of thought. This issue of freedom first struck me whilst reading George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, and has stayed at the back of my mind ever since. I consider myself to be 'free' and not in spite of the laws, rules and codes of practice that I have to abide to, but in part because of them. If freedom is made up of rights and responsibilities, then following these regulations whilst retaining my rights grants me freedom.

Of course, it is never as simple as that. Read anything about the DR Congo in the past twenty years and you'll see personal liberties stripped away like confetti. Do they have freedom?

Then there's the issue of religion and spiritual freedom, a matter which is so large in itself that I have no plan in the immediate future to venture into!

Finally we have Saudi, a country which I have so much to learn from, and so much to learn about. There are many misconceptions about Saudi, but as the spotlight draws ever closer to the country in this age of oil, what is fact and what is fiction needs be cleared up. Western misconceptions here are popular thought in the States, or in the UK.

So I hope you find this blog interesting. Intriguing. Entertaining. Or, at the very least, not a waste of your time.

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