Everybody is talking worriedly about freedom today.
The idea that there is so much violence in the world these days - so that the worry that freedom is heading quietly and yet inexorably towards an extinction of one sort or another - is perhaps the biggest fear that’s torturing people’s minds everywhere, it’s quite scary.
Almost every day now in the world news - as well as the news here at home - we see graphic confrontations of vicious violence being depicted despicably on the screen, as if the idea is to warn about an imminent upsurge of global violence that is waiting fitfully up ahead.
Right here in Samoa on a night in June this year, a video of four Samoan women engaged in brutal fighting on Beach Road, had somehow made it on the screens of the social media where it was shown globally, for the world to see.
Along the way right there on the screen, the brutal reality that Samoan women were such vicious brawlers so that they should be sent to fight in the wars in the Middle East, was made emphatically clear.
Not only were they brutally adroit in the use of their bulging fists, bulging arms and bulging legs, they were just as effective with the use of their mouths so that much swearing was taking place, and that way attempts by the bystanders to separate them failed, and the fighting did not stop.
And as if that was an event in the Samoan entertainment calendar to adore and emulate, two more videos of nocturnal women fights showed up on the screens everywhere.
One took place in front of the RSA Nightclub on Beach Road, and the other one was fought inside the old Agriculture Store, also on Beach Road. And in both videos, the women were seen to be trying to kill each other - as they were swearing at each other - which was when the Police arrived, and pulled them apart.
In any case, these street fights among women appear to be “a growing trend which is quite alarming”, and the question is: What is the government of Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, doing about it?
We don’t know.
All we know is that it seems clear that “everyone is talking worriedly about losing one’s freedom” as though they are scared of the idea that it is quite possible they can lose it.
What would happen if one day you found that your freedom is gone?
How does one feel when one’s freedom has been taken forcibly away from him?
It feels awful.
Life becomes vacuously meaningless all of a sudden, so that it feels as if you have nothing left, that is worth living for.
Over there in the Peoples Republic of China today, a man has been locked up in jail over the last eight years, since then he was been diagnosed as suffering from liver cancer.
But then since he is not allowed outside jail where he can be given the medical treatment that he desperately needs, it’s conceivable that he would have already lost any sense of freedom he might have been hoping for.
And who is this man?
He is the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, aged 61.
An intellectual and literary critic, Liu Xiaobo was jailed for the crime of drafting Charter 08, a political manifesto that called for democracy in China.
While he was in jail he was diagnosed with liver cancer, but the Chinese authorities are refusing to allow him to travel to the United States, for medical treatment.
According to reports, Mr. Liu’s incarceration for allegedly “inciting subversion of state power” was appalling, and in fact, unfortunate.
As for us here in Samoa, we sincerely want to believe that “Samoa and The People’s Republic of China, are still good friends.”
Since as far as we are aware, our two countries have been friends even way back, before Samoa’s late Head of State, Malietoa Tanumafili II, passed away. That was on 11 May 2007.
Later during Malietoa’s funeral, the President of the The People’s Republic of China at the time, HU Jingtao, said these words:
I was shocked and saddened to learn of the passing away of His Highness, Malietoa Tanumafili II, Head of State of the Independent State of Samoa. On behalf of the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China, and in my own name, I wish to convey our deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences to the Government and people of Samoa, and to the bereaved family of His Highness.
His Highness was a statesman of noble character and high prestige who made outstanding contributions to the independence and development of Samoa.
As Head of State of Samoa, he was not only friendly to China but was also committed to maintaining and promoting the cordial and cooperative relations between Samoa and China, which the Chinese people will never forget.
I hope and believe that the cause of friendship initiated by His Highness will be continuously consolidated and strengthened with joint efforts by both the Samoan and Chinese Governments.
The People’s Republic of China.
Let us hope then that President Xi Jinping, of the Peoples Republic of China, would heed his predecessor, President HU Jingtao’s wishes, and maintain China’s very cordial relationship with Samoa.
He can do that by releasing his countryman, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo from prison, where he has been jailed over the last eight years, so that he can travel to the United States where he can be given, the medical treatment that he urgently needs.
As for us here in Samoa, we sincerely want to believe that “Samoa and The People’s Republic of China, are still good friends,” and will remain so for a long, long time.
Indeed, we want to believe that our own government would also be committed to maintaining and promoting the cordial and cooperative relations between Samoa and China, which the Chinese people will never forget.