This post explores freedom. Because of Covid-19 the Government have imposed restrictions for the safety of us all and to protect NHS staff and others. They have requested that we stay home to stop the spread of the virus which will save lives. I know that this is difficult for all of us but it made me think how lucky we are living here in England, a land of diversity and freedom where generally our liberties are not curtailed or taken away apart from times like these when it is necessary to try to keep us all safe.
I have wondered what it must feel like to have your freedom either forcibly taken away or to live in an environment where you feel so threatened or persecuted you have been forced to hide away for fear of being caught.
I thought we could have a look at a few different stories, some more familiar than others, to see what their experiences were like. This isn't in any way to say we 'have it easy', or say we 'don't have it that bad', because everyone's battle is personal and circumstantial to them.
We live in a Country where our Government tries to protect us, where we have a National Health Service second to none and where we have qualified Doctors and Nurses and other health professionals who are putting their own lives on the line to help people defeat this virus. Schools and manufacturing industries are coming together to make protective equipment. People in our community are offering to help people they have never met before. There is a lot to be grateful for amongst the trauma.
Hopefully this period of staying at home to contain the spread of the virus won't be anywhere near the length of time the people below had spent in confinement, but I know that it will still be difficult and some of us will lose relatives, friends, colleagues and people that are close to us along the way which will be a great loss. There is lots of help available if you are feeling afraid, depressed, anxious, isolated, suicidal or just want someone to talk to. Don't suffer on your own. Talking to someone about how you feel can help you stay in good mental health and help you deal with the time you may be feeling troubled, please do visit the rest of our website for information on our services, helplines and websites we recommend.
Anne Frank (1929-1945), a young Jewish girl, her sister, and her parents moved to the Netherlands from Germany after Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power there in 1933 and made life increasingly difficult for Jews. In 1942, Frank and her family went into hiding in a secret apartment behind her father’s business in German-occupied Amsterdam. The Franks were discovered in 1944 and sent to concentration camps; only Anne’s father survived. Anne Frank’s diary of her family’s time in hiding, first published in 1947, has been translated into almost 70 languages and is one of the most widely read accounts of the Holocaust.
This is a very brief snippet of the information available on the Anne Frank website, you can visit it here and read more about her story.
The South African activist and former president Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) helped bring an end to apartheid and has been a global advocate for human rights. A member of the African National Congress party beginning in the 1940s, he was a leader of both peaceful protests and armed resistance against the white minority’s oppressive regime in a racially divided South Africa. His actions landed him in prison for nearly three decades and made him the face of the antiapartheid movement both within his country and internationally. Released in 1990, he participated in the eradication of apartheid and in 1994 became the first black president of South Africa, forming a multiethnic government to oversee the country’s transition. after retiring from politics in 1999, he remained a devoted champion for peace and social justice in his own nation and around the world until his death in 2013 at the age of 95.
You can read more about Nelson Mandela's story and more on the Nelson Mandela Foundation website.
Terry Waite was born in the county of Cheshire, England on the 31st May 1939. He was educated locally and received his higher education in London. On leaving college he was appointed as Education Advisor to the Anglican Bishop of Bristol and remained in that post until he moved to East Africa in 1969. In Uganda he worked as Provincial Training Adviser to the first African Anglican Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and in that capacity travelled extensively throughout East Africa.
Together with his wife Frances and their four children, he witnessed the Amin coup in Uganda and both he and his wife narrowly escaped death on several occasions. From his office in Kampala he founded the Southern Sudan Project and was responsible for developing programmes of aid and development for this war-torn region.
In the early 1980s he successfully negotiated the release of several hostages from Iran and this event brought him to public attention. In 1983 he negotiated with Colonel Ghadafi for the release of British hostages held in Libya and again was successful. In January 1987 while negotiating for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon he himself was taken captive and remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in total solitary confinement.
Following his release on 19th November 1991 he was elected a Fellow Commoner at Trinity Hall Cambridge England where he wrote his first book Taken on Trust. This quickly became an international best-seller and headed the lists in the UK and elsewhere. Following his experience as a captive he decided to make a career change and determined to give himself to study, writing, lecturing and humanitarian activities.
Terry has been speaking about the current 'lockdown' and often talks about his time in confinement. Here are a few articles to read of his.