Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Story of Us and Our Concept of Freedom

National Geographic has a new documentary series called "The Story of Us", narrated by Morgan Freeman. According to Wikipedia, the thesis of the series is that people have more in common with each other than what divides them. The first chapter explores the concept of freedom across various cultures and countries. What does it mean to be free? Mr. Freeman then travels and interviews different people to learn what freedom means to them.

The interviews are very interesting and well done, but the one that stuck out and gave me a deep pause was his interview with Victoria Khan, a transgender woman from Afghanistan. Mr. Freeman asks,"When did you feel the most free?" and she responds, "When I put on a burka."

This caught me totally off guard.
I always thought the burka as a symbol of male control over women. How could this person see the burka as freedom?

But I shut up and listened to the story, and from this persons perspective, the burka seemed to be like a type of invisibility cloak, allowing her to be who she is without judgement from the outside world. It allowed him to be a her - a female. For him, this was a release from that his inner prison.

I was moved and touched by his/her story. Being able to live your life as who and what you feel deep within is another type of freedom. A burka may be a prison for some, but for others, it can serve as type of freedom.

The series is currently on Netflix and also available via iTunes and Amazon.