Title: Freedom

Creator: Paige Gulley

Category: Mind

Creator Commentary:

This poem is a conversation between a political prisoner and his guard/torturer on the nature of freedom. It is meant to be read both forwards and backwards: forwards, the guard asks the initial question; backwards, it is the prisoner who commences. Each reading produces a different “victor” of the conversation, and a different prevailing view of freedom: either as political protest, freedom of speech, thought, and mind; or as physical freedom, the ability to return home each night, to live comfortably and safely, the freedom of silence and compliance. This second definition will undoubtedly be unpalatable to many readers; yet how many of them can say that they are truly willing to demand a different type of freedom, that they do not merely accept the limitations placed upon them every day, for example, by a government ostensibly protecting them? The goal of this piece is to reveal the uncertainty of freedom, of its very definition and also of its practical consequences. This piece was inspired by an episode of the Syrian online puppet show Top Goon: Diaries of a Little Dictator, which uses puppets to both criticize the Assad regime and provide support and encouragement to the rebels fighting it. Episode 7 of Season 1, titled “Interrogation,” was the main inspiration for this poem, and, like all episodes of Top Goon, can be found on YouTube:


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Creator Bio:

Paige Gulley is currently in her final year as an undergraduate at Chapman University. Her love of reading led her to her current job at a public library, but it is her love of languages and cultures that motivate her academic studies. Paige will be pursuing a Master’s in War and Society at Chapman University next year, and then hopes to continue her studies in the field of postcolonial studies. No matter where her life takes her, she intends to live a life of ubuntu, always recognizing the humanity in others and acting accordingly.

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