And We Fight the Darkness

Two years ago I was in Lima attending a conference on liberty by Nobel Prize winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa’s International Liberty Foundation.  The evening after the conference, I was invited to the colonial district of Lima where a group of fifteen or twenty young people had gathered in an old, decrepit cultural center to discuss the ideas that bring liberty.  We talked about democracy and the challenges of voting our values; we talked about prosperity through property and the free market values that bring ownership and responsibility; and we talked about propriety and the importance of the family in the fabric of society.  We encouraged each other – and we fought the darkness.

Last year I stood on a street corner in Georgetown, Washington D.C. while a multitude of freedom loving Venezuelans around me dared to dream that their vote would finally free their homeland.  While it was not to be, in the endless voting lines and the tri-color conversations of a tireless people longing for a peaceful path to liberty I was amazed at witnessing the energy of a people seeking to be free.  We discussed our memories of a free Venezuela and our dreams for the future.  And we fought the darkness.  

Last week I sat with a group of new friends in an alley off Istiklal Street in Istanbul.  They were from Morocco, from Egypt, and from Kurdistan in Iraq.  Some were smoking shisha, some drank juice and I was sipping a hot Turkish tea as we talked about the values that could bring freedom at last to the Muslim world.  Principles of natural rights, of tolerance without extremes and the pre-eminent position of reason over tradition.  And we fought the darkness.

Wherever I go I find men and women of courage fighting for freedom.  They do so often at great risk – like women-journalists trying to navigate Egypt’s complicated political landscape; like young people daring to dream of a Venezuela where their opinions would not be punished; like those who advocate for reason in a world of sometimes violent tradition.  Together these “thousand points of light” are uniting to illuminate a global movement for liberty.  And it’s gaining ground.  Slowly through each hard-fought battle the principles of the enlightened man are taking hold; as the tireless continue to fight the darkness.      

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist, author of “The Lieutenant of San Porfirio” and its Spanish version “El Teniente de San Porfirio: Cronica de una Revolución Bolivariana

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
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2 Responses to And We Fight the Darkness

  1. Ian Mathie says:

    It is interesting to note that in all these cases where you and those aspiring to freedom have met, the people denying them that freedom are invariably so insecure that they find it necessary to use force to stifle the voice of dissent. Only when a society is fully mature and balanced can it tolerate some of its people holding contrary or simply different views from those currently running the show. Keep fighting, there is a vast silent majority behind you and one day they will feel courageous enough to speak out. When that happens the whole world will hear their voice.


  2. Joel Hirst says:

    Free societies are very resilient – totalitarian regimes are very fragile. That is why they need to use violence.  Their hold on power is tenuous because it is illegitimate. 


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