Symbol of Freedom

Vadim Isakov asked an intriguing question to a group of students this week: What became his symbol of freedom in the United States?

Isakov had come to the United States from his home country of Uzbekistan, a former Soviet state now considered one of the more restrictive countries in terms of personal freedoms.

I guessed the obvious: the Statue of Liberty. Nope. A student guessed McDonald’s. Nope. Someone asked if his symbol of freedom was the Mall in Washington, D.C. No again.

He let us think a moment more and then said, “A bookstore.” He marveled at standing in a bookstore, seeing all manner of books, some criticizing the U.S. government, others taking controversial positions on significant social issues. And he was free to stand there and explore so many writings without fear.

Isakov worked for Agence France-Presse and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ukbekistan and is now a visiting scholar-in-residence at Ithaca College. We hosted him in a Media Writing class, where he spoke with passion about freedom, giving our students both geographic insight into Central Asia and philosophical insight into the freedom that we Americans so often take for granted.

Explore posts in the same categories: Freedom of Expression, International Communications, Special Guests, Students

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: