DieAs a Free Man Not As a Slave
Onthe memorial wall of Idaho Frank Human Rights I came across the quote‘’ Mas valc morir dc pic quc vivir de rodillas!’’ that whentranslated in English means ‘it is better to die on your feet thatto live on your knees’. The quote is lifted form 1910 Mexicanrevolution leader named Emiliano Zapata. Zapata was a leading figurein the Mexican revolution that sought to oust PorfirioDiaz,the then dictator of Mexico. Zapata was born in a remote village inMexico in 1879, and before he celebrated his 18thbirthday his father died, while Zapata himself died in April 1919.This quote has found meaning time and again, as different groups ofpeople in different societies try to fight for their independence.Political oppression has also been very prominent in many states evenafter society has found meaning in embracing principles of democracyand human rights. The Arab spring depicts such one incidence thatsuccinctly represents the true meaning of this quote. Citizens inTunisia, Libya and Egypt joined hands and successfully removeddictators from office, who had subjected civilians to many years ofterror and agony. The political instability in Syria has also beencaused by citizens who have been tired of political oppression of thepolitical elite.
Slavetrade and slavery existed for many years in many parts of the world.Ion ancient days it was difficult to conceive human social lifewithout slavery (Robert 1). Nevertheless, on different occasionvarious group emerged that opposed all manner of human oppression,most of them contending that slave trade and all its evils should beeliminated. Such movements sparked intense reactions from benignamusement to violent assault.
Idecided to choose this quote because it applies to people of allraces and religion. In the 19thcentury and early 20thcentury slave trade was a common phenomenon in many places around theworld. Under the dictatorial Mexican president PorfirioDiaz,Mexico was led by an iron fist and there was no room for dissentvoices. Diaz was known for eliminating his political enemies andchallengers and perhaps this is what prompted Zapata to utter thesewords. In different corners of the world people are faced withdifferent challenges and bottlenecks as they conduct their dailyaffairs. Fear of repression creates mental enslavement that preventsany efforts to alleviate the situation. In the modern world humanrights have been an integral part of all constitution both writtenand unwritten (Robert 1).
Freedomof worship and association is one such right that allows individualsto join any religion that they find suitable for their spiritualnourishment or any association that they feel will advance theireconomic, social or political agenda (Robert 1). The quote’’ itis better to die on your feet that to live on your knees’ meansthat we should not accept coercion by other people to live our lifethe way they want us to live or adopt a way of life that suits otherpeople but brings suffering to us. It persuades people to fight forwhat they deem to their right and resist any form of discrimination,oppression and intimidation, even if it will cost us our life.
Thelast part of the quote,’’…..live on your knees’’ refers toany form of oppression, either physical or mental. Each individual isunique in their own ways and as a result of our diversity we cannotalways agree. The quote says that it is much better for a person todie than to live as a slave. When we allow other people to dictate tous how we should live our life, and we are not given freedom tochoose how we want to live, then we are living in enslavement. Humanbeings are born as free beings and throughout the life cycle of lifethis aspect should not be reversed. We should not harm other peopleor create unnecessary problems in our society because all people areequal. Slaver condemns individual to unpremeditated suffering andagony. People who are ready to enslave other have a superioritycomplex that makes them feel they are better and more superior toother people. This quote indicates that this will culminate intoproblems as the oppressed try using every means to achieve theirliberation (Robert 1). Every society has exhibited a form of slaverin one way or another, and there is even a tacit upshot that thereexists slavery in every society. Whether we are white or black,Muslim or Christian, American or Chinese, we are the same and equal.It is not correct neither is it appropriate for a person from a givenculture, religion, race or country to say that he or she is betterthan other people from other diverse origins, and enslaves them onthis pretext (Robert 1).
Ilearnt about the subject of slavery in my high school education, andthe main reason that seemed to have fueled such barbaric acts wasignorance, and prejudice. In those ancient days civilization had nottaken root and majority of people were still illiterate in many partsof the world. In addition, there were no advocates for human rights.In the modern world this scenario has changed as people continue toembrace principles of equality and non discrimination. There stillexist pockets of small groups of individuals who have been complacentto change and have refused to embrace principles of that promotewelfare of humanity. It is these groups of individuals that havecontinually subjected other people to oppression and slavery thatZapata quote is addressing. But emancipation was not achieved on asilver platter. Many people had to battle for their liberty andrights and in the process lives were lost and blood was shed. Thequote found meaning in various parts of the world as people who wereunder saves waged uprising and fights against their oppressor. Thequote is still alive in the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial Wall towarn those still enslave others.
Inconclusion I have to indicate that there are two main reasons why Idecided to choose the quote. The first reason is the inferred meaningfrom the quote, that a person should always stand for his or her ideaand that we should not accept or allow ourselves to be forced to obeywrong ideas by other people. The quote also signifies that we shouldnot accept any form of enslavement and that we should continuouslystruggle to attain our freedom even if it will cost us our lives inthe process.
AnnaFrank Memorial. Retrieved from:https://www.google.com/search?q=Anne+frank+memorial&client=firefox-a&hs=zlB&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=DL9wU5KLPOzT7Aat1IH4DA&ved=0CCwQsAQ&biw=1004&bih=595
Robert,Higgs.TenReasons Not to Abolish Slavery. 2011. Retrieved from:http://mises.org/daily/5076/Ten-Reasons-Not-to-Abolish-Slavery
‘’Itis Better to Die on your Feet that to Live on your Knees’’ byEmiliano Zapata