How the West wins over its enemies

Enes Kantor, NBA player, Turkish Muslim, recently sworn in as a citizen of the United States, added "Freedom" to his name after he was sworn in as a citizen.  He has been all smiles.  He wears the new name of Freedom on his NBA jersey.

When he came to the U.S. from Turkey eleven years ago, Freedom was shocked at the amount of freedom we have.  Most recently after becoming a citizen, he has appeared on many media outlets and said that in the U.S., people have the right to travel, to speak freely — freedoms he did not enjoy or imagine in Turkey.  He celebrates his free speech when he wears shoes while playing basketball that say "No Beijing 2022; Free Tibet; Taiwan belongs to the people of Taiwan; Save Uighur."  He said the NBA begged him not to wear the shoes.  He replied to the NBA that this is America, and he has the right to free speech, and he wore the shoes.  He said he may get fired, but someone has to speak out.  He said his sister and parents have been persecuted in Turkey and cannot get jobs because of him, but he said someone has to speak out.  He said America is the greatest country in the world and the First Amendment safeguards the greatest right we have.  He said that when he came to America, he did not know what freedom was.  He said people in the United States are blessed with freedoms of speech and expression, religion, and the press.  He is genuinely inspiring to hear.

Freedom's story reminded be of the Russian KGB agent, Oleg Gordievsky, who became a spy for the West during the Cold War.  His adventures are revealed in a biography wonderfully written by Ben Macintyre called The Spy and the Traitor.  Gordievsky's father was KGB.  His brother was a deep-cover KGB spy.  His wife's family was KGB.  He was fully indoctrinated, loyal and competent as a spy when he and his wife were sent in 1965, for the first time out of the country, to the Russian embassy in Copenhagen.

A British MI6 officer stated, "If you had to choose a city to demonstrate the advantages of Western democracy over Russian communism, you could hardly do better than Copenhagen."  The author explains, "The capital of Denmark was beautiful, clean, modern, rich, and to the eyes of a couple newly emerged from the drab oppression of Soviet life, almost impossibly alluring.  Here were sleek cars, shiny office buildings, smart designer furniture, and smiling Nordic people with magnificent dentistry.  There were teeming cafes, bright restaurants serving exotic food, shops selling bewildering array of goods.  To Gordievsky's famished eyes, the Danes seemed not just brighter and more alive, but culturally nourished.  He [Gordievsky] was astounded by the range of books available in the first library he entered, but even more surprised to be allowed to borrow as many as he wanted and to keep the plastic bag he took them away in.  There seemed to be very few policemen."

"Copenhagen seemed to be alive with music: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Telemann — composers he had never been allowed to hear in Soviet Russia.  There was a very good reason, he [Gordievsky] reflected, why ordinary Soviet citizens were not permitted to travel abroad: who but a fully indoctrinated KGB officer would be able to taste such freedoms and resist the urge to stay?"  He realized that Western systems were too valuable to squander.

Gordievsky became a spy for ideological reasons.  He was later stationed as a KGB Agent in London.  He asked for no quid pro quo from his Western handlers.  He was an invaluable spy for over a decade.

Immigrants from tyranny are persons who immediately recognize the blazing difference between their countries and the freedom in America.  Their lives are changed forever.

Recently, over a million immigrants crashed into southern border on the promise of a better life.  As for me, I have lived here all of my life, free in America and unfortunately sometimes oblivious to its value.  I am beginning to join Enes Freedom and Oleg Gordievsky and speak out against the erosion of our culture as the left begins to put us in the pot like the well known frog.  People cannot fly on commercial planes without a mask; they must in many places prove vaccination to go out to dinner, to send their children to school.  We are losing our freedom to shop and walk safely in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Portland, and Seattle, and we are losing our confidence in the courts and the rule of law to provide justice.  Large portions of towns and cities are surrendered to the unthinking anarchist.

Those who want to restrict our freedoms, often for no discernible reason, need to hear the stories of the recent immigrants from tyranny, read the history of the development of freedom as a Western cultural icon.  We cannot let those who do not like our freedom win.  Speak up.

Image: Jorge Franganillo via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

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