quasi in rem

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Letting freedom reign...

Just some notes on the authorship of the phrase...

Over at the: " Guardian they note"The mutation, "Let Freedom Reign", has an interesting pedigree of its own. George Bush's father used the phrase at a speech in the Netherlands in 1989, attributing it to Winston Churchill (wrongly, according to the Churchill Centre in Washington). But five years later, Nelson Mandela used the same words to stirring effect in his inaugural address as president of a new South Africa. "

Mandela's peech is reprinted at Inspiring speeches:

Here are some excerpts:

"The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us. We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge our-selves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering gender and other discrimination.
We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace.
We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.
Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement."

And here is a more recent use found in a poem by Northover available at Africa Online:


Oh Africa, let freedom reign
Oh Africa, let freedom reign.
Rain down a storm on the white man's home.
Let him see that God is watching over all.
Let the thunder clap its hands
Together we will stand
Hand in hand
One and all

And finally here is a portion of an essay on the Matin Luther king foundation website entitled: WHY WE CELEBRATE MLK: "The parade and its participants are emerging as a veritable rainbow of humanity. Christians, Jews, Bahai's, Muslims, and other faiths figuratively, (and sometimes literally,) join forces to make this parade an 'event.' Together, they make joyful noises that resonate from the 'heightening Alleghenies' to Tieneman Square with the all too familiar cry: 'Let Freedom Reign!'"

And here is Maureen Dowd's uninformed take on the expression:
"Let freedom reign.
Couldn't Karl Rove and his minions at least get that "ad-lib" right about freedom ringing?" ... The White House pretended that the sovereignty was real. The administration that is loath to share information and presidential papers — even to help the 9/11 investigation find ways to make the country more secure — quickly turned over a photo of Mr. Bush's handwritten "Let freedom reign!" comment on Condi Rice's note to him announcing the transfer.

But it rings — or reigns — hollow in a week when Sandra Day O'Connor and the Supremes — except the Bush family fixer Clarence Thomas — slapped the commander in chief for torturing without a license. "A state of war is not a blank check for the president," the court ruled."


  • Here's the deal.

    If you are eloquent, and Mandela is, then what you say is interpreted as eloquent. When Mandala says, "Let Freedom Reign" people know to look at the positive irony of the words.

    But when you are inarticulate, and Bush is, then the same words are given no credit. The best Bush can hope for is that someone writes a good speech for him, and then he doesn't screw it up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 2, 2004 at 9:20 PM  

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