Commentary: Lesson of freedom in ‘Arab Spring’

By Juliana Wishne, Senior, Parkway West

It has been one year since a relatively small-scale riot against the Tunisian government sparked a revolution that spread rapidly across the Middle East dubbed “The Arab Spring.” During this Passover season, a time where Jews are urged to reflect upon their freedom and the things that still enslave us, my mind wanders to the comparisons and contrasts between the political rights we have in America, and the oppression that certain Middle Easterners face in their countries.

The Arab Spring is a youth’s revolt; most organizing takes place via social networking, the younger generation’s medium of choice. Its leaders are mainly 20- and 30-somethings who yearn for more freedom than their parents and grandparents could ever dream of having.

So, when I think of the sacrifices these young people in far-away lands make in order to secure democracy and the right to vote, I sadly think about the upcoming election in the United States, and how history has showed that many of us who are guaranteed the right to vote will choose not to take advantage of this privilege. It preoccupies my mind in this season of reflection, and I believe it is a slap in the face of our peers thousands of miles away. They die for their right to vote, while so many American teenagers do not realize the gravity of that opportunity.

November is still far away, but I would like to urge our readers who are 18 and older to register and vote. Even if you are away at college, do not give up this right. It’s yours. Democrat, Republican, Independent, Green, Socialist… I don’t care. As long as you make a thoughtful decision and exercise your vote, you’re good in my book.