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Human Rights

Back to listJul 1, 2011

July Issue of SGI Quarterly "Finding Freedom" Now Online

SGI Quarterly July Issue

What is freedom? What does it mean to be free? The July issue of the SGI Quarterly, now online, takes a broad look at the meaning of freedom and the experiences of those who have struggled to achieve it.

Philosopher and political scientist Stein Ringen argues that self-restraint is an essential element of freedom: Freedom, he writes, "is something that must be learned." This perspective is echoed by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda who writes that true freedom lies in the spirit of ongoing challenge and development, and "the stronger you are the freer you will be."

Norwegian film maker and activist Tina Davis highlights the shocking fact that today there are more people around the world living in slavery--forced to work for no pay and by the threat of violence--than at any time in history. It is extreme vulnerability that puts so many people at risk of such ruthless exploitation.

While there are an estimated 27 million people in slavery, many more are denied freedom by poverty. Mary Anne Guzman of the Philippines describes the dynamics of poverty and some of the ways in which people can be helped out of it. South African performing artist Tu Nokwe, meanwhile, explores the connection between freedom and the arts, reflecting on her experience of apartheid.

Many of us take our liberties for granted. British journalist Alan Johnston realized the value of freedom when he was suddenly abducted one afternoon in Gaza and held hostage by a militant group for more than 100 days. He describes his intense mental struggle to maintain hope. "I took all the positive thoughts I could muster and lashed them together in my mind, like planks in a psychological raft that I hoped would buoy me up," he writes.

Also in this issue are experiences of SGI members who found freedom in literacy and in the midst of tremendous physical challenges, as well as a special report on the Soka Gakkai's response to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Read July issue of the SGI Quarterly here

[Courtesy of SGI Office of Public Information]