Express Yourself

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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Topic: You gotta fight for your right


            So as I said in one of my previous entries, dance is one of the greatest forms of expression and art. This notion was once again reinforced when I attended the Flamenco show at the restaurant Cantares. It was an unbelievable experience. The amount of passion and articulation that resonated from the bailadores and cantantes (that’s dancers and singers for you gringos) was incredible. I found myself very emotional watching the show. I was taken aback about the amount of strength that stemmed from these people illustrating their thoughts and feelings. Then randomly, I started thinking about one of my favorite movies, “Equilibrium.”

            In this movie, it is “Big Brother”-esque in the fact that it is cast in the future about how controlling the government could possibly be. The film has remnants of the famous book 1984 by George Orwell because all forms of art are banned in the fictional society depicted in the movie. No one is allowed to listen to music, read literature, or paint. To make matters worse, no one is allowed to feel or have any types of emotions. Of course like all good movies, there is a main character that breaks this control and experiences the intensity and the deep value of being able to feel and appreciate art.

            Thinking about “Equilibrium” and also watching the Flamenco show, made me really think about how lucky I am to live in a country that allows me to express who I am. I thought about how stifled I’d feel if I could not say the things I wanted to and how empty my life would be if I could not feel the way I do. I could not imagine living in a world that did not allow people the freedom to be themselves. However, worlds such as the one depicted in “Equilibrium,” have existed in the past and some still exist today. Particularly, I thought about the censorship and control the Argentine government imposed in the 1970’s during the Dirty War. I thought about the movie “La Historia Oficial” (The Official History) which told a tale about the monstrosities that occurred during this time: babies were stolen, people disappeared, censorship and propaganda roamed everywhere. In essence, people could not say the thoughts they wanted to and could not express themselves in facets that they wanted to. Granted, flamenco was probably still allowed. But the principle of the situation still reverberated in my head. The freedom to be ourselves really is a precious and essential component in life.

            It was not so far in the past that Chinese college students were brutally massacred in Tiananmen Square for speaking out against the government and that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for speaking out against apartheid. It was also not so long ago that Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul protested and fought for women’s suffrage. In the last century, much progress has been made to make the world more accepting of individual’s freedoms. However for many of us in the younger generations, I think it is easy for us to take these freedoms for granted. After watching Flamenco, I walked away with an appreciation and awe for art once again and also a deep gratitude for being a citizen of a country that allows me to express myself. More importantly, we should remember to not abuse this freedom and become flippant and superficial of the words we say. On that note, I shall end this blog with one of my favorite quotes by General George S. Patton: “always say what you mean and mean what you say.”

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82 km (51 miles) traveled
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