Freedom, the rights of children, democracy

Kathy Krugerharmony, peace15 Comments

When I was in Year 6 (it could have been Year 5 or 7) I wrote a poem that was published in the Australian Girl Guides magazine. It was my very first published piece. Woo Hoo!

It was called FREEDOM and it was full of idealism for a better world that only 11 year-old-girls, flush with naïve enthusiasm and the wholesome principles of girl guidehood, can articulate.

Sadly I don’t have the poem or the publication (why was it thrown out?), but think it may have gone something like this:

Freedom means an end to hate

The kind of world that would be great

A world where everyone tries to be good

Because we all know we should

(Ok so it might have been even better than my made-up version, but you get the idea)!

I was in Year 7 in 1979, the International Year of the Child, and on the strength of my obvious writing talent!! I was chosen with another girl to edit a collaborative book of submissions from children around Queensland (or perhaps they were just from Catholic primary schools in Brisbane, but you get the idea).

My friend and co-editor and I got to spent two weeks (or perhaps it was only a week) out of the classroom and in the staff room poring over the project, organizing the poems, letters and drawings into a big scrapbook that expressed how children from all over Queensland (or maybe just Brisbane Catholic primary schools) hoped to make the world a better place.

A few years later (sometime after the film’s 1982 release) I saw the movie ‘Year of Living Dangerously’ about an Australian journalist covering an uprising against the government of Indonesia in the 1960’s.

My nascent desire to be a journalist was cemented in the idealism that foreign correspondents could actually make a difference, and in the allure of a young and handsome Mel Gibson to a hormonal teen.

Freedom, the rights of children, democracy, all things worth writing about and fighting for.

My journalism career didn’t quite take the foreign correspondent path, although I like to think some of my stories have informed and inspired and even encouraged freedom, democracy and the rights of children.

(As an aside, I’ve never met Mel Gibson (sigh), although for many years he had a house nearby on the Gold Coast. As another aside, I have met Debra Lee Furness, but have sadly only seen Hugh Jackman on stage and haven’t had the chance to meet him in person. Double Sigh – no make that triple.)

Aside from the above obvious disappointment of not meeting Hugh, and not so much Mel, I feel so lucky to enjoy freedom in a democratic society (even if we don’t have to like the politics) having grown up enjoying all the rights a child deserves. I don’t take things for granted, yet I know I don’t shout out enough about our privileges.

I’m no Peter Greste, jailed as a foreign correspondent with his Al Jezeera colleagues for simply championing democracy and freedom of the press – Amnesty International has this campaign going for their freedom and let’s hope the diplomatic and legal processes will see them free any day now.

And now terror once again assaults freedom of expression with the horror attack in Paris on the Charlie-Hebdo satirical magazine.

Sometimes it is really hard to believe that freedom is ever possible, or that the world’s children will ever enjoy the rights they deserve (I know all of us are concerned with the rights of children, and if you can help in any further way, consider the Rafiki Mwema charity that I support).

And so we can go into our shells, afraid to let our little voices out so that they might swell in to a chorus of hope, change, possibility.

But fear isn’t the answer is it? This is part of the answer.

Paris hope




Linking up with Grace for the first FYBF of the year, adding my little voice in the mix. If we all harmonise maybe we won’t be drowned out by despair, don’t you think?

Do you hear the people sing….there is future about to start when tomorrow comes.

Namaste sign off_edited-1


Kathy X 

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Kathy KrugerFreedom, the rights of children, democracy

15 Comments on “Freedom, the rights of children, democracy”

  1. mamagrace71

    Wow! Beautiful poem, Kathy. So talented! Even back then!
    It’s so awful about Paris. But again, we’re proving that as a global community, we can rise above it both through love and freedom x


    Beautifully written Kathy. For the sake of our children’s freedom we need more than ever to rise above the fear mongering and hate and rally together as a peaceful global community.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Isn’t it amazing what has happened since in Paris (despite the additional tragic attacks, that display of solidarity in peace was just so powerful, it makes you cry).

  3. arunquiltha68

    Freedom is a beautiful word. I agree with you too, Kathy that harmonising, collaborating, focusing on love and the positives diminishes the fear. Nicely written piece of expression… you’re one part of the whole♥

  4. Bec @ The Plumbette

    Before I had children, I wondered whether it was right to bring them into this fallen world, but then I was told that my children could be or hold the answer to creating a solution for freedom. I also believe if we all did one thing, the world would be a much better place, but in the first world we are so damn busy with our own little empires. It’s so important to always look out above your own castle. A great post Kathy. x

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Bec – I wonder whether our children will be the generation tipping point that brings out world back to a more peaceful equilibrium – I really hope so.

  5. Dani from Sand Has No Home

    Beautiful 🙂 I am banging on about this book all over the place and I suppose I had better do a post about it to get it out of my system, but I just finished reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbbara Kingsolver this week and I was blown away by what it inspired in me and hoe eloquently it pointed out the unbelievable privilege that we enjoy through the luck of where we were born. There was a lot of beautifully written stuff about grief after the loss of a white child, and the truth that her death wasn’t more important than the millions in Africa. I finished the book and went right to the World Vision site to sponsor a child. Sorry, I would have certainly partially sponsored one of the girls in your charity had it seen this yesterday, but a child sponsored is a child sponsored.
    Thanks for this post.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Dani – I think I see your post on the book in the IBOT list (sorry to be so late in replying to this comment) so I’m off to read it (and the book). We used to have a sponsor child through World Vision – once she turned 16 she aged out of the program and it felt really good to have been part of her getting a good education. Whoever you sponsor, however you help, the small things we do can make a difference and really connect us to each other. Thanks so much for visiting.

  6. EssentiallyJess

    I’m still struggling to make sense of Paris. I just can’t believe it happened in the way that it did, and I’m frustrated that our media gave it so little air time. We should be informed so we can stand up globally.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      I think the French press seems much more ‘open’ thank our mainstream media here – but haven’t the images of the world leaders standing together, amidst almost 2 million people standing up for peace, been just so incredibly heartening.

  7. This Charming Mum

    The small light that glows in amongst the ridiculous events we see in the news all the time is that so many people choose to focus on peace. Even if it’s only a notion or a theory, or a quick ‘share’ on social media, there are so many people willing to work towards a better future for our children. Hope is everything.

  8. Pingback: Freedom | Yinyangmother

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