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The Extravagant Illusion Of Free Speech

Asha Kaikini

If one were to argue the presence of freedom of speech in today’s world, I would imagine his/her example would be as non existent as the idea itself. The world has watched the rise and fall of various causes and beliefs, yet we have seen one aspect of our democratic humanity staying ever essential - that of our right to speak freely.

Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition and anti-corruption activist, took to multiple online platforms to reveal his critiques which he believed showed ‘the depth of corruption at the heart of Putin’s Russia’. While en route to Siberia, Navalny developed a sudden and severe form of illness, and was urgently transported to a hospital in Germany. The ‘illness’, the root of which was later diagnosed to be Novichok, a chemical weapon, caused him to remain in a coma for two weeks. Furthermore, Novichok is an incredibly dangerous nerve agent only feasibly created in specialised laboratories by highly advanced scientists, historically only created in Russia. Post his recovery, Navalny tracked down the suspects, deceiving them into confessing the existence of a poisonous substance to which the government had outrightly denied any connection.

A country free of war is not synonymous to a country in a state of peace. Unrest exists. Doubt exists. Hate exists. Few individuals are brave enough to face the faults of our world and take a stand for change but we must not sit by the sidelines any longer. Actions make up the stories, words only tell them.

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