Guest Post: Elizabeth Fleming (MA ’13)

Hello, IP students and other interested parties!  Today we have a post from Elizabeth Fleming, who’s going to be participating in the 2012 USA Youth Debates in Tunisia.  Liz is the Secretary of IPSO and one of the keys to the IP program.  She’s got a soft spot for sports diplomacy.  Keep up with her at her blog!


Thank you so much for your interest in this blog! My name is Elizabeth, and I am one of the students participating in the 2012 USA Youth Debates in Tunisia. This Monday March 19, a group of about 20 students, including myself, and leaders will travel to Tunisia for a 10-day debate experience. We will discuss various topics about the recent events in the MENA region and will seek to generate meaningful cross-cultural discussion about the future of Tunisia and the Maghreb. I am very passionate about the recent events and future of this country and hope to be able to share my experiences with anyone who is willing to listen/read! Please feel free to share this blog with others, and if you have input, you can reach me at fleminge55@gmail.com.
With less than a week to go before I and the other USA Youth Debate delegates depart for Tunisia, I find my excitement growing by the minute. As I prepare for the debates, I am increasingly impressed with what Tunisia, as a country, has been able to achieve and cannot wait to talk to Tunisian students about their country’s groundbreaking revolution.
I recently met with my statistics professor to explain to him my upcoming absence from his class and, as understanding as he was, he was even more excited to show me this video of Amel Mathlouthi, the “voice of the revolution.” More than a year ago now, in January 2011, Mathlouthi sang this song, My Word is Free,  a capella, in front of the entire protest crowd. Her haunting voice has become a symbol not just for the Tunisian people, but  for freedom-seekers throughout the world. As an American, I am proud of the freedom upon which my country was founded and for which my country continues to fight. I must admit, though, that I often take this easily-enjoyed freedom for granted. Especially as a female, I do not always consider the fact that my freedom to speak as I wish is a sacred guarantee of my country, and that the words of females elsewhere are NOT always free. So, although I am blessed to be in a free country, Mathlouthi’s song should not just be a symbol of freedom to oppressed people; it should just as easily be a reminder of the sanctity of freedom to those of us who currently enjoy it. The funny thing about freedom is that the moment free people forget they are free is the moment they cease to be as such. So, I encourage you to watch this mesmerizing video of a young girl whose words are free. May it be a symbol to those who are currently pursuing freedom and a reminder to those who do not wish to lose it.
I am already moved by courage of the people of Tunisia, and I haven’t even met them! Come on Monday…can you get here already?

If you’d like to contribute a guest post, please write to commipso@gmail.com or vpipso@gmail.com.  We don’t bite!


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