It was 1989, shortly after the clashes that took place in Tiananmen Square; several events seemed to foretell the fall of the Berlin Wall, including an exodus of East German which began on the 11th of September. Meanwhile, in South Africa, with the coming of the new President De Klerk, apartheid was silently under siege.  

Chiara Badano, who was already ill, in spite of her physical difficulties, continued with her studies. The teacher who was tutoring Chiara assigned her the task of writing an essay about freedom, in which Chiara Luce exhibits profound sensitivity.

“Newpapers, television and mass media are often talking to us about freedom – one example is the recent painful events which took place in Tiananmen Square. The photograph of that young man standing motionless in front of an armed tank is an emblem of the often desperate and heroic search for freedom which urges young people of our day to fight for it even if it costs them their lives.  

Leafing through a newspaper or turning on the TV these days, we are struck by the flood of refugees who are leaving Eastern countries, heedless of the danger, and heading for a better life in the West. Then, immediately, our thoughts turn to the silent and tenacious struggle of the people in South Africa.

Freedom and equality disappear in every form of racism: freedom of self determination of peoples; freedom of expression, of thought, freedom of religion; freedom from want because the means of survival are available to all; Here we remember those portions of the population in which people are still dying of hunger and, therefore, denied their main freedom: the freedom to live.

The quest for freedom and the struggle to win it has always been part of the human journey, a journey that has not yet ended. It is a goal that is still to be achieved even though many barriers have already fallen.

We Westerners who have inherited the ideas of the American Revolution and the French Revolution, formed on Christian principles, we who live in democratic nations, perhaps believe that we have achieved freedom. But is it true?

In spite of our continual effort to achieve this good for all, even as we try to rid ourselves of some prohibitions, we can become enslaved through consumerism, wealth and wellbeing, and a desperate struggle for power.”  

(Extract from "Io ho tutto". I 18 anni di Chiara Luce by Michele Zanzucchi, Città Nuova 2010)

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