Liberation in modern context has been twisted (both accidentally and purposefully) and is often shown as a fools dream, the following of hippy fanatics or idealism out of reach. Liberation, in an American context, is something that THEY do…over there. We assume that we, here, are free. We have historic examples of liberation that are heroic and valiant but today the liberationist is shown as a boat rocker or pariah.
Is liberation only freedom from physical confinement or can it also mean the act of being released from other bondage? I argue that liberation is also about freedom from prisons of all sorts; physical, economic, emotional, sexual, political, religious, and spiritual.
One complication is that learning about liberation in all its varieties proves to be difficult, not in the lack of information but in the wealth of it. Being diffuse and having many faces, liberation is not easily defined. However, this is not a weakness but strength. While the appearance of liberation has happened all over the globe and throughout history it is this very global and temporal nature that makes it worth studying. It is not a historic event that happened once and never again. Liberation is not theory only or the acts of one man. It can be applied and enacted in varied places and as discussed above can free and participate in the act of itself in all forms of imprisonment.
Through the examination of liberation here, I hope to show that it is not a distant and theoretical concept bandied about by academics or hippies or THOSE people but is a profound, possible, and actual reality than can be enacted. Finding cases of attempted and realized liberation will provide proof, finding definition in the actions of those working towards it. Some of the figures I hope to examine are participants on the front lines while some remained distant in the world of theory. Some of the figures also had their concept of liberation informed by their faith, many in the list as devout Christians. This is a strange place as Christianity has been a motivator, impetus and apologetic for colonialism, oppression and imperialism. Finding the theology and philosophy of these subversives is a powerful look at changing those structures of “divinely justified” power and oppression. If we can find a theology/philosophy that is equally powerful in its support of liberation that can be much more powerful than a liberation that lacks this spiritual motivator.