Noun: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants. 

Many of those who have lived in the Levant or within Levantine families have struggled with the concept of freedom on multiple levels. This struggle manifests as the little girl who has to understand that she is not allowed to do the same things her brother does. It manifests as the son living in Gaza who is not allowed to travel to the West Bank to see his ailing mother. It manifests as the growing individual who wants to break free from pre-imposed societal norms. It manifests as a journalist being silenced by the government for speaking the truth. And sometimes, it manifests as an entire nation taking to the streets and protesting to break free from the shackles of oppression. 

In its 6th issue, Al Rawiya aims to look at what freedom – or the lack thereof- means across the different strata of society. How does freedom manifest itself through social movements, through sexuality, through economic independence, through art or through clothing? What does liberation look like for women? For members of the LGBTQIA+ community? For people born and raised into a strict set of norms and traditions? For people with physical and mental disabilities? Is there such a thing as being “free” while existing in oppressive systems of governance?

The constant struggles for freedom begs the question – are we ever truly free?

Though the answer to the above question may seem grim at times, the articles in this issue explore freedom through individual, communitarian, and national lenses. Through story-telling, interviews, and thorough analyses, this issue re-emphasizes the multi-faceted concept of freedom.