Courage is envisioning and articulating freedom that is yet to be actualized. Angela Davis talks about this—imagining change is the first step of making change. One year after his release following months of detainment without due process, Ai Weiwei wrote:
I often ask myself if I am afraid of being detained again. My inner voice says I am not. I love freedom, like anybody; maybe more than most people. But it is such a tragedy if you live your life in fear. That’s worse than actually losing your freedom.
…none of us have been dealt with through fair play, open trials and open discussion. China has not established the rule of law and if there is a power above the law there is no social justice. Everybody can be subjected to harm…
Stupidity can win for a moment, but it can never really succeed because the nature of humans is to seek freedom. They can delay that freedom but they can’t stop it.
(“Ai Weiwei: to live your life in fear is worse than losing your freedom,” Guardian, June 21, 2012):
Further, even as a known target of one of the world’s most secretive and repressive governments, Ai remains an optimist:
What I gained from the experience is a much stronger sense of responsibility, and an understanding of what the problems are and how one can understand what’s happening and remain a positive force. You have to see your own position from the other side. At the same time you have to maintain a passion for what you are doing. You have to have sensitivity and joy. If you don’t have that, you will be like a fish on the beach, drying up on the sand….