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This edition of Litro Magazine is all about freedom – something worth celebrating while we still have it, if we ever really did, and worth fighting for, to cling onto it for as long as possible. What with Brexit and the resurgence of the far right across the world it often feels like what freedoms we have are liable to be stripped away soon. Inequality is growing, the 2016 referendum result amounts to a decision that the country should get poorer, and of course you can only really convince yourself you are free if you’ve got the money – and if you’re white, male, middle-class, straight, cisgender, non-disabled…
So this issue received an even stronger than usual haul of nonfiction submissions, beginning in these pages with “All the Freedom Privilege Allows”, by Lorraine Devon Wilke, a thought-provoking call to all of us, but in particular to her fellow white people, to challenge the inequality of freedom in so-called free countries; to “Take your privilege and power and use it”. Then Louis Amis in “Down the Road from Charlottesville” interviews in an America a gun salesman, survivalism enthusiast, and Trump supporter – ideas of “freedom” are the bedrock of conservative American ideology but of course all he ends up doing is suffocating freedom for himself, and poisoning the world around him. See also Louis’s recent “Trump Rides West” on Litro Online www.litro.co.uk . And finally, and more personally, Jakob Silas Lund’s “The Freedom of Forgiveness” is a moving piece about the tragic death of his daughter and how forgiveness can be possible and necessary.
But we have fiction, too, of course, though it doesn’t necessarily get less political: Evan Guilford-Blake’s “The Death of Donald Trump” imagines one way the Trumpian tragifarce might play out. Nnamdi Ehirim’s “Duets” tells through three contrasting voices a morning in the life of a middle-class Nigerian family and shows how the burden of expectations and lack of communication tends to strain the freedom of choice in domestic relationships. Ana Vidosavljevic’s “The Last Dervish” is told by a Sufi “whirling dervish” and celebrates the freedom and ecstasy found in that dying-out spiritual dance. And Elle Everhart’s “Outside the Wind Window” is about mourning and memory at an annual kite festival (and Litro Online was proud to publish Elle’s essay “Why I Didn’t Report” late last year).