If you can keep your head…

In a recent post here on Free Keene, Mr. Penguin wrote, “…here is what we’re going to do. We’re going to write Ian Freeman at every opportunity.” I just made such an opportunity. My letter to Ian is in the mail. I thought I’d share it here in the hope that it nudges others to also carve out a little time to send him some love.


I hope this letter finds you with peace of mind. I think about you often and send positive vibes.

I was sorry to see how swayed by disinformation were the individuals who concluded that your actions or inactions were cage-worthy. Sorry — but perhaps not surprised — due to the very real implications of the weaponization of psychology coupled with technocracy. That indoctrination pushed through so many institutions manipulates individuals to favor unthinking allegiance and to act based on fear, rather than to cultivate ones own critical thinking skills and to act based on love.

Despite the multitude of claims levied against you, I was unable to discern any harm that you wrought to person or property. At most, you didn’t ask permission of some strangers who purport to be your master. And that is what this whole charade — and the attempts to cage you in the past — was about. The fact that you think for yourself and act accordingly. In order words, that you govern yourself. And even more damning— that you encourage others to do so as well.

A while back — as you’ll recall — I started calling you “IF” — short for Ian Freeman. I don’t believe anyone else ever picked it up, but I liked it. Something different and personal — a term of endearment I suppose. Last week I stumbled across the poem “IF” by Rudyard Kipling. I had read it a couple of times in years past, including when I saw it printed on a poster at an Airbnb in Florida, and thought it especially striking now, not just due to the title (which I hadn’t really noticed before) but due to the sentiment contained. I’m guessing you too have spied this poem at some point, but I wanted to share it — to get it in front of you — per your recent experiences.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
?Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Hopefully some of that resonated with you. I do think you are well-positioned, mentally and spiritually, to handle your present circumstances. Balanced. Able to find harmony. To see the bigger picture. But still, that does not negate the injustice to which you (and so many others now caged) are being subjected. 

I did a little more digging re: that poem and as I guess you would welcome more, not less, detail about it — both for historical context and as food for thought — please allow me to continue in this vein. 

The poem was published in 1910. As you can surmise from the poem’s last word — Rudyard wrote it for his son, John, who was 13 at the time. John perished only five years later. At the strident encouragement of his father, John had joined the British army during “the war to end all wars”. According to Wikipedia, “Rudyard Kipling came to see the war as a crusade for civilization against barbarism, and was even more keen that his son should see active service.” I wonder if Rudyard ever realized the folly of his nationalism, jingoism, and divisiveness

According to the interwebs, Rudyard had used as inspiration for the poem a man named Leander Starr Jameson, who moved from London to South Africa for his health and to continue his well-regarded medical practice. Eventually Jameson came to the attention of Cecil Rhodes — who was then heading-up the UK presence in that area. Jameson was wooed into politics, and later — at the behest of Rhodes with an eye to establishing greater UK domination in the region — led an unsuccessful uprising against the Boers. After “the Jameson Raid” — Rhodes was officially demoted (though still held sway) and Jameson was arrested, brought to London, tried, convicted, then in true political fashion, soon pardoned. While I don’t think Rudyard’s imperialist traits are worth embodying, one may discern wisdom, or agreement in some of his writings. After all, the truthfulness of something is not contingent on the speaker. 

(And, as an aside: Rhodes later went on to be instrumental in the formation of the Round Table Group, which sought to more closely align the UK-based regime with the regimes of its then-current and former colonies; to frame things not between nation-states but between those in political power and those out of political power, and to further empower the former while systematically dumbing-down the latter).

Much love to you IF. Thanks for living true to yourself.

P.S. I caught a bit of Stella Assange’s presentation made at Bitcoin Amsterdam a couple of weeks back. After she spoke, one of the staff commentators echoed what Stella had said — “Free Assange, Free the World” then added, “Free Snowden, and Free Ross.” I thought worthwhile the inclusion of: “Free IF.”

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