Independence: Never Easy, But Worth It


We wish you a very happy Independence Day this July 4th. On this day we are thankful for the men and women and their families that have served and continue to serve our nation fighting to preserve our independence.

The fight for independence is almost never an easy battle, but it is always an important one. Countries have been willing to give up so much for the freedom and to preserve their way of life. So as Americans fire up their grills and set off some fireworks to celebrate the Independence of the USA, we wanted to share the possibly less familiar stories of how some of our program countries have strived for and gained their independence!

Congo: In 1885 Congo fell into the hands of the King of Belgium who quickly began making drastic changes in the lives of the people of that region. One change included King Leopold modestly naming the capital of his new Congo, Leopoldville (what is today Kinshasa). Unfortunately King Leopold broke his promise to make humanitarian efforts in the Congo, and instead brutalized the local population into producing rubber for his gain. Eventually the world realized the horrible situation in the Congo and power was transferred from the King to the Parliament, which improved the natives’ situation somewhat. Finally in the 1960s the people of Congo were able to take back their cultural identity and government when a true Congolese man won the election to lead the country!

Ukraine: Ukraine suffered for years under the control of Stalin’s Soviet Union, Stalin attempted to eliminate any traces or supporters of what some Ukraine citizens called Ukranization. This was a movement to combat Stalin’s oppression of the Ukrainian people and their culture. Ukraine fought against the forces of Stalin almost continuously from the time they were overrun until the end of WWII! However all that fighting didn’t officially pay off until 1990. In that year 300,000 Ukrainians joined hands across the country to show the unity of their country and their desire for independence from the USSR.

Nicaragua: The Spanish Conquistadores are infamous for attempting to implant their own Spanish culture on the indigenous peoples of the places they conquered, and Nicaragua was no exception. However, after its independence from the Conquistadores the Nicaraguan people have blended together the European, Native, and Caribbean cultures to make a vibrant and exciting culture full of high spirited music, dance, and literature.

Bulgaria: Bulgaria spent hundreds of years as an involuntary member of the Ottoman Empire. While the Bulgarian people attempted uprisings on several occasions their independence was not achieved until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. However, since that time Bulgaria has literally been fighting for space and an identity. They are fortunate to have the influences of some of the great civilizations in the music, food, and literature they have today.

Click through to read more about Samoa‘s journey to independence.

These countries struggled, just like the USA, to regain their cultures and establish a strong national identity. They fought for a better life for themselves and their children, their nation’s future.

Photo Credit: Vinoth Chandar

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MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.