Remarks by Dr. Al-Arian Regarding the 60th Anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human RightsThe Hague, Holland - December 10, 2008 - This week, Dr. Sami Al-Arian released the following statement to be read before the broadcast of the award-winning Norwegian-produced documentary USA v. Al-Arian on the Greek television network ERT.
This speech will also be read today at the screening of the documentary at Amnesty International's Movies that Matter Festival in The Hague, which is being held in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
The following is the full text of the speech:
As we approach the sixtieth anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, issued in December 1948, in the aftermath of a devastating world war, it is fitting to recall some of its essential promises to humanity. Its preamble recognized the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world. It was an utter repudiation of the tremendous abuse and cruelty to which oppressed people throughout the world were subjected.
This declaration also emerged only months after the wholesale expulsion of the Palestinian people from their ancestral homeland. Yet, millions of Palestinians today are still denied justice, freedom, peace, and security - and consequently their human rights - after so many decades in exile or subjugation within their own homeland.
My story, then, is the story of the Palestinian, not only denied his right to live in freedom and dignity, but also denied the right to tell his story to the world, to stand up and speak out, to raise her voice or cry out. The story of the Palestinian is the story of struggle and resistance against occupation, oppression, and arrogance.
My story is also the story of the Arab and Muslim in post-9/11 America, where irrational fear trumped reason and good judgment; where the forces of hatred and intolerance hijacked the inherent forbearance and goodness of the American spirit.
The Arab and Muslim community in America understands that our struggle today is part of the long continuum of the civil rights struggles in this great society. All the civil rights triumphs of the past could not have been achieved without the tremendous sacrifices of many segments of American society. The greatness of this society is in its ability to allow for such successes as well as its propensity for introspection and self-renewal. Our struggle is thus another difficult challenge testing the ideals and values of the American experience
Despite our family's unjust suffering and agonizing ordeal, we ache for the continuous horror and misery afflicting the Palestinian people, from hundreds of thousands in despicable refugee camps, to more than ten thousand in dreadful Israeli prisons, and the millions under military siege and blockades.
The dawn of peace will not arise without the spark of justice and the beam of freedom. All people, whether from or inside the holy land, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others, deserve to live in freedom, equality, peace and security. But this will only occur if we move in unison and determination. When the world recognized the evil of Apartheid, it was united in purpose and determination to end it.
Now is the time for the world to unite and end the immorality of occupation and subjugation, and to stop the incessant injustice of exile, siege, and military strikes. It is high time for the conscience of the world to be spurred into action. It is time to uphold the promise of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.