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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

President at the UN

Broadcast began while speech was in progress ... Forgive misspellings, I am unfamiliar with many of the places he spoke of and I was having a tough time understanding some of what he said he spoke so fast...

" ... Chris was born in a town called Grass County CA, the son of a lawyer, and a musician; as a young man Chris joined the peace corps, and taught english in Morocco, and he came to love and respect the people of North Africa and the Middle East, he would carry that commitment throughout his life. As a diplomat he worked from Egypt to Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Lybia, he was known for walking the streets of the cities where he worked, tasting the local food, meeting as many of the local people as he could, speaking Arabic, listening with a broad smile. Chris went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution arriving on a cargo ship, as American representative he helped the Libyan people cope with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. And after the revolution he supported the birth of a new democracy, as Libyans held elections and built new institutions and began to move forward after decades of dictatorship. Chris Stevens loved his work, he took pride in the country he served and he saw dignity in the people he met. Two weeks ago he traveled to Banghazi to review plans to establish a new cultural center and to modernize a hospital, thats when America's compound came under attack. Along with 3 of his colleagues Chris was killed {Note1} in the city that he helped to save. He was 52 years old. I tell you this story because Chris Stevens embodies the best of America, like his fellow foreign service officers he built bridges across oceans and cultures and was deeply invested in the international cooperation that the United Nations represents. He acted in humility but he also stood up for a set of principles, a belief that individuals should be free to determine their own destiny and life with liberty, dignity, justice, and opportunity. The attacks on civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America, we are greatful for the assistance we recieved from the Libyan government, and from the Libyan people. There should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice. I also appreciate that in recent days the leaders of other countries in the region including Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen have taken steps to secure our diplomatic facilities and called for calm, and so have religious authorities around the globe. But understand the attacks of the last 2 weeks are not simply an assault on America, they 're also an assault on the very ideals upon which the United Nations was founded. The notion that people can resolve their differences peacefully, that diplomacy can take the place of war, that in an interdependent world that all all of us have a stake in working towards greater opportunity and security for our citizens. if we are serious about upholding these ideals it will not be enough to put more guards in from of an embassy, or put out statements of regret and wait for the outrage to pass - if we are serious about these ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis, because we face a choice between the forces that will drive us apart and the hopes we hold in common. Today we must reaffirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens and not by his killers.
Today we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among OUR United Nations. Its been less than 2 years since a vendor in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest the oppressive corruption in his country. and sparked what became known as the Arab Spring. and since then the world has been captivated by the transformation thats taken place, and the United States have supported the force of Change. We were inspired by the Tunisian protests that toppled a dictator because we recognized our own beliefs in the aspirations of the men & women who took to the streets. We insisted on change in Egypt, because our support for democracy ultimately put us on the side of the people; we supported a transition of leadership in Yemen because the interests of the people were no longer being served by corrupt status quo.
We intervened in Libya, along side a broad coalition, and with the mandate of the United Nations Security Council because we had the ability to stop the slaughter of innocents and because we believed that the aspirations of the people were more powerful than a tyrant. And as we meet here we again declare that the regime of Bashir Allasad must come to an end so the suffering of the Syrian people can stop and the new dawn can begin. We have taken these positions because we believe that freedom and self determination are not unique to one culture, these are ont simply American values or Western values, they're universal values and even as there are huge challenges to come with the transition to democracy I am convince ultimately government Of the People, By the People, and For the People is more likely to bring about the stability, prosperity, and individual opportunity that serve as a basis for people in our world. So let us remember that this is a season of progress for the first time in decades Tunisians, Egyptians, and Libyans voted for new leaders in elections that were credible, competitive and fair.
This democratic spirit has not been restricted to the Arab world, over the past year we've seen peaceful transitions of power in in Malawi, Senegal, and a new President in Somalia; in Burma, a President has freed political prisoners, and opened a closed society, a courageous dissonant has been elected to parliament, and people look forward to further reform.
Around the globe people are making their voices heard, insisting on their innate dignity and the right to determine their future. Yet the turmoil of recent weeks reminds us that the path to democracy does not end with the casting of a ballot.
Nelson Mandala once said "To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and that businesses can be opened without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear, and on the rule of law and due-process that guarantees the rights of all people.
In other words, TRUE democracy, REAL freedom, is hard work. Those in power have to resist the temptation to crack down on dissidents, in hard economic times countries must be tempted, may be tempted to rally the people around perceived enemies at home and abroad, rather than focusing on the painstaking work of reform. Moreover there will always be those who reject human progress, dictators who cling to power, corrupt interests that depend on status quo, and extremists who fan the flames of hate and division; from Northern Ireland to South Asia, from Africa to the Americas, from the Balkans to the Pacific Rim, we've witnessed convulsions that can accompany transitions to a new political order; at times the conflict can arise along the fault lines of race, tribe, and often they arise from the difficulties of reconciling tradition and faith with the diversity and interdependence of the modern world.
In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture those who love freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others. That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, it was a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the muslim world. Now I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity, it is an insult not only to Muslims but to America as well, for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are country who has welcomed people of every race and every faith. we are home to Muslims who worship across our country, we not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or how they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them. I know there are some who ask "why dont we just ban such a video?" and the answer is inshrined in our laws.
Our Constitution protects the right to practice Free Speech. Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs.
As President of our Country, and Commander-In-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things everyday, and I will always defend their right to do so. Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree wih. We do not do so because we support hateful speech, because our Founders understood that without such protections the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics, and oppress minorities. We do so because, given the power of Faith in our lives and the passion that religious differences can enflame, the strongest weapon against HATEFUL speech is not repression, it is more speech.
The voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect. Now I know not all countries in the this Body share particular understanding of the protection of free speech, we recognize that, but in 2012 at a time when anyone with a cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with a click of a button, the notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete, the question then is "how do we respond?" and on this we must agree, there is no speech that justifies mindless violence. There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents, there's no video that justifies an attack on an embassy, there's no slander that provides people with an excuse to burn a restaurant Lebanon or destroy a school in Tunis or or cause death and destruction in Pakistan. In this modern world with modern technologies for us to respond to that way in hateful speech empowers any individual who engages in such speech to create chaos around the world. We empower the worst of usif that's how we respond. More broadly the events of the last 2 weeks also speak to the need for all of us to honestly address the tensions between the West and the Arab world that has been moving towards democracy.
Now let me be clear - just as we can not solve every problem in the world, the United States has not and will not seek seek to dictate the outcomes of democratic transitions abroad.
We do not expect other nations to agree with us on every issue. Nor do we assume that the violence of the past weeks or the hateful speech by some individuals represent the views of the overwhelming majority of Muslims., any more than the views of the people who produced this video represents those of Americans. However, I do believe that it is the obligations of all nations, in all countries, to speak out forcefully against violence and extremism.
It is time to marginalize those who even when not directly resorting to violence use hatred of America, or the West, or Israel, as the central organizing principle of politics, for that only gives cover and sometimes makes it an excuse for those who do resort to violence. That brand of politics, one that pits East against West and South against North, Muslims against Christians, and Hindus & Jews, can't deliver on the promise of freedom - to the youth it only offers false hope. Burning an American flag does nothing to provide an child an education, smashing part of a restaurant does nothing to fill an empty stomach, attacking an embassy wont create a single job - that brand of politics only makes it harder to achieve what we do together, educating our children and creating opportunities that they deserve, protecting human rights and extending democracy's promise. Understand that America will never retreat fro the world, we will bring We will bring justice to those who harm our citizens and harm our friends and we will stand with our allies.
We are willing to partner with countries around the world to deepen ties of trade and investment in science and technology, energy and development, all efforts that can spark economic growth for all people and stabilize democratic change. But such efforts depend on a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect, no government or company, no school or NGO will be confident working in a country where its people are in danger. For partnerships to be effective our citizens must be secure, and our efforts must be welcomed.
A politics based only on anger - one based on deciding the world based on Us and Them - not only set back international cooperation, it ultimately undermines those who tolerate it. All of us have an interest in standing up to these forces . Let us remember that Muslims have suffered the most at the hands of extremism {Note2}.
On the same day that our civilians were killed in Benghazi, a Turkish police officer was murdered in Istanbul only days before his wedding, more than 10 Yemenis were killed in a car bomb in Sudan, several Afghan children were mourned by their parents just days after they were killed by suicide bomber in Kabul, the impulse towards intolerance and violence may initially be focused on the West, but over tie it can not be contained. The same impulses towards extremism are used to justify war between Sunni and Shia, between tribes and clans, it leads not to strength & prosperity but to chaos. In less than 2 years we have seen largely peaceful protests bring forward change to muslim majority countries than a decade of violence. And extremists understand this, because they have nothing to offer to improve the lives of people violence is their only way way to stay relevant. They don't build, they only destroy. There is a time to leave the call to violence and politics of division behind, on so many issues we face the promise of choice of the future or the prisons of the past, and we can not afford to get it wrong. We must seize this moment, and America stands ready to work with all who are ready to embrace a better future. The future must not belong to those who target coptic christians in Egypt, it must be claimed by those in Turin Square who chanted "Muslims, Christians We Are One". The future must not belong to those who bully women, it must be shaped by girls who go to school and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons. The future must not belong to a corrupt few who steal a country's resources it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs, the workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people.
Those are the Women and Men America stands with, theirs is the vision we will support. The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam, but to be credible those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied. Let us condemn incitement agains Sufi Muslims and Shea Pilgrims,
its time to heed the words of Ghandi "intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit"
Together we must work towards a world where we are strengthened by our differences, not defined by them. That is what America embodies, that's the vision we will support. Among Israelis and Palestinians the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on the prospect of peace - let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, those who reject the right of Israel to exist.
The road is hard, but the destination is clear, a secure Jewish State of Israel and an Independent prosperous Palestine - understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties America will walk beside all who are willing to make that journey.
In Syria, the future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people, if there's a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, peaceful protest, its a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings, and we must remain engaged to insure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence. Together we must stand with those Syrians who believe in a different vision, a Syria that is united and inclusive, where children don't need to fear their own government, and all Syrians have a say in how they are governed - Sunnis and Aloloids(?), Kurds and Christians - that's what America stands for. That is the outcome we will work for with sanctions and consequences for those who persecute, and assistance and support for those who work for this common good. Because we believe that the Syrians who embrace this vision will have the strength and the legitimacy to lead.
In Iran we see where a path of a violent and unaccountable ideology leads, the Iranian people have a remarkable and ancient history - and many Iranians wish to enjoy peace and prosperity along side their neighbors, but just as it restricts the rights of its own people the Iranian government continues to prop up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad.
Time and again it has failed to take the opportunity to prove its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations - So let me be clear - America wants to solve this issue through diplomacy and we believe there is still time and space to do so, but that time is not unlimited, we respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace.
Make no mistake - a nuclear armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. It risks triggering a nuclear arms race in the region and the unraveling of the non-proliferation treaty. That is why a coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable. And that's why they United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We know from painful experience that the path to security and prosperity does not lie outside the boundries of international law and respect for human rights, thats why this institution was established from the rubble of conflict.
That is why Liberty triumphed over Tyrrany in the Cold War. and that is the lesson over the last two decades as well. History shows that peace and commerce comes to those who make the right choices, nations in every part of the world have traveled this difficult path.
Europe - the bloodiest battle field of the 20th century is united, free and at peace. From Brazil to South Africa, from Turkey to South Korea, from India to Indonesia, people of different races, religions, and traditions have lifted millions out of poverty while respecting the rights of their citizens, meeting their responsibilities as nations.
And it is because of the progress that I have witnessed in my own lifetime, the progress that I have witnessed after nearly 4 years as President, that I remain ever hopeful about the world that we live in. The war in Iraq is over {Note3} American troops have come home, we've begun a transition in Afghanistan, and American and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014.
Al Qaeda's been weakened, Osama Bin Laden is no more. Nations have come together to lockdown nuclear materials, and America and Russia are reducing our arsenals. We have seen hard choices made from Navidad to Cairo to Abidjan; to put more power in the hands of citizens. At a time of economic challenge the world has come together to broaden prosperity, through the G20 we have partnered with emerging countries to keep the world on the path of recovery. America has pursued a development agenda that fuels growth and breaks its dependency and worked with African leaders to help them feed their nation. New partnerships have been forged to combat corruption and promote government that is is open and transparent {NOTE4} and new commitments have been made through the Equal Futures Partnership to ensure women and girls can fully participate in politics and pursue opportunity.
And later today I will discuss our efforts to combat the scorge of Human Trafficking - all these things give me hope. But what gives me the most hope, is not the actions of us, the actions of leaders, its the people that I've seen - the American troops who have risked their lives and sacrificed their limbs for strangers half a world away, the students in Jakarta or Seoul who are eager to use knowledge to benefit mankind, the faces in a square in Prague, or a parliament in Ghana who see democracy giving voice to their aspirations, the young people in the favellas(?) of Rio, school in Mumbai who eyes shine with promise - these men, women, and children of every race and every faith remind me that for every angry mob that get shown on television there are billions around the world who share similar hopes and dreams, they tell us that there is a common heartbeat to humanity, so much attention in our world turns to what divides us that's what we see on the news, that's what consumes our political debates, but when you strip it all away people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny, the dignity that comes with work, the comfort that comes with faith, and the justice that exists when governments serve their people and not the other way around.
The United States of America will always stand up for these aspirations, for our own people and for people all across the world. That was our founding purpose, that is what out history shows, that is what Chris Stevens work for throughout his life. And I promise you this - long after the killers are brought to justice, Chris Stevens legacy will live on in the lives that he touched and the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi, and the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris , in the signs that read simply "Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans" they should give us hope they should remind us that so long as we work for it, Justice will be done, that history is on our side, and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed. Thank you very much.

[40 minutes to speak, 2 hours to transcribe on this tiny keyboard]

Note 1: my understanding was that two of the dead, the Seals, did not work at the embassy but went to help when they saw what was going on ... Not sure if he was generalizing "colleagues" or if he meant that they worked with him

Note 2: I would like to know the basis of why he makes this claim ... After all, there is the holocaust to take into consideration ; and all the killings of Christians around the world: and all those who were accused of being witches - which still goes on today in many of those "civilized" countries he has named

Note 3: if the war in Iraq is over and our troops out of there, then how do our soldiers keep getting killed training Iraqi??

Note 4: just so long as it isn't his government ... "Fast&Furious" and now cables from the US embassy-Libya which were send to the State Dept
There is no denying that he is a very good speaker ... But the speech was so heavy on name-dropping of countries that it seemed like something he came up with to help the girls with their geography homework.

At times it did seem like a campaign speech listing "his" accomplishments via our military ... A list which he emphasized happened in the four years of his administration ...

But while he wagged fingers and chatted about the "world economy" he skimmed over the fact that ours has gotten worse under his term in office ... Oops, sliding off subject here ...

He made a very unveiled reference to Iran & Imadinnerjacket and their poignant insistence that the Holocaust never really happened and that there is, indeed, a historical reference of Israel in the region ... Perhaps to lessen the slap he gave Israel earlier this week when he referred to their worries about a nuclear Iran as "noise" - just like Immadinnerjacket did.

Yes I call him Immadinnerjacket just like Whoopi Goldberg - I have no respect for a man who would not believe the things my father saw with his own eyes and we have survivors of to tell their stories, simply because the event involved the Israelis or those of Jewish faith (while I believe all are considered Israeli citizens, I don't believe they all refer to themselves as such - please correct me if I am wrong ... I really don't know)

While I was delighted to hear him stand up for religious rights/freedoms - I was rather saddened that the only three religions he mentioned were Judaism/Christianity/Muslim when there are people all over the world who are being maimed and kill for being "witches" and not just in the "small backward" places of Africa - there have been stories in India and several Arab countries as well. Then there was the Sikh deaths here in our very own country earlier this summer ... There was just so much that he left out.

It would have also been interesting if he had mentioned Agenda 21 - and whee America was in the efforts to force that bit upon Her people. But then, they really don't want us to know about that ... Or how many of the other countries had refused to sign onto it {think Kyoto only with land-usage}

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