Pristagarnas tal

2013-02-06

Radhia Nasraoui’s speech

Ladies and gentlemen
It is a great honour for me to be awarded the Olov Palme Prize for Human Rights for 2013.
This prize bears the name of Olov Palme, who remains among the world’s most respected figures in my country, particularly by Tunisian men and women of my generation. This is due to his principled and fair positions on many Arab and international issues, particularly with regard to Algeria, Vietnam, Palestine under colonial rule and South Africa during the Apartheid era, and his vanguard opposition to nuclear armament.
Olov Palme was a peace-loving leader and a strong supporter of victims of injustice who never stopped dreaming of a world where the values of human brotherhood would overcome inhuman behavior, savagery and inequality.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When I decided nearly four decades ago to join the struggle for freedom, equality, democracy and social justice, the idea of being thanked or getting a prize for taking part in such a struggle never crossed my mind.  I firmly believed that I had to combat dictatorship and injustice. Those are still my beliefs.  I always believed that it was a crime to remain silent while human beings and their inalienable rights were being abused. I also had a feeling that rebelling against and combating injustice was a civil duty.
When defending the victims of injustice, I always rejected the idea of discriminating among them on the basis of ideological, political, religious, cultural or social beliefs. This is because I was convinced that all victims have only one thing in common — that they are human beings.
As a human rights defender, I had to face so many difficulties and cope with unceasing harassment. But I always believed that the price  victims paid was far higher than the price I paid to defend them.
Then, I found myself a victim. But, the harassment and attacks and injustice inflicted on me by the dictatorship agents spurred my determination to continue the struggle for freedom and justice for all victims and regularly prompted the same response: “In order to silence me, you have to kill me.”
If the dictatorial regime did not dare to kill me or even to jail me for long periods it was due to  the strong local and international support and solidarity I received. I would like to seize this opportunity to thank all those who stood by my side and who backed the Tunisian people in our resolute struggle against dictatorship.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Tunisian people managed on 14 January 2011 to put an end to a dictatorial regime and to inaugurate an era of revolution and change in Arab countries and in other parts of the world. But transition to democracy in my country is not been fully achieved. Many threats inhibit this transition to democracy.  The biggest threat stems from the ruling group, which is attempting to replace the previous dictatorial government with a new form of authoritarianism based on the manipulation of religion. The basic human rights secured by the uprising of the Tunisian people particularly the rights to freedom of expression and independent journalism are abused today.  Torture is still used and the rights of Tunisian women are in peril.
The reason why I am mentioning this is to let you know that the struggle for human rights and dignity continues.  What I find comforting is that this struggle is now a popular one, unlike what it used to be under the dictatorial regime.
The Tunisian people who gained their freedom are not ready to yield to the enemies of freedom, whatever their education or personal beliefs may be.  We are not ready to forget the goals of our revolution, nor to leave them  unfinished. I can only take part in this new struggle for achieving the goals of the revolution with the same enthusiasm and determination as before.
Ladies and gentlemen,
You are not only bestowing an honour on me personally, but on all Tunisian women and men who have devoted their lives and sacrificed their security to defend the values of the human rights of all Tunisians. It’s an honour for all Tunisian women who set an example — resisting injustice and dictatorship and who protected their rights. Many of them were thrown in jail and taken to court and tortured. Some of them became martyrs during and before the revolution. I offer this prize to them and to all human rights defenders.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The absence of my Saudi colleague Waleed Sami Abu Alkhair from this ceremony is a testimony to how much injustice the Saudi people suffer under an oppressive regime that turns its back on basic human rights. I seize this opportunity to express my solidarity with my Saudi colleague and to remind him that the days of despots are numbered and that the dawn of freedom will soon come.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.

Waleed Sami Abu al-Khair's speech

Greetings to all :
In 2003 I was just dismissed from a secret Islamic organization in Saudi Arabia. I traveled to Jordan, the neighboring country to Saudi Arabia, in order to do my Master degree. It was difficult for me to be away from my country. But what was more difficult is  the transformation I made from carrying radical opinions to the world of humanity, believing in optimum values which are Justice, equality and forgiveness.
 
During that period, I heard for the  first time  about a Saudi human rights defender called Dr.Abdullah Al Hamid. He was prosecuted because of his demands for constitutional monarchy, and fundamental  issues in human rights. That person who strived from being jailed many times. His story started to spread specially his influence among the radical youths. I went to attend his trial and I found an exhausted fifty years old man who was pushed  by a policemen in order to enter the court. He refused to obey till he fall on his knees saying that his trial must be in an open court to be witnessed by everyone.
 
That was the moment which changed my life, where i left the life of darkness for the life of light. since then I embraced human right believes that I am proud to tell to the whole mankind, not those believes I had in the life of darkness. And I am not alone in this, There is a generation of young people who believe in the global human rights principles, but if they started to act for these principles, they will suffer a lot from a political power that claims and says to the external world that it has intentions for reforms, but the community is refusing and rejecting these reforms. While on the other hand, imprisoned whoever try to do it on their behalf from the human right defenders.
 
It is not, of course an easy path.  Saudi Arabia for the rest of the world is known only for oil and injustice to woman. People will wonder if the knew that there are more than three million Saudis who live below the line of poverty, and there are two million unemployed, although income from oil is significantly increasing. It is not a secret to say that the economical and political interests between my country and many powerful countries were and  remained the main reason for the attention of the international community not be grabbed, except a few,  toward human rights activists who are suffering a lot just for spreading human right values. Some (and I am one of them) are now sued for political false allegations such as distorting the country's image and communicating with international human rights organisations.

Despite all these facts, the power that came out from the heart of suppression, made us did things that we are proud of and helped in spreading the culture of rights. One of these things was a case that I won in front of a judge who imprisoned an innocent woman for 7 months just because she decided to have an independent life and demanded for women right's to drive. Later, This woman became my wife, and she is now standing in front of you reading my speech. The woman who bore the insecurity am having, the poverty am facing because they interrupted my living sources, and the unstable state of mind because of the unknown future, the woman which  we both had together many human rights experiences that made an effect in the KSA.
 
So, Please allow me now to whisper and say to my wife these words: I wished you  heard these words said by me while I am standing proudly in front of the audience to receive this great award. But you know my dear that this award will be of utmost value when you return safely back to home and present it to me.
So till that time, I want you my love to say to the audience that this award was not given to your husband, it is rather given to the prospective hope that shall return to the KSA. It is for the human rights supporters and their urgent demands. To the future  of the next generation, and to our son that you carry inside you right now, perhaps one day he benefits from the results our  fight and enjoy a civil state based on a constitution with supervision units to stop the corruption and civil institution to raise public awareness in their rights. 
 
Don't foreget, my dear, to say to (Olf Palme's wife) and to his sons that we are  proud of him and proud of them. We are proud to win an award that carry's his name. say to them what you have said to me before you travel: “they must be a great family that commomerates a great man “.
 
Say to the audience, and specially the ceremony organisers, that your husband might be banned from travel, but because of your true appreciation to him, he feels he is as part of the global humanity call… The call for freedom, justice, dignity and forgiveness.

Tell them thank you, thank you, thank you…
We owe you

Waleed Sami Abu al-Khairs tal på svenska

 
Hälsningar till er alla:

År 2003 uteslöts jag ur en hemlig islamistisk organisation i Saudiarabien. Jag reste till Jordanien, grannland till Saudiarabien, för att ta min Mastersexamen. Det var svårt för mig att vara borta från mitt land. Men svårare ändå var skiftet från den värld av radikala åsikter jag levt i, till en human värld som tror på goda värden så som rättvisa, jämlikhet och förlåtelse.
 
Under den här tiden hörde jag för första gången talas om en saudisk människorättsaktivist som heter Dr. Abdullah Al Hamid. Han stod åtalad på grund av sina krav på konstitutionell monarki och grundläggande mänskliga rättigheter. Denne man hade undvikit fängelse många gånger. Ryktet om honom började spridas och han fick särskilt stort inflytande bland radikala ungdomar. Jag besökte hans rättegång och fann en utmattad femtioåring som knuffades in i rättssalen av en polis. Han vägrade att lyda tills han föll ner på knä. Han sa att rättegången måste hållas i en öppen domstol så att alla kunde bevittna den.
 
Det var det ögonblicket som förändrade mitt liv. Det var då jag lämnade livet i mörker för livet i ljuset. Sedan dess har jag övergivit det jag trodde på under livet i mörkret för tron på mänskliga rättigheter, något som jag med stolthet kan berätta om för alla. Och jag är inte ensam om det. En hel generation unga människor tror på de universella principerna om mänskliga rättigheter. Men om de skulle börja driva dessa principer, skulle de utsättas för stort lidande från en politisk makt som inför omvärlden hävdar sin avsikt att genomföra reformer, men påstår sig hindras av att samhället vägrar och förkastar dessa reformer. Samtidigt som de arresterar varje försvarare av mänskliga rättigheter som försöker hjälpa dem att genomföra reformerna.
 
Det är naturligtvis ingen enkel väg. Saudiarabien är för omvärlden endast känt för sin olja och för orättvisan mot kvinnor. Folk skulle bli förvånade om de visste att över tre miljoner saudier lever under fattigdomsgränsen, och att det finns två miljoner arbetslösa, trots att intäkterna från oljan ökar kraftigt. Det är ingen hemlighet att de ekonomiska och politiska intressen som mitt land delar med många mäktiga länder, har varit, och fortfarande är, den främsta orsaken till att det internationella samfundet inte uppmärksammat eller ingripit mer än i ett fåtal fall då människorättsaktivister fått lida, bara för att de stått upp för mänskliga rättigheter. En del (och jag är en av dem) är nu åtalade för att sprida politiskt falska anklagelser som förstör landets image, samt för kontakter med internationella människorättsorganisationer.
 
Trots allt detta, drevs vi av den kraft som kommer från förtryckets hjärta till att göra saker som vi är stolta över, och vi bidrog till att sprida en kultur av rättigheter. En sådan sak var ett fall som jag vann. En domare som höll en oskyldig kvinna fängslad i sju månader bara för att hon bestämt sig för att leva ett självständigt liv och för att hon krävde att kvinnor skulle ha rätt köra bil. Denna kvinna blev sen min fru, och det är hon som nu står framför er som läser mitt tal. Det är hon som får bära osäkerheten, det instabila sinnestillståndet på grund av en oviss framtid, och den fattigdom som väntar mig eftersom de tagit ifrån mig möjligheten att försörja mig. Tillsammans med henne har jag delat upplevelsen av hur många av de mänskliga rättigheter vi tillsammans kämpat för har fått effekt i Saudiarabien.
Så låt mig nu viska dessa ord till min fru: Jag önskar att du hade fått höra mig säga dessa ord, medan jag stolt står framför publiken för att ta emot denna stora utmärkelse. Men du vet mina kära, att det här priset kommer att vara som mest värdefullt när du har kommit hem välbehållen och överräcker det till mig.

Så till dess vill jag att du min käraste ska säga till publiken att det inte är till din man som denna utmärkelse getts, utan snarare till möjligheten att Saudiarabien ska återfå hoppet. Det är till försvararna av de mänskliga rättigheterna och deras angelägna krav. Det är till framtiden för nästa generation, och till vår son som du bär inom dig just nu. Kanske han en dag får njuta frukterna av vår kamp och glädja sig åt att leva i en civil stat grundad på en konstitution med myndigheter som ser till att stoppa korruptionen och med en civil institution som ökar allmänhetens medvetenhet om deras rättigheter.
 
Och glöm inte min kära, att säga till Olof Palmes hustru och hans söner att vi är stolta över honom och stolta över dem. Vi är stolta över att vinna en utmärkelse som bär hans namn. Säga till dem det du sa till mig innan du reste: "det måste vara en stor familj som firar minnet av en stor man".
 
Säg till publiken, och särskilt till arrangörerna, att din man kanske förbjuds att resa, men på grund av att ni visat hur högt ni uppskattar honom, känner han sig delaktig i den globala mänsklighetens krav … kravet på frihet, rättvisa, värdighet och förlåtelse.
 
Säg tack, tack, tack …
Vi är er tacksamma