Speech by Ms. Tawakkol Karman in the Czech Republic

Ambitions of 1989? Ambitions of today?:The need to reclaim the promise of 89 three decades after the end of the Cold War

Dear all, 
We are meeting today to reiterate our struggle for democracy, freedom and human rights and renew our yearning for a world of peace, security, responsibility, and freedom; for a world free of walls and barriers between our peoples and countries; for a world of a bridge-building where equal life chances are provided for all, barriers of religion and identity are removed and bridges of communication are established.  
Today, we are meeting to re-envisage the future in light of the world backsliding on democracy and given the decline in global efforts in support of modern values that prevailed in international trends since the end of the Second World War until the end of the Cold War at late 1980s.
Let us first say that our world is dominated by a non-viable global order that it is time to change. When I talk about global order, I mean that explicit retreat from democratic values and the growing populism within strongholds of democracies in Europe, America and the West whose democracy, freedom and human rights have acted as the headlines of its policies and slogans since the end of the Second World War.
Our world today is less free and democratic than it was before the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago. What has happened?
You in this young nation and Eastern Europe were once driven by the burning desire for freedom and emancipation from authoritarian and ideological regimes, which ruled your peoples with violence and an iron fist and ultimately ended up in the dustbin of history after their page was closed at the end of 1980s. 
The fall of the Berlin Wall ushered in a new era for all the peoples of the world, promising a new world without walls in which the aspirations of peoples for freedom and democracy would be realized.
Our today’s mission needs to have a broader slogan than the one that shaped the ambition of 89: "the Change of the World!" Unlike those aspiring to democracy before 1989, today we are driven by the aspiration for the fall of many proliferating walls – but not only a Berliner wall. 
"Changing the world!" is a suitable title for a world in which walls have been rebuilt in different ways that violate rights and freedoms in a more deadly manner and re-cast dark shadows over Europe and the world.
Despite the fact that the Berlin Wall, the sign of the Cold War, fell, many other walls have been built between nations, peoples, civilizations and individuals so far at the end of the second decade of the 21st century.
While expectations accompanying the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall had heralded the arise of emerging democracies and the commitment of states to human rights and good governance, the world today got off track, leading to decline in democracy as a value for the whole world. 

A wave of racism has swept the West and the populists have reaped the results of mobilization against immigrants and refugees. Major democracies have opted for policies of self-imposed isolation, which are hostile to immigrants, refugees and minorities, indifferent to global records of human rights abuses and violations unmatched in modern history. 
Populists like Donald Trump, a flagrant example of rising racist populism in the West, have come to power in major Western countries. Democracy and human rights are no longer guarantees and strict standards highly appreciated and followed by great Powers in their international relations. Instead, unspoken understandings have floated to the surface, which are blind enough to ignore terrible massacres and horrific crimes against humanity.
Clinging to power, regimes have waged bloody wars and thrown their people into the dark tunnels of death, opening the door to massive human rights violations and genocides as in Syria. Such global setback has been accompanied by the decline in democracy and human rights as a fundamental value of international relations. 
Imperial relations between major and regional states have re-emerged, pushing regional and global hegemons into fierce competition for control and spheres of influence, rather than entering into a global partnership based on adherence to international laws, charters and the principles of democracy and human rights.

Dear all friends, 
Despite the development in all aspects of life, we see in return a global trend for further isolation and rejection of "strangers" who are portrayed as evils and threats to security and are looked at with suspicion and even with hatred and distrust, as if “terrorism” had been created by them and not by terrorist organizations, which the whole world has agreed to criminalize and cooperate to eliminate. 
Our world today contains hundreds of thousands of people who have been stranded and found themselves in the open due to wars and the collapse of states. Our human rights standards oblige us to make their suffering a high priority and at the forefront of our attention.
Security can’t be achieved by isolation and racism or by harbouring terrorism to adopt counter-terrorism that classifies peoples, societies and nations as enemies, labelling them as "terrorism".
Such rising racism across the West raises our fears and poses the main challenge to the global civil movement struggling to disseminate the values of democracy, freedom and human rights.
We live in one world with intertwined interests and interrelated relationships. We have no way but to reform this world that belongs to all of us in the East, West, North and South. For such trends, we are gathering here to raise our voice and show our determination to develop a global vision that redefines human beings according to their common affiliations, interests and destiny. 

A common vision to fulfill the promise being postponed since the late 1989.
We have lost a lot, finding ourselves confronted with a global system of abuses in which authoritarians conspire with each other starting from the first rifle firing death in our faces to the highest platforms and tables of major countries and UN institutions.
In our countries whose peoples have revolted for democracy, freedoms and human rights, we have faced horrors but not mere abuses.
We have faced uprooting and not violations. We have faced all-out wars against our peoples and not violations. We have faced mass murder and not mere arrests.
We have faced mass massacres. We have faced enforced disappearances, media blackout on massacres and genocides. We have faced indiscriminate shelling of civilians. We have faced coups and extremist religious movements that have been backed to settle civil wars within the Arab Spring countries. 
They have waged dirty wars against our peaceful revolutions and the interest groups coming from the heart of great democracies have rushed to the monarchical and theocratic regimes in Saudi Arabia and Iran to confront our peaceful revolutions in a variety of ways.
Today I am standing face to face with you to say that the task of democracy community is to support us and tell the world what really happened to us; that humanity should look for what our peoples have suffered; that the killers and perpetrators of crimes against humanity should be referred to as criminals, ostracized and punished, rather than be received on the red carpet as heads of state while they are gang leaders. 
Our hard experiences further our belief in democracy and human rights, and in their necessity and in the fact that it is not possible to live without them. Following a horrific record of repression and wars experienced by the first wave of the Arab Spring, its second wave has emerged in Algeria, Sudan, Egypt and Iraq.
Our peoples eager for freedom, democracy and the rule of law began the second wave of the Arab Spring.
Our peoples eager for freedom, democracy and the rule of law has began the second wave of the Arab Spring. The global democracies have the same cause in the face of the West’s retreat from democracy and in support of popular revolutions aspiring to freedom and democracy in the Arab countries. We are part of the cause of human beings and with their aspiration for freedom and democracy. 
Perhaps the world is aware that supporting tyranny and dictatorship and turning a blind eye to their appalling record of violence puts the whole world on the path of retreat and regression. The rise of racist populism in the oldest democracies is only a hint of this worldwide setback. 

Dear all, 
Our today’s world is undergoing an unprecedented transformation, and all these imbalances, wars and the resurgence of racism are only signs of the end of the old world. While the old world is collapsing, the new one is still cloudy and indistinguishable. But with our will and power of faith in the life we deserve, it will appear. 
The new world will only be what we believe. The stronger our faith in our rights, humanity, dignity and freedom is entrenched in ourselves, the closer we are to the life we want and the world we aspire to and hope for it to come. We have fed up with injustice, death and wars, and it is time for change for a new world in which rights, freedoms, values of democracy and justice and the will of peoples are respected.
We seek a new world that begins with our belief in our ability to act, change, reshape the world and make it more open, less constrained and more suitable for living in and be full of life opportunities and self-assurance for all human beings. 

Dear all friends and respectable audience, 
Like every Yemeni burdened by the five-year-old war, I dream of peace that enables us to bring security and stability to our country and helps end the Saudi guardianship, the UAE occupation and the coups by Houthi and separatist militias.
We appeal to the world to help us stop the war and end the presence of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in Yemen. Peace is demanded by all Yemenis who pay the heavy price due to the war, the Iranian-backed Houthi coup, the foreign guardianship of the Riyadh-Abu Dhabi coalition that has bombed Yemen and caused enormous destruction.
We call upon the world to support us to stop the war, release the detainees and prisoners, lift the Houthi siege on Taiz, lift the external siege on Yemen, remove the minefields, open safe passages for the movement of citizens within Yemeni cities, facilitate the work of international relief organizations, and begin a comprehensive national dialogue to end the coup and occupation and return to complete the transition tasks and achieve comprehensive national reconciliation.

I welcome you once again, my dear ones, and encourage you to continue your struggle for a peaceful and free world in which human rights and dignity are preserved.