If, in one small country, doctors can be arrested for doing their job and ambulances can be attacked, nobody is safe, anywhere in the world. If, in one small country, people can be shot with live ammunition for peacefully expressing their views, nobody is free, anywhere in the world. If, in one small country, children can be shot at by special forces police, no parent can sleep peacefully, anywhere in the world.
The martyrs of Bahrain have not died for Shia Islam, have not died for Sharia law, have not died because of a sectarian quarrel in a far away country. The have died for the sake of the basic liberties of civil society: free and fair elections, right of peaceful assembly, equal protection under the law, freedom of speech, freedom of the press. We take these liberties for granted every day. In Bahrain, demanding these same rights has led to torture, wrongful imprisonment and death. And yet our governments, bound to afford us these civil liberties, have failed to offer strong condemnation of Saudi Arabia's occupation of Bahrain to defend a despotic regime against its own citizens.
The martyrs of Bahrain are not fanatics or fundamentalists but ordinary citizens from all walks of life. Their cause is our own cause-- the cause of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our world is beset with many problems, from nuclear accidents to hunger to global climate change. It is not governments but people who will resolve these problems. And the first step in tackling the immense challenge that awaits us is the creation of an empowered global citizenry.
The people of Tunusia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain are sacrificing their lives for the world as a whole by claiming their voice and their rights as citizens on the world stage. If they become free, they will help to free all of us from our rush to planetary destruction. If their cause does not succeed, we may be the next to loose our basic rights. If one of us is not free, none of us is free. I salute the martyrs of Bahrain, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria who have sacrificed their lives for values that matter deeply to all of us as a human family!