Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy: What remained unsaid…
If one is the last speaker at the end of a long day of panels, and speeches followed by question and answer sessions then the need to balance the desire to relay information with that of not exhausting the patience of the audience becomes a balancing act. In this exercise sacrifices of content are made that are painful but luckily with the world of blogging it is no longer lost on a note pad. Below are some observations that were not included in the closing statement of the Geneva Summit .Their omission is due solely to the fact that I wanted to keep my remarks less than eight minutes and to achieve this had to cut the content in half. Otherwise it would have been a 20-minute long presentation. The odds and ends have been refashioned into the essay produced below.
One objective of the Geneva Summit over the past five years has been to give voice to victims of the world’s worst human rights abuses and in bearing witness hold the perpetrators of such atrocities accountable. If not today in a court of justice then tomorrow in the court of history with the facts and evidence documented for posterity. The program throughout the day has made its contribution to this ambitious and just goal.
It seems providential that Rosa Maria Payá and Regis Iglesias Ramirez would be addressing a gathering that in the recent past had been co-chaired by both Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa. Two men that had a profound influence on the life of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and who considered the Cuban human rights defender a friend.
Lech Walesa had been exchanging letters with Oswaldo since the late 1980s and the Christian Liberation Movement was greatly influenced by the Polish Solidarity movement. Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright and dissident who helped usher in the Velvet Revolution in his country engaged Oswaldo in a dialogue of letters and along with Lech Walesa and others had a role in seeing that the Cuban dissident leader win the European Union’s Sakharov Freedom of Thought Prize in 2002 and his later nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Sadly, Vaclav Havel is no longer with us. He passed away on December 18, 2011, but his contributions and good works live on. Today in the Czech Republic activists, intellectuals and politicians still gather to reflect on and discuss challenges facing humanity today seeking solutions at the Forum 2000. His physical presence may be gone but his words live on.
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