It's such a pleasure to hear President Obama speak of the right of all people to be free. Here he was today urging the dictators of the Middle East and North Africa to step aside for free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and the right of the people to choose their own leaders.
Obama spoke of the "longing for freedom" of peoples living under tyranny and said the United States will not place superficial stability above universal human rights. He also said that Iraq -- yes, Iraq -- can serve as a model for multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian democracy for Arabs and others in that region.
I was particularly struck by the words the president quoted of Arabs recently demonstrating for democracy as their dictators trembled. They are a stunning testimony of the power of liberty.
In Cairo, we heard the voice of the young mother who said, “It’s like I can finally breathe fresh air for the first time.”
In Sanaa, we heard the students who chanted, “The night must come to an end.”
In Benghazi, we heard the engineer who said, “Our words are free now. It’s a feeling you can’t explain.”
In Damascus, we heard the young man who said, “After the first yelling, the first shout, you feel dignity.”
The final section of Obama's speech -- the controversial part on Israel and Palestine -- may overshadow his case for democracy and freedom. Let's hope not.
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FREEDOM COUNT in this speech: 14, high (way high for Obama)
Number of times key words used: