Barack Obamas invigningstal

Talare: Barack Obama
Titel: Invigningstal
Datum: 2009-01-20

”Kära landsmän: när jag står här känner jag mig ödmjuk inför den uppgift vi har framför oss, tacksam för det förtroende ni har ingjutit och medveten om de uppoffringar våra förfäder har gjort. Jag tackar president Bush för att han tjänat vårt land, liksom för den generositet och den samarbetsvilja han har uppvisat under hela denna övergångsperiod.

Fyrtiofyra amerikaner har nu svurit presidenteden. Orden har uttalats samtidigt som välståndets vågor har gått höga och fredens lugna vatten legat blanka. Ändå svärs eden inte sällan när molnen tornar upp sig och stormarna rasar. Vid sådana tillfällen har Amerika kämpat på inte bara tack vare förmågan och visionen hos dem som innehaft höga ämbeten, utan för att ”Vi, folket” har fortsatt att förlita oss på våra förfäders ideal och varit lojala mot de dokument med vilka nationen grundades.

Så har det varit. Så måste det förbli med denna generation amerikaner.

Det är välkänt att vi befinner oss mitt i en kris. Vårt land är i krig mot ett vidsträckt, våldsamt och hatiskt nätverk. Vår ekonomi är allvarligt försvagad som en följd av somligas girighet och ansvarslöshet, men också vårt kollektiva misslyckande med att fatta svåra beslut och förbereda landet för en ny tid. Hem har förlorats, arbeten har försvunnit, företag har slagit igen. Vår sjukvård är för kostsam, våra skolor utelämnar för många och för varje dag stärks bevisen för att de sätt som vi förbrukar vår energi stärker våra motståndare och hotar vår planet.

Dessa är krisens tecken, som kan mätas och sammanställas. Svårare att mäta, men inte mindre djupgående, är hur självförtroendet runtom i vårt land försvagas en gnagande oro för att Amerikas nedgång är oundviklig, och att nästa generation måste sikta lägre.

I dag säger jag till er att utmaningarna vi står inför är verkliga. De är allvarliga och de är många. De kommer inte att övervinnas lätt eller inom kort. Men det ska ni veta, Amerika de kommer att övervinnas.

På denna dag samlas vi här för att vi har valt hopp framför rädsla, ett enat syfte framför konflikt och oenighet.

På denna dag har vi kommit för att utropa ett slut på de futtiga klagomål och falska löften, ömsesidiga beskyllningar och utslitna dogmer som alltför länge har strypt politiken.

Vi är ännu en ung nation, men såsom Skriften säger är tiden inne att lägga barnsligheter åt sidan. Tiden är inne att på nytt bekräfta vår bestående anda, att göra kloka historiska val, att föra vidare den dyrbara gåva, den nobla tanke som gått i arv från generation till generation: det gudagivna löftet att alla är lika värda, att alla är fria och att alla förtjänar en möjlighet att till fullo fullfölja sin strävan efter lycka.

När vi på nytt bekräftar vår nations storhet inser vi samtidigt att storheten inte kan tas för given. Den måste förtjänas. Vår resa har aldrig präglats av genvägar eller förnöjsamhet. Den har inte varit en väg för de klenmodiga, för dem som föredrar ledighet framför arbete, eller som bara eftersträvar rikedomens och berömmelsens sötma. Den har snarare varit risktagarnas, de handlingskraftigas, de skapandes väg. Vissa av dem har ärats men alltsomoftast har det varit män och kvinnor som jobbat på i tystnad, som har burit oss fram längs den långa, ojämna vägen mot välstånd och frihet.

För vår skull packade de sina få tillhörigheter och reste över världshaven i jakt på ett nytt liv.

För vår skull slet de i fabriker och koloniserade Västern, uthärdade pisksnärtarna och plöjde den hårda jorden.

För vår skull stred de och dog, på platser som Concord och Gettysburg, Normandie och Khe Sanh.

Gång efter annan kämpade och offrade och arbetade dessa män och kvinnor, till dess att de fick valkar på händerna, så att vi kunde få en bättre tillvaro. De såg Amerika som någonting större än summan av våra individuella strävanden, mäktigare än den splittring som härkomst, inkomst eller käbbel kan åstadkomma.
Det är denna resa vi fortsätter på i dag. Vi är fortfarande det mest blomstrande och mäktiga landet på jorden. Våra arbetare är inte mindre produktiva än när denna kris började. Våra sinnen är inte mindre uppfinningsrika, våra varor och tjänster inte mindre behövda än de var i förra veckan eller förra månaden eller förra året. Vår förmåga är oförminskad. Men den tid då vi kunde vara orubbliga, då vi kunde skydda snäva särintressen och skjuta upp obekväma beslut den tiden är helt säkert förbi. Från och med i dag måste vi resa oss upp, sopa bort dammet från våra axlar och återigen börja bygga upp Amerika.

För vart vi än ser finns arbete att göra. Ekonomins tillstånd manar till djärv och snabb handling, och vi kommer att handla inte bara för att skapa nya arbeten, utan också för att lägga en ny grund för tillväxt. Vi ska bygga vägarna och broarna, de kraftnät och digitala band som göder vårt näringsliv och binder oss samman. Vi ska återge vetenskapen dess rättmätiga roll, och använda teknikens under till att höja vårdens kvalitet och sänka dess kostnader. Vi ska utnyttja solen och vindarna och jorden till att skapa bränsle till våra bilar och driva våra fabriker. Och vi ska omvandla våra skolor, högskolor och universitet för att möta den nya tidens krav. Allt detta kan vi göra. Och allt detta ska vi göra.

Det finns de som ifrågasätter vidden av våra ambitioner som antyder att vårt system inte kan hantera alltför stora planer. Men deras minne är kort. För de har glömt vad det här landet redan har gjort; vad fria män och kvinnor kan åstadkomma när deras föreställningsförmåga förenas med ett gemensamt syfte och nödvändighet med mod.

Vad cynikerna inte inser är att marken under dem gungar att de stelbenta politiska argument som har uppslukat oss så länge inte längre gäller. Den fråga vi ställer oss i dag är inte om vår statsapparat är för stor eller för liten, utan om den fungerar om den hjälper familjer att finna anständigt avlönat arbete, ger dem vård de har råd med, en värdig pension. Där svaret är ja ska vi bli bättre. Där svaret är nej, ska vi lägga ner. Och vi som hanterar skattepengar kommer att utkrävas ansvar att spendera klokt, ändra på gamla ovanor och bedriva vår verksamhet i fullt dagsljus för det är bara då vi kan återupprätta det nödvändiga förtroendet hos folket för dess styre.

Vi frågar oss inte heller om marknaden är en god eller ond kraft. Dess förmåga att skapa välstånd och öka frihet saknar motstycke, men denna kris har påmint oss om, att utan ett vakande öga kan marknaden tappa kontrollen och att en nation inte kan blomstra länge när den bara belönar de framgångsrika. Vår ekonomis framgångar har alltid varit beroende inte bara av storleken på vår bruttonationalprodukt, utan också av vårt välstånds räckvidd, av vår förmåga att ge varje villig själ möjligheten inte av välgörenhet, utan för att det är den säkraste vägen till vårt gemensamma bästa.

Vad gäller vårt gemensamma försvar avfärdar vi att det finns ett val mellan vår säkerhet och våra ideal. Nationens fäder, som stod inför risker vi knappt kan föreställa oss, författade ett samhällskontrakt för att säkra rättsstaten och medborgarnas rättigheter; ett samhällskontrakt som fördjupats genom generationers blodsoffer. Dessa ideal lyser fortfarande upp världen och vi tänker inte överge dem av praktiska skäl. Och till alla de folk och regeringar som ser på i dag, från de mest storslagna huvudstäderna till den lilla by där min far föddes: ni ska veta att Amerika är vän med varje land, man, kvinna och barn som söker en fredlig och värdig framtid och att vi är redo att leda igen.

Minns att tidigare generationer tog strid mot fascism och kommunism inte bara med robotar och stridsvagnar, utan också med hjälp av robusta allianser och varaktiga övertygelser. De insåg att vår makt inte ensam kan skydda oss, eller att den ger oss rätten att bete oss som vi vill.

I stället insåg de att vår makt växer när den utövas förståndigt, att vår säkerhet har sitt ursprung i vår strävans rättfärdighet, i kraften hos vårt föredöme, i det lugn som ödmjukhet och återhållsamhet inger.

Vi är detta arvs väktare. Genom att ännu en gång vägledas av dessa principer kan vi bemöta de nya hot som kräver ännu större ansträngningar ännu större samarbete och förståelse mellan nationer. Vi kommer att börja överlämna Irak till dess invånare på ett ansvarsfullt sätt och skapa en välförtjänt fred i Afghanistan. Tillsammans med gamla vänner och forna fiender kommer vi outtröttligt att arbeta för att minska kärnvapenhotet och tvinga tillbaka den globala uppvärmningen. Vi kommer inte att be om ursäkt för vår livsstil, och vi kommer inte att tveka att försvara den; till dem som försöker flytta fram sina positioner genom att skapa terror och slakta oskyldiga, till er säger vi nu att vår övertygelse är starkare och inte kan knäckas; ni kan inte överleva oss, och vi kommer att besegra er.

För vi vet att vårt lapptäcke till arv är en styrka, inte en svaghet. Vi är en nation som består av kristna och muslimer, judar och hinduer och icketroende. Vi har formats av varje språk och kultur från världens alla hörn; och eftersom vi har genomlevt inbördeskrig och segregation, och trätt fram starkare och mer enade från det mörka kapitlet, är vi formade att tro att det gamla hatet någon gång ska sjunka undan; att stamtänkandet snart skall upplösas; att när världen blir allt mindre kommer mänskligheten gemensamt att visa sin sanna natur; och att Amerika måste spela sin roll för att påskynda ny era av fred.

Till den muslimska världen: Vi söker en ny väg framåt, byggd på ömsesidiga intressen och ömsesidig respekt. Till de ledare runtom i världen som försöker så split eller skyller sina samhällens olyckor på Väst: Ni ska veta att ert folk kommer att bedöma er utifrån vad ni kan bygga, inte vad ni kan förstöra. Till dem som klamrar sig fast vid makten med hjälp av korruption, svek och genom att tysta meningsmotståndare: ni ska veta att ni är på fel sida om historien, men att vi kommer att sträcka ut en hand om ni är villiga att öppna er knutna näve.

Till alla fattiga nationers folk: Vi lovar att arbeta vid er sida för att få era bondgårdar att blomstra, låta rent vatten flöda, ge näring till svultna kroppar och kunskapstörstande sinnen. Och till de länder, som liksom vårt åtnjuter ett visst överflöd, säger vi att vi inte längre har råd att vara likgiltiga inför lidande utanför våra gränser. Inte heller kan vi förbruka världens resurser utan att ta hänsyn till konsekvenserna. För världen har förändrats, och vi måste förändras med den.

När vi betraktar den väg som ligger framför oss påminns vi med ödmjuk tacksamhet om de modiga amerikaner som vid just denna tidpunkt patrullerar avlägsna öknar och berg. De har någonting att säga oss, liksom de fallna hjältar som ligger i Arlington och viskar till oss genom åren. Vi hedrar dem för att de är vår frihets väktare, men också för att de förkroppsligar samhällstjänstgöringens anda, en vilja att finna en mening med någonting större än sig själv. Ändå är det i detta ögonblick ett ögonblick som kommer att prägla en generation precis den andan som måste uppfylla oss alla.

För även om staten kan och måste göra mycket, är det ytterst tillförsikten och beslutsamheten hos det amerikanska folket som denna nation vilar på. Det är vänligheten att släppa in en främling när flodfördämningarna har brustit, osjälviskheten hos en arbetare som hellre kortar sin arbetstid än att se en vän förlora sitt jobb, som gör att vi genomlider de mörkaste stunderna. Det är brandmannens mod att störta in i en rökfylld trappuppgång, men också en förälders vilja att föda upp ett barn, som till slut avgör vårt öde.

Våra utmaningar må vara nya. De instrument med vilka vi möter dem må vara nya. Men de värden på vilka vår framgång beror – hårt arbete och hederlighet, mod och rent spel, tolerans och nyfikenhet, lojalitet och patriotism – de sakerna gamla. De sakerna är sanna. De har varit den tysta drivkraften bakom utvecklingen genom hela vår historia.

Vad som behövs är en återgång till dessa sanningar. Vad som krävs av oss nu är en ny era av ansvar – ett erkännande från varje amerikan att vi har plikter mot oss själva, mot vår nation och mot världen, plikter som vi inte motvilligt accepterar, utan snarare uppfyller med glädje, fasta i vetskapen att det inte finns något så tillfredsställande, så utmärkande för vår karaktär, som att ge vårt allt för en svår uppgift.

Det är priset för och löftet i medborgarskapet. Detta är källan till vår tillförsikt – vetskapen att Gud anmodar oss att forma vårt öde. Detta är meningen med vår frihet och vår övertygelse – orsaken till att män och kvinnor och barn av varje tro kan delta i firandet över denna storslagna plats, och varför en man vars far för mindre än sextio år sedan inte skulle ha serverats på en lokal restaurang nu står framför er för att svära den mest högtidliga ed.

Så låt oss göra detta till en hågkomstens dag, av vilka vi är och hur långt vi har rest. Det år då Amerika föddes, i den kallaste av månader, samlades en liten skara patrioter vid falnande lägereldar på stranden av en isbelagd flod. Huvudstaden hade övergivits. Fienden ryckte fram. Snön fläckades av blod. Vid en tidpunkt då vår revolutions utgång var som mest ifrågasatt, gav vår nations fader order om att dessa rader skulle läsas upp för folket:

”Låt det för framtidens värld bli känt … att i den djupa vintern, då inget utom hopp och dygd kunde överleva … att staden och landet då, skrämd av en gemensam fara, gick tillsammans för att besegra den.”

Amerika: Ställda inför gemensamma faror, i denna vinters vedermödor, låt oss minnas dessa tidlösa ord. Med hopp och dygd, låt oss än en gång trotsa de iskalla strömmarna och uthärda de stormar som kan komma. Låt det bli sagt av våra barns barn, att när vi prövades så vägrade vi låta denna resa ta slut, att vi inte vände om, inte heller vacklade vi. Och med ögonen fästa vid horisonten och Guds nåd med oss, bar vi vidare frihetens stora gåva och lämnade över den i säkerhet till framtida generationer.

Tack. Gud välsigne er, och Gud välsigne Amerikas förenta stater.

The sinews of peace

Tal av: Winston Churchill
Titel: The sinews of peace
Datum: 5 Mars 1946

I am glad to come to Westminster College this afternoon, and am complimented that you should give me a degree. The name ”Westminster” is somehow familiar to me. I seem to have heard of it before. Indeed, it was at Westminster that I received a very large part of my education in politics, dialectic, rhetoric, and one or two other things. In fact we have both been educated at the same, or similar, or, at any rate, kindred establishments.

It is also an honor, perhaps almost unique, for a private visitor to be introduced to an academic audience by the President of the United States. Amid his heavy burdens, duties, and responsibilities – unsought but not recoiled from – the President has traveled a thousand miles to dignify and magnify our meeting here to-day and to give me an opportunity of addressing this kindred nation, as well as my own countrymen across the ocean, and perhaps some other countries too. The President has told you that it is his wish, as I am sure it is yours, that I should have full liberty to give my true and faithful counsel in these anxious and baffling times. I shall certainly avail myself of this freedom, and feel the more right to do so because any private ambitions I may have cherished in my younger days have been satisfied beyond my wildest dreams. Let me, however, make it clear that I have no official mission or status of any kind, and that I speak only for myself. There is nothing here but what you see.

I can therefore allow my mind, with the experience of a lifetime, to play over the problems which beset us on the morrow of our absolute victory in arms, and to try to make sure with what strength I have that what has been gained with so much sacrifice and suffering shall be preserved for the future glory and safety of mankind.

The United States stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power. It is a solemn moment for the American Democracy. For with primacy in power is also joined an awe-inspiring accountability to the future. If you look around you, you must feel not only the sense of duty done but also you must feel anxiety lest you fall below the level of achievement. Opportunity is here now, clear and shining for both our countries. To reject it or ignore it or fritter it away will bring upon us all the long reproaches of the after-time. It is necessary that constancy of mind, persistency of purpose, and the grand simplicity of decision shall guide and rule the conduct of the English-speaking peoples in peace as they did in war. We must, and I believe we shall, prove ourselves equal to this severe requirement.

When American military men approach some serious situation they are wont to write at the head of their directive the words ”over-all strategic concept.” There is wisdom in this, as it leads to clarity of thought. What then is the over-all strategic concept which we should inscribe today? It is nothing less than the safety and welfare, the freedom and progress, of all the homes and families of all the men and women in all the lands. And here I speak particularly of the myriad cottage or apartment homes where the wage-earner strives amid the accidents and difficulties of life to guard his wife and children from privation and bring the family up in the fear of the Lord, or upon ethical conceptions which often play their potent part.

To give security to these countless homes, they must be shielded from the two giant marauders, war and tyranny. We all know the frightful disturbances in which the ordinary family is plunged when the curse of war swoops down upon the bread-winner and those for whom he works and contrives. The awful ruin of Europe, with all its vanished glories, and of large parts of Asia glares us in the eyes. When the designs of wicked men or the aggressive urge of mighty States dissolve over large areas the frame of civilized society, humble folk are confronted with difficulties with which they cannot cope. For them all is distorted, all is broken, even ground to pulp.

When I stand here this quiet afternoon I shudder to visualize what is actually happening to millions now and what is going to happen in this period when famine stalks the earth. None can compute what has been called ”the unestimated sum of human pain.” Our supreme task and duty is to guard the homes of the common people from the horrors and miseries of another war. We are all agreed on that.

Our American military colleagues, after having proclaimed their ”over-all strategic concept” and computed available resources, always proceed to the next step-namely, the method. Here again there is widespread agreement. A world organization has already been erected for the prime purpose of preventing war, UNO, the successor of the League of Nations, with the decisive addition of the United States and all that means, is already at work. We must make sure that its work is fruitful, that it is a reality and not a sham, that it is a force for action, and not merely a frothing of words, that it is a true temple of peace in which the shields of many nations can some day be hung up, and not merely a cockpit in a Tower of Babel. Before we cast away the solid assurances of national armaments for self-preservation we must be certain that our temple is built, not upon shifting sands or quagmires, but upon the rock. Anyone can see with his eyes open that our path will be difficult and also long, but if we persevere together as we did in the two world wars – though not, alas, in the interval between them – I cannot doubt that we shall achieve our common purpose in the end.

I have, however, a definite and practical proposal to make for action. Courts and magistrates may be set up but they cannot function without sheriffs and constables. The United Nations Organization must immediately begin to be equipped with an international armed force. In such a matter we can only go step by step, but we must begin now. I propose that each of the Powers and States should be invited to delegate a certain number of air squadrons to the service of the world organization. These squadrons would be trained and prepared in their own countries, but would move around in rotation from one country to another. They would wear the uniform of their own countries but with different badges. They would not be required to act against their own nation, but in other respects they would be directed by the world organization. This might be started on a modest scale and would grow as confidence grew. I wished to see this done after the first world war, and I devoutly trust it may be done forthwith.

It would nevertheless be wrong and imprudent to entrust the secret knowledge or experience of the atomic bomb, which the United States, Great Britain, and Canada now share, to the world organization, while it is still in its infancy. It would be criminal madness to cast it adrift in this still agitated and un-united world. No one in any country has slept less well in their beds because this knowledge and the method and the raw materials to apply it, are at present largely retained in American hands. I do not believe we should all have slept so soundly had the positions been reversed and if some Communist or neo-Fascist State monopolized for the time being these dread agencies. The fear of them alone might easily have been used to enforce totalitarian systems upon the free democratic world, with consequences appalling to human imagination. God has willed that this shall not be and we have at least a breathing space to set our house in order before this peril has to be encountered: and even then, if no effort is spared, we should still possess so formidable a superiority as to impose effective deterrents upon its employment, or threat of employment, by others. Ultimately, when the essential brotherhood of man is truly embodied and expressed in a world organization with all the necessary practical safeguards to make it effective, these powers would naturally be confided to that world organization.

Now I come to the second danger of these two marauders which threatens the cottage, the home, and the ordinary people – namely, tyranny. We cannot be blind to the fact that the liberties enjoyed by individual citizens throughout the British Empire are not valid in a considerable number of countries, some of which are very powerful. In these States control is enforced upon the common people by various kinds of all-embracing police governments. The power of the State is exercised without restraint, either by dictators or by compact oligarchies operating through a privileged party and a political police. It is not our duty at this time when difficulties are so numerous to interfere forcibly in the internal affairs of countries which we have not conquered in war. But we must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.

All this means that the people of any country have the right, and should have the power by constitutional action, by free unfettered elections, with secret ballot, to choose or change the character or form of government under which they dwell; that freedom of speech and thought should reign; that courts of justice, independent of the executive, unbiased by any party, should administer laws which have received the broad assent of large majorities or are consecrated by time and custom. Here are the title deeds of freedom which should lie in every cottage home. Here is the message of the British and American peoples to mankind. Let us preach what we practice – let us practice – what we preach.

I have now stated the two great dangers which menace the homes of the people: War and Tyranny. I have not yet spoken of poverty and privation which are in many cases the prevailing anxiety. But if the dangers of war and tyranny are removed, there is no doubt that science and co-operation can bring in the next few years to the world, certainly in the next few decades newly taught in the sharpening school of war, an expansion of material well-being beyond anything that has yet occurred in human experience. Now, at this sad and breathless moment, we are plunged in the hunger and distress which are the aftermath of our stupendous struggle; but this will pass and may pass quickly, and there is no reason except human folly or sub-human crime which should deny to all the nations the inauguration and enjoyment of an age of plenty. I have often used words which I learned fifty years ago from a great Irish-American orator, a friend of mine, Mr. Bourke Cockran. ”There is enough for all. The earth is a generous mother; she will provide in plentiful abundance food for all her children if they will but cultivate her soil in justice and in peace.” So far I feel that we are in full agreement. Now, while still pursuing the method of realizing our overall strategic concept, I come to the crux of what I have traveled here to say. Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organization will be gained without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples. This means a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States. This is no time for generalities, and I will venture to be precise. Fraternal association requires not only the growing friendship and mutual understanding between our two vast but kindred systems of society, but the continuance of the intimate relationship between our military advisers, leading to common study of potential dangers, the similarity of weapons and manuals of instructions, and to the interchange of officers and cadets at technical colleges. It should carry with it the continuance of the present facilities for mutual security by the joint use of all Naval and Air Force bases in the possession of either country all over the world. This would perhaps double the mobility of the American Navy and Air Force. It would greatly expand that of the British Empire Forces and it might well lead, if and as the world calms down, to important financial savings. Already we use together a large number of islands; more may well be entrusted to our joint care in the near future.

The United States has already a Permanent Defense Agreement with the Dominion of Canada, which is so devotedly attached to the British Commonwealth and Empire. This Agreement is more effective than many of those which have often been made under formal alliances. This principle should be extended to all British Commonwealths with full reciprocity. Thus, whatever happens, and thus only, shall we be secure ourselves and able to work together for the high and simple causes that are dear to us and bode no ill to any. Eventually there may come – I feel eventually there will come – the principle of common citizenship, but that we may be content to leave to destiny, whose outstretched arm many of us can already clearly see.

There is however an important question we must ask ourselves. Would a special relationship between the United States and the British Commonwealth be inconsistent with our over-riding loyalties to the World Organization? I reply that, on the contrary, it is probably the only means by which that organization will achieve its full stature and strength. There are already the special United States relations with Canada which I have just mentioned, and there are the special relations between the United States and the South American Republics. We British have our twenty years Treaty of Collaboration and Mutual Assistance with Soviet Russia. I agree with Mr. Bevin, the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, that it might well be a fifty years Treaty so far as we are concerned. We aim at nothing but mutual assistance and collaboration. The British have an alliance with Portugal unbroken since 1384, and which produced fruitful results at critical moments in the late war. None of these clash with the general interest of a world agreement, or a world organization; on the contrary they help it. ”In my father’s house are many mansions.” Special associations between members of the United Nations which have no aggressive point against any other country, which harbor no design incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations, far from being harmful, are beneficial and, as I believe, indispensable.

I spoke earlier of the Temple of Peace. Workmen from all countries must build that temple. If two of the workmen know each other particularly well and are old friends, if their families are inter-mingled, and if they have ”faith in each other’s purpose, hope in each other’s future and charity towards each other’s shortcomings” – to quote some good words I read here the other day – why cannot they work together at the common task as friends and partners? Why cannot they share their tools and thus increase each other’s working powers? Indeed they must do so or else the temple may not be built, or, being built, it may collapse, and we shall all be proved again unteachable and have to go and try to learn again for a third time in a school of war, incomparably more rigorous than that from which we have just been released. The dark ages may return, the Stone Age may return on the gleaming wings of science, and what might now shower immeasurable material blessings upon mankind, may even bring about its total destruction. Beware, I say; time may be short. Do not let us take the course of allowing events to drift along until it is too late. If there is to be a fraternal association of the kind I have described, with all the extra strength and security which both our countries can derive from it, let us make sure that that great fact is known to the world, and that it plays its part in steadying and stabilizing the foundations of peace. There is the path of wisdom. Prevention is better than cure.

A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist international organization intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytizing tendencies. I have a strong admiration and regard for the valiant Russian people and for my wartime comrade, Marshal Stalin. There is deep sympathy and goodwill in Britain – and I doubt not here also – towards the peoples of all the Russias and a resolve to persevere through many differences and rebuffs in establishing lasting friendships. We understand the Russian need to be secure on her western frontiers by the removal of all possibility of German aggression. We welcome Russia to her rightful place among the leading nations of the world. We welcome her flag upon the seas. Above all, we welcome constant, frequent and growing contacts between the Russian people and our own people on both sides of the Atlantic. It is my duty however, for I am sure you would wish me to state the facts as I see them to you, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow. Athens alone – Greece with its immortal glories – is free to decide its future at an election under British, American and French observation. The Russian- dominated Polish Government has been encouraged to make enormous and wrongful inroads upon Germany, and mass expulsions of millions of Germans on a scale grievous and undreamed-of are now taking place. The Communist parties, which were very small in all these Eastern States of Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Police governments are prevailing in nearly every case, and so far, except in Czechoslovakia, there is no true democracy. Turkey and Persia are both profoundly alarmed and disturbed at the claims which are being made upon them and at the pressure being exerted by the Moscow Government. An attempt is being made by the Russians in Berlin to build up a quasi-Communist party in their zone of Occupied Germany by showing special favors to groups of left-wing German leaders. At the end of the fighting last June, the American and British Armies withdrew westwards, in accordance with an earlier agreement, to a depth at some points of 150 miles upon a front of nearly four hundred miles, in order to allow our Russian allies to occupy this vast expanse of territory which the Western Democracies had conquered.

If now the Soviet Government tries, by separate action, to build up a pro-Communist Germany in their areas, this will cause new serious difficulties in the British and American zones, and will give the defeated Germans the power of putting themselves up to auction between the Soviets and the Western Democracies. Whatever conclusions may be drawn from these facts – and facts they are – this is certainly not the Liberated Europe we fought to build up. Nor is it one which contains the essentials of permanent peace.

The safety of the world requires a new unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast. It is from the quarrels of the strong parent races in Europe that the world wars we have witnessed, or which occurred in former times, have sprung. Twice in our own lifetime we have seen the United States, against their wishes and their traditions, against arguments, the force of which it is impossible not to comprehend, drawn by irresistible forces, into these wars in time to secure the victory of the good cause, but only after frightful slaughter and devastation had occurred. Twice the United States has had to send several millions of its young men across the Atlantic to find the war; but now war can find any nation, wherever it may dwell between dusk and dawn. Surely we should work with conscious purpose for a grand pacification of Europe, within the structure of the United Nations and in accordance with its Charter. That I feel is an open cause of policy of very great importance .

In front of the iron curtain which lies across Europe are other causes for anxiety. In Italy the Communist Party is seriously hampered by having to support the Communist-trained Marshal Tito’s claims to former Italian territory at the head of the Adriatic. Nevertheless the future of Italy hangs in the balance. Again one cannot imagine a regenerated Europe without a strong France. All my public life I have worked for a strong France and I never lost faith in her destiny, even in the darkest hours. I will not lose faith now. However, in a great number of countries, far from the Russian frontiers and throughout the world, Communist fifth columns are established and work in complete unity and absolute obedience to the directions they receive from the Communist center. Except in the British Commonwealth and in the United States where Communism is in its infancy, the Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge and peril to Christian civilization. These are somber facts for anyone to have to recite on the morrow of a victory gained by so much splendid comradeship in arms and in the cause of freedom and democracy; but we should be most unwise not to face them squarely while time remains.

The outlook is also anxious in the Far East and especially in Manchuria. The Agreement which was made at Yalta, to which I was a party, was extremely favorable to Soviet Russia, but it was made at a time when no one could say that the German war might not extend all through the summer and autumn of 1945 and when the Japanese war was expected to last for a further 18 months from the end of the German war. In this country you are all so well-informed about the Far East, and such devoted friends of China, that I do not need to expatiate on the situation there.

I have felt bound to portray the shadow which, alike in the west and in the east, falls upon the world. I was a high minister at the time of the Versailles Treaty and a close friend of Mr. Lloyd-George, who was the head of the British delegation at Versailles. I did not myself agree with many things that were done, but I have a very strong impression in my mind of that situation, and I find it painful to contrast it with that which prevails now. In those days there were high hopes and unbounded confidence that the wars were over, and that the League of Nations would become all-powerful. I do not see or feel that same confidence or even the same hopes in the haggard world at the present time.

On the other hand I repulse the idea that a new war is inevitable; still more that it is imminent. It is because I am sure that our fortunes are still in our own hands and that we hold the power to save the future, that I feel the duty to speak out now that I have the occasion and the opportunity to do so. I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines. But what we have to consider here to-day while time remains, is the permanent prevention of war and the establishment of conditions of freedom and democracy as rapidly as possible in all countries. Our difficulties and dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes to them. They will not be removed by mere waiting to see what happens; nor will they be removed by a policy of appeasement. What is needed is a settlement, and the longer this is delayed, the more difficult it will be and the greater our dangers will become.

From what I have seen of our Russian friends and Allies during the war, I am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness. For that reason the old doctrine of a balance of power is unsound. We cannot afford, if we can help it, to work on narrow margins, offering temptations to a trial of strength. If the Western Democracies stand together in strict adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter, their influence for furthering those principles will be immense and no one is likely to molest them. If however they become divided or falter in their duty and if these all-important years are allowed to slip away then indeed catastrophe may overwhelm us all.

Last time I saw it all coming and cried aloud to my own fellow-countrymen and to the world, but no one paid any attention. Up till the year 1933 or even 1935, Germany might have been saved from the awful fate which has overtaken her and we might all have been spared the miseries Hitler let loose upon mankind. There never was a war in all history easier to prevent by timely action than the one which has just desolated such great areas of the globe. It could have been prevented in my belief without the firing of a single shot, and Germany might be powerful, prosperous and honored to-day; but no one would listen and one by one we were all sucked into the awful whirlpool. We surely must not let that happen again. This can only be achieved by reaching now, in 1946, a good understanding on all points with Russia under the general authority of the United Nations Organization and by the maintenance of that good understanding through many peaceful years, by the world instrument, supported by the whole strength of the English-speaking world and all its connections. There is the solution which I respectfully offer to you in this Address to which I have given the title ”The Sinews of Peace.”

Let no man underrate the abiding power of the British Empire and Common-wealth. Because you see the 46 millions in our island harassed about their food supply, of which they only grow one half, even in war-time, or because we have difficulty in restarting our industries and export trade after six years of passionate war effort, do not suppose that we shall not come through these dark years of privation as we have come through the glorious years of agony, or that half a century from now, you will not see 70 or 80 millions of Britons spread about the world and united in defense of our traditions, our way of life, and of the world causes which you and we espouse. If the population of the English-speaking Commonwealths be added to that of the United States with all that such co-operation implies in the air, on the sea, all over the globe and in science and in industry, and in moral force, there will be no quivering, precarious balance of power to offer its temptation to ambition or adventure. On the contrary, there will be an overwhelming assurance of security. If we adhere faithfully to the Charter of the United Nations and walk forward in sedate and sober strength seeking no one’s land or treasure, seeking to lay no arbitrary control upon the thoughts of men; if all British moral and material forces and convictions are joined with your own in fraternal association, the high-roads of the future will be clear, not only for us but for all, not only for our time, but for a century to come.

I Have a Dream

Tal av: Martin Luther King, Jr
Titel: I Have a Dream
Datum: 28 Augusti 1963

”I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as
the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow
we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous
decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves
who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a
joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years
later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of
segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the
Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of
material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished
in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own
land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When
the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the
Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a
promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a
promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be
guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note
insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this
sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a
check that has come back marked ”insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We
refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of
opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check
that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice.
We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce
urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to
take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the
promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and
desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the
time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid
rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of
God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.
This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass
until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen
sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro
needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude
awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither
rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship
rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of
our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the
warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of
gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us
not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of
bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high
plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to
degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the
majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous
new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to
a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced
by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied
up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is
inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always
march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the
devotees of civil rights, ”When will you be satisfied?” We can never be
satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of
police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy
with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways
and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s
basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be
satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed
of their dignity by signs stating ”for whites only.” We cannot be satisfied as
long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York
believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and
we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and
righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great
trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells.
Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you
battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police
brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to
work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South
Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums
and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can
and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my
friends – so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I
still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the
true meaning of its creed: ”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of
former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down
together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state
sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression,
will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content
of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists,
with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition
and nullification – one day right there in Alabama little black boys and
black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as
sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every
hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain,
and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord
shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a
stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling
discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this
faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle
together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing
that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will
be able to sing with new meaning ”My country ‘tis of thee, sweet land of
liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s
pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so
let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let
freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring
from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let
freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi – from
every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow
freedom ring – when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet,
from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when
all of God’s children – black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles,
Protestants and Catholics – will be able to join hands and sing in the words
of the old Negro spiritual: ”Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty,
we are free at last!”