Human Rights Torch Relay Arrives in Los Angeles

April 10, 2008

Human Rights Torch Relay Arrives in Los Angeles

Filed under: USA, Headlines, Torch Relay News | April 10th, 2008

By Masha Savitz
Epoch Times Los Angeles Staff

California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher holds Human Rights Torch with Diana Mathias, representing the Goddess of Justice. (Joshua Philipp/The Epoch Times)
California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher holds Human Rights Torch with Diana Mathias, representing the Goddess of Justice. (Joshua Philipp/The Epoch Times)

Ceremonies Held in the Beach City of Santa Monica

SANTA MONICA, CA─Banners filled the grassy lawns by the Santa Monica Pier with messages of “No Human Rights, No Olympics”, and “One World Equals Human Rights” on a sunny Sunday afternoon near the entrance to the Santa Monica pier on Apr. 6. The Human Rights Torch Relay (HRTR), set against mountains and the pacific coast, officially began with a powerful drum procession, which escorted white robed ‘goddess’ and the glowing torch which she carried to the make shift stage arched with colorful balloons.

Los Angeles resident, Dana Churchill, presided over the event, comparing the up coming Beijing Olympics to 1937 games in Nazi Germany, adding “when kindhearted people stand up for persecution, they are considered political.” Churchill introduced the numerous and impressive panel of impassioned speakers and performers, addressing concern or outrage over China’s human rights abuses specifically in light of this summer’s Olympics in Beijing.

Goddess of Justice, Diana Mathias, holds the Human Rights Torch before event supporters and observers. (Joshua Philipp/The Epoch Times)
Goddess of Justice, Diana Mathias, holds the Human Rights Torch before event supporters and observers. (Joshua Philipp/The Epoch Times)

Human Rights Lawyer, David Matas

Human rights lawyer, David Matas, who initiated an investigation and report into allegations of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, was the first to take the stage sharing statistics and analyses proving horrific facts about ‘tourist transplants,’ involving the forced extraction of organs from live, unwilling donors. “When we do nothing in crimes against humanity,” he pleaded, “we become complicit in crimes against humanity.”

Assemblyman Chuck Devore

In a booming voice, Assemblyman Chuck Devore, read aloud a recognition certificate of the HRTR from his office, then urged the U.S. government to uphold its own constitution’s right for liberty, “For all time in all places,” emphasizing, “Preserve these rights.” Devore condemned those who are unwilling to speak the truth about the communist dictatorship because they are getting rich from their Chinese dealings.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Congresswoman, Maxine Waters, who also recognized the HRTR with a Special Recognition Certificate, expressed eloquently her commitment in getting her colleagues in Congress to pressure the President for a reversal of his decision to attend the Olympics. With great conviction she continued, “I am here to give you hope and support, keep organizing, encouraging, and keep the faith.”

Participants hold banner of the Global Human Rights Torch Relay. (Epoch Times)
Participants hold banner of the Global Human Rights Torch Relay. (Epoch Times)

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher minced no words when he made his presentation on China and human rights. Below are some of his more significant quotes.

“Let me just note that for years I have fought against the idea that we should be dealing with the communist regime in China in the same way that we deal with democratic governments. I’ve led the fight on the floor of the House of Representatives against ‘most favored nation’ status for China almost all these years, before, actually during the Clinton administration, when they were granting permanent trade status.”

“Yes, I am someone who believes in the free enterprise system, but our county was based on the idea of liberty, of justice, and when we do not hold firm to those principles, it turns around and hurts us as a country. It is not just something that we are doing as a gift to the world, but is something we realize that if we don’t stand up to that standard, then it will come back and hurt us, and that’s what’s happened with China. We have built an economy in China totally ignoring the fact that the Chinese government is still run by tyrants and gangsters. We have now given them great power and great leverage to use, not only to keep control in China, but now in a way that threatens all of us and threatens the whole world.”

“So I would suggest this: Our greatest allies in the world are the people of China, the people of Tibet, the Falun Gong, the religious believers who are being persecuted in China. They are our allies. The government of China is the enemy of all of us.”

“I am very pleased to have just recently formed the bi-partisan Tibet caucus. Although it is focused on Tibet, and we see that the people of Tibet are being brutalized and murdered again, the people of Tibet are just today’s most visual victims of this horrible regime in Beijing. Let us, as we reach out to the people of Tibet and make our stand today, also remember the Falun Gong who are disappearing by the thousands. Let us all remember the religious believers. Let us remember those people who want to have democracy and freedom in China but are not able to have a newspaper or political party, nor able to have any of the political rights that we hold dear as Americans.”

“So today, it is my honor to join you in holding this torch, this torch of freedom, high. And having a dictatorial government which is the world’s worst human rights abuser, to have that government host the Olympics, it’s a travesty, it’s a shame, it’s a dark mark on the Olympics, and none of us should stay quiet while that travesty is happening. So I’m very proud to be with you today. In holding this torch high and speaking out that the Beijing Olympics will not be permitted to cover up the killings, the repressions, the ‘gangsterism’ that is what Beijing is all about. We side with the people of China, not with the government in Beijing,” concluded Rohrabacher.

Rabbi Ariel Haniel

Rabbi Ariel Haniel, in a heartfelt speech, referred to the echos of the 1937 Olympics in Germany before the escalation of WWII. Quoting sacred Jewish texts she said, “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbors─we are obligated to act.”

Among the others who raised their voices in protest to The Chinese Communist regime were representatives from ‘Free Burma,’ the Tibetan Association of Southern California, the conscience Foundation, and a Falun Gong practitioner tortured in a detention center,.

One of the several hundred supporters in the audience, Lynne Sherman, a retired history teacher, came specifically for the event explaining, “I am torn because I worked for the ‘84 Olympics; I’m inspired that China has received the right to have them, but depressed that they use brutal tactics to suppress all walks of life.”

Concluding the program was the talented and charismatic musician, Franco Esile, who sang and played guitar to his original songs and was joined for one song by vocalist Elainy Curtis. His music expressed the themes of global unity and connected consciousness.

HRTR was initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) to provide “a forum for athletes, human rights organizations, Chinese democracy groups, Tibetan rights activists and other concerned individuals to rally under the banner: The Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Coexist in China.”

Δεν υπάρχουν σχόλια: