“Freedom of expression is the foundation of human rights, the source of humanity, and the mother of truth…” Liu Xiaobo

Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo is currently serving an 11 year jail sentence for campaigning for democracy in China. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 in a ceremony he could not attend. In a message smuggled from his prison cell he asked that his Nobel Peace Prize to be dedicated to “the lost souls from the 4th of June” Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 which suppressed China’s dawning democracy movement. The following extracts from the speech he made at his trail remind us of the enormous personal cost that those who struggle for freedom of speech, human rights and democracy are often willing to pay for the benefit of strangers and future generations.  Continue reading

Understanding Democracy – Prohibition on State Sponsored Ideology

Remarkable as the new U.S. system of democracy was at the time of Independence, U.S. society at that time had not progressed beyond some of the most unethical features of ancient Athens. Slavery was widespread, women were excluded from political participation, and a genocidal war was being waged against the Native American population. Despite its undoubted advances, what the new American democracy clearly did not do was to guarantee equality of citizenship to all.  Continue reading