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June 3, 2020

The horrific murder of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, by a Minneapolis police officer is a crime that cannot be tolerated or excused. We also condemn efforts by extremist agitators to hijack peaceful demonstrations and turn them into riots for looting. The murders of police officers, committed in the aftermath, some of whom are African American, is equally disturbing and has no place in this country.

The global outrage at the murder of George Floyd is justified and is a reminder that the value of human rights unites us all. We hope that those who are moved and activated by the murder of George Floyd also take note of the human rights violations, murder, and mayhem by their trade partners. In the past year, the world has witnessed government-sanctioned brutality, murder, and oppression in places like Hong Kong, Urumqi, and Iran. The silence by global institutions, such as the European Union, to these injustices is deafening. It calls into question their credibility and integrity.

To Protestors:

For us, the right to freedom of speech, which is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, is a fundamental and sacred right. Abusing that right by committing acts of violence, destruction, and lawlessness is an affront to the people in nations like Iran, who risk their freedom and lives to speak out. We look at peaceful protests in the US and wish for the same in our homeland, Iran. We mourn the nearly 1500 innocent unarmed protestors who disappeared this past November in Iran. We implore you to exercise your freedom of speech like the priceless instrument of freedom that it is. The world is watching, we are watching.

To the US government and law enforcement:

You are the protectors of free speech and liberty- in whatever form it takes- a protestor holding a sign to an immigrant-owned small business. Peaceful demonstrators should be safe and protected, but so should the symbols of economic freedom, opportunity, and liberty that lawless rioters and looters have preyed upon.

To the European Union:

Your silence and implicit support for oppression by some of the most totalitarian regimes in the world is shameful and cannot be undone by gestures of selective outrage. While we are encouraged by your stance in this moment, we question your silence during other abhorrent human rights violations that are affecting the lives of so many: be that Uighurs in China or protestors in Iran. Your leadership has used “multiculturalism” as a justification for looking the other way. At best, this is cowardice, and at worst, it is a demonstration of a perceived “lesser value” of human life of those living under oppressive governments. We urge you to take and execute a consistent position on human rights across the world. If not for the future, for the purpose of rectifying the wrongs of the darkest moments of the twentieth century.

“I wholly disagree with what you say and will contend to the death for your right to say it.”

- Voltaire (attributed to)


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